Rise and Dream: An Unbound story

Rise and Dream is now "an Unbound story"

Rise and Dream is now “an Unbound story”.

Written by: Barclay Martin, Unbound coordinator

Looking back, we pause to honor the roots of our work and the compassionate movement that has bloomed under the name CFCA. As we look to the future, we continue to walk alongside thousands of striving families to break the bonds of poverty — now as Unbound.

As for Rise and Dream, we’re stepping into 2014 with an Unbound approach as well.

Rise and Dream is a story of 13 inspiring young people and their courage to dream and rise above in the midst of adversity. These young people are not alone.
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Dads show caring community in action

Typhoon Haiyan destroyed a CFCA family's home in Aklan province, Philippines.

Typhoon Haiyan destroyed a CFCA family’s home in Aklan province, Philippines.

The CFCA community is there for families before and after natural disasters strike.

Sponsorship brings families into a caring community that supports them in their daily lives and in times of crisis.

Hundreds of CFCA families saw their houses damaged or destroyed as Super Typhoon Haiyan slashed its way through the central Philippines less than two weeks ago. Farmers lost crops and fishermen lost fishing gear.

CFCA will work side by side with families as they rebuild their homes and livelihoods. Donations to our Disaster Assistance Fund will help in this effort.

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Typhoon Haiyan: How you can help

Sponsored youth Cherry and her family were among those in the Legazpi project who voluntarily went to an evacuation center ahead of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Sponsored youth Cherry and her family were among those in the Legazpi project who voluntarily went to an evacuation center ahead of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Written and published by CFCA Nov. 12, 2013

As the world watches the heartbreaking plight of people who are suffering in the Philippines, the questions we hear hundreds of times a day at CFCA are, “Is my sponsored friend all right?” and “How can I help?”

Our families are safe

We can tell you that our teams in the field do not believe that any of the 45,000 sponsored friends associated with CFCA projects have been killed.

But we share the grief of thousands of families whose loved ones died in the path of this catastrophic storm, and we stand ready to help survivors of Typhoon Haiyan rebuild.

Almost 300 CFCA families from high-risk and flood-prone areas in our Legazpi project were moved by order of the provincial government to evacuation centers before Haiyan took aim on the islands.

Our families are now making their way home, though what some return to can no longer be considered “home.”

Hundreds find that missing roofs, flooded homes and ruined crops are all that remain.

“Their basic farm crops, particularly bananas, were massively uprooted,” said Antipolo project coordinator Malou Navio.

Here is how you can help

Donate to our Disaster Assistance Fund. This is a way to support the families in need after natural disasters uproot their lives.

This fund provides money to buy supplies for rebuilding homes, seeds for new crops and to replace farming tools lost in the storm.

You can also make a long-term and lasting difference by sponsoring a child from the Philippines.

The already struggling economy of the Philippines will suffer even more because of Haiyan.

Children whose parents struggle to make ends meet will need encouragement and support now more than ever.

The need is ongoing

Haiyan is the 25th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year and the third category 5 typhoon to strike within the last three years.

There will always be a need for support through sponsorship and donations.

You can start helping today.

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CFCA families report safe after super typhoon

Corazon, the mother of sponsored child Jealyn, stands in their wrecked  home in the eastern seaside community of Daet. CFCA will help the  family rebuild.

Corazon, the mother of sponsored child Jealyn, stands in their wrecked
home in the eastern seaside community of Daet. CFCA will help the
family rebuild.

MANILA, Philippines — Early reports from CFCA projects indicate sponsored friends and their families are safe after one of the strongest storms ever recorded hit the Philippines.

“Yolanda left a lot of damage,” said Risa Verena, Manila project coordinator. “Nevertheless, we thank God because people [CFCA sponsored friends and their families] are all safe.”

Field staff members are still waiting to hear about the status of families from one community in Aklan province, served by the Manila project. Communication lines were down, electrical power was out and travel in the area was difficult as downed trees blocked roads.

Typhoon Haiyan, called Yolanda in the Philippines, made landfall Friday morning (Philippine time) in the Eastern Visayas region. The storm packed winds with gusts as high as 170 mph, and authorities estimated 10,000 deaths in the provincial capital of Tacloban, located on the island of Leyte.

