My story begins 10 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I was standing alongside my parents at the back of church staring down at a table full of faces. Each unique profile was of an individual seeking a “life empowerment partner.” The decision loomed like an impossible task, until I noticed a picture that didn’t look like the others. While nearly all the photos were of children, the profile that caught my eye was of a 59-year-old widow from the Philippines. Her name was Zenaida.
My parents and I had just heard a presentation by an Unbound priest visiting our parish, Church of the Risen Christ in Denver. The mission he was calling us to join was participating in the empowerment of an individual to live to their fullest, God-given potential. While looking at Zenaida’s profile, my parents and I agreed that the mission could be applied at any point in a person’s life, regardless of age. To this very day, I believe God was calling us to empower Zenaida, and so began our sponsorship and our friendship.
At the time, I was an independent 26-year-old and Unbound was so appealing because it was built on a concept of individual empowerment. I was captivated by the idea that believing in someone could be the catalyst they needed to achieve their greatest potential. Unbound’s genius stems from walking with the individual, in their world, in their community, within their family, and asking them what they need most to lift themselves up. I found this idea inspiring, and I could relate to it so personally.