Unbound In 100 Words

 A lesson on communication

By Erin Coleman

September 17, 2021 | 40 Years 40 Lessons

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The work of eradicating global poverty can be complex. Complicated theories of development and evaluation combined with the overwhelming beauty and inspiration of stories from around the world mean that sometimes, when we try to talk about Unbound, we gush. There’s just so much good that we want to share. 

On the other hand, we’ve also witnessed the challenges of communicating across 93 different languages — English, Spanish, French, Malagasy, Kiswahili, Luganda, Kaqchikel, Tagalog, Telugu, Hindi, Guarani — you get the idea.  
As a monoglot with rudimentary Spanish skills, after long days of travel, sometimes I have no other option but to rely on smiles and pantomimes to communicate while visiting sponsored members and local staff. Inevitably, my message always comes across regardless. “Thank you for the welcome.” “Thank you for your friendship.” “Thank you for your work.” 

Similarly, messages from sponsors to their sponsored friends don’t have to be lengthy to be meaningful. Sometimes a short paragraph is enough to show someone, “I believe in you.” 
In the spirit of quick communication, we present to you the story of Unbound in 100 words. 

Prior to 1981, four siblings and their friend 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 traveled the world and noticed people in poverty were being ignored. “We should walk 🥾 alongside the poor,” said Bob Hentzen. “And help them build their own unique paths 🛣️ out of poverty,” Jim Hentzen said. “Why not gather our Christmas card lists and ask kind-hearted ❤️ people to partner with these families in other countries?” asked Nadine Pearce. “They can build relationships through letters 📬, photos and travel ✈️,” added Bud Hentzen. “And together, we can co-create a better world 🌍,” declared Jerry Tolle. And that’s how Unbound was born. 

Photo 1: In an undated photo from the Unbound archives, co-founder Nadine Hentzen Pearce enjoys the company of some children during her travels. Part of Nadine’s legacy is the motherly warmth and care she brought to the organization. 

Photo 2: Co-founder Jim Hentzen was an attorney and entrepreneur responsible for creating Unbound’s preacher program. In this undated photo from the Unbound archives, he visits with two children on a trip to Latin America. 

Photo 3: For most of the history of Unbound, Bob Hentzen was the face of the organization for sponsored persons and their families. In this undated photo from the Unbound archives, an elderly woman shows her affection for Bob. 

Photo 4: Businessman Bud Hentzen was instrumental in building good relationships for Unbound within the greater Catholic community. In this undated photo from the Unbound archives, he visits with two religious sisters while on an overseas trip. 

Photo 5: Jerry Tolle, left, was a former missionary with a gift for organization. He helped bring much-needed structure to Unbound as it grew in the early years. In an undated photo from the Unbound archives, he shares a fun moment with a boy and a goat. 

About the author:

Erin Coleman started her Unbound journey at the age of 10 when her family sponsored Brenda from Guatemala. Now Unbound’s marketing manager, she has traveled with and met sponsors, sponsored friends and staff in six countries where Unbound works. She loves to discover and share their stories of connection.



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