CFCA has five projects in the Philippines, with more than 45,000 children and aging friends sponsored.

Communities in the Manila, Legazpi, Quezon, Antipolo and Zamboanga projects reported families are safe, though there was significant damage to houses, crops and fishing boats.

In one Aklan community, Madalag, the majority of the 234 CFCA families experienced damage to their homes, with 136 homes destroyed and 80 damaged.

“The houses in this hilly community are made from light materials like nipa, palm and bamboo,” Verena said. “Mostly, the families that have totally damaged houses are staying temporarily in schools and with neighbors.”

A coconut tree fell on the house of one sponsored child, but the family had already evacuated.

Aklan occupies the northern third of the island of Panay and includes the island of Boracay, known for its beautiful beaches.

The closest CFCA project to the devastated area is in Legazpi, which is in the Bicol region, north of the storm’s center. CFCA sponsored friends and their families are safe following the storm, reported Gari Olavario, Legazpi project coordinator.

“Thank God we are safe,” Olavario said. “None of the sponsored families and the Legazpi team is greatly affected.”

Many families in the Legazpi area moved to evacuation centers before the storm made landfall in the Bicol region.

Almost 300 families from high-risk and flood-prone areas, along with families from the 8-kilometer danger zone around the Mayon Volcano, were moved by order of the provincial government to evacuation centers Nov. 7. All government advisories are now lifted, and families were making their way home.

“Though there are no casualties, the team will be assessing the effects of the typhoon to the crops and properties of our sponsored families,” Olavario said.

He added that “our prayers are for all our brothers and sisters in Tacloban, Leyte, which is really heavily ravaged by the typhoon.”

Tacloban is about 350 miles southeast of Manila. Most of the deaths there appear to have been caused by surging sea water strewn with debris that many described as similar to a tsunami.

In the Quezon project, the family of one sponsored child in the eastern seaside community of Daet lost their home. CFCA will provide assistance for the family to rebuild, project coordinator Mavic Ihap said.

In the Antipolo project, 900 families in Iloilo and surrounding areas were safe. The communities had been under the highest warning level as the typhoon approached.

Several communities reported families returning home after evacuating to find roofs blown away and other damage. The home of one sponsored child was destroyed.

“Their basic farm crops, particularly bananas, were massively uprooted,” said project coordinator Malou Navio.

Flooding impacted one community still recovering from an earlier typhoon, and some families remained in a local evacuation center.

Antipolo staff members, parent leaders and ERPAT rescue teams were visiting communities to assess needs and offer assistance, Navio said. ERPAT stands for
Empowerment and Reaffirmation of Paternal Abilities, and the group’s members are fathers of CFCA sponsored children.

In the Zamboanga project in the southern Philippines, high winds and thunderstorms resulted in an injury to a sponsored child’s mother who was collecting firewood when the severe weather hit. The mother was released from the hospital and expected to make a full recovery, said Rhodora Partosa, Zamboanga project coordinator.

The Catumbal community center, located inside the project’s Centro de Roberto compound, collapsed in the high winds. Parents of sponsored children are leading cleanup efforts and hope to rebuild, Partosa said.

CFCA provides assistance for families affected by natural disasters through the Disaster Assistance Fund. Families of sponsored children and aging friends will need help to rebuild their homes and livelihoods.

Families and staff members in the Philippines are grateful for the concern shown by sponsors and the entire CFCA community.

“To our dear sponsors and CFCA family in Kansas, thank you for your concern and prayers,” Ihap said.

While the CFCA community is thankful there has been no loss of life among sponsored children and aging friends, she said, “we are also grieving, because hundreds of our Kababayans (fellow Filipinos) died during the slash of Typoon Yolanda in the Visayas region.”

Partosa echoed those sentiments.

“We also follow the news and how Typhoon Yolanda brought devastation to some parts of Visayas,” she said. “I can’t imagine how difficult it is; our prayers are with them in these very difficult and challenging times.”

(Tristan John Cabrera, CFCA communications liaison in the Philippines, contributed information for this story.)

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Bob Hentzen left his mark on all he met

Bob and a CFCA sponsor talking outside St. Francis College before the screening

Bob and a CFCA sponsor talking outside St. Francis College before the screening

By Erica Braker, marketing manager and Rise and Dream tour manager

The world recently lost a legend, a visionary, a “rock star” as some called Bob Hentzen.

I first learned via Facebook that Bob had passed away suddenly in Guatemala. It was about 6:15 a.m. and my alarm had just gone off. My eyes were still fuzzy from trying to wake up, but I saw a lovely picture of Bob on CFCA’s Facebook page.

As I read the post, I honestly thought the page had been hacked. I was just with Bob on the Rise and Dream film tour the week before; it couldn’t have been true. I ran to check my work email and there was a message from our CEO confirming my fear.

The Rise and Dream tour was my first interaction with Bob. Being new to CFCA and since Bob lived in Guatemala, our paths hadn’t crossed much. But after 14 days with Bob in Kansas City and New York, I got a firsthand understanding of why people believed Bob was so special.

At Mary’s Nativity – St. Ann Parish in Flushing, N.Y., one of our tour stops, Bob shared the story of a child he personally sponsored and her family in the Philippines. The parents have eight children, but when asked how many are in their family they say 12. They consider Bob and his wife, Cristina, as part of their family.

At each screening in New York I saw people waiting patiently to just say “Hi” or shake Bob’s hand because they knew it was a rarity to see Bob on U.S. soil, as he spent most of his time visiting families CFCA serves overseas.

He was a real star.

Gina, a student at St. John’s University, came to the screening and had dinner with us at Monties, the school cafeteria on campus. When I told her the news of Bob’s passing she wrote to me: “I already loved him, even though I had just met him! He was such a light.”

At St. Francis College, one of the CFCA volunteers, Jennifer, mentioned to Bob that she had traveled on an awareness trip with him to the Philippines. He gave her a very serious look and said, “I know.” She couldn’t believe he remembered her out of the hundreds of thousands of people he has met.

In CFCA circles, Bob is famous for his 4,000-mile walk in 1996 from CFCA headquarters in Kansas City, Kan., to Antigua, Guatemala. Thirteen years later, Bob set out on a walk from San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala, to the Valparaiso, Chile, a nearly 8,000-mile trek spanning 18 months. On that journey he walked through countries where 182,000 sponsored friends and their families live, and he met many of them along the way.

Over the two weeks I spent with Bob I heard people ask him, “Where are you going next? Will you walk in India? In Africa?”

His answer was always the same: “We are going to walk to get closer and closer to our families.”

When Bob talked, people listened. He was an inspiration, a motivator and a visionary. He made everyone he talked with feel like the most important person in the world.

In all the songs sung, jokes told and wisdom shared, I will always remember a quote Bob shared from one of his heroes, Mahatma Gandhi: “A small body of determined spirits, fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission, can alter the course of history.”

CFCA will live on and honor Bob’s memory. We will continue to be a small body of determined spirits to walk with the poor and marginalized of the world and help them break the bonds of poverty.

I invite you to join us by becoming a sponsor or donating to the CFCA Scholarship Fund in Bob’s memory today!

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Help find a sponsor for Carlos in Peru

Manchay, Peru

The city of Manchay, Peru.

By Elizabeth Alex

From the distance, Manchay, Peru appears dirty and desolate.

Small and sometimes rickety houses, cheerfully painted in lilac and blue sit at the base of what appear to be mountains made of dust and rock. Manchay is covered in haze.

But what Manchay lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in smiles.

Like the big grin on 5-year-old Carlos’ face.

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Bob Hentzen’s life celebrated in Philippines

About 1,000 sponsored children, youth and aging adults, staff members and friends of CFCA from the Quezon, Antipolo and Manila projects attended a memorial Mass for Bob Hentzen in Quezon City, Philippines.

About 1,000 sponsored children, youth and aging adults, staff members and friends of CFCA from the Quezon, Antipolo and Manila projects attended a memorial Mass for Bob Hentzen in Quezon City, Philippines.

By Loretta Shea Kline, CFCA communications editor

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — About 1,000 families and staff members from three Philippine projects filled Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Quezon City in an outpouring of love for Bob Hentzen, CFCA president and co-founder, who passed away Oct. 8 in Guatemala.

The memorial Mass was one of several held throughout the Philippines on Saturday, October 12, including services in Legazpi, Zamboanga and other communities where CFCA works.

The Mass in Quezon City was attended by children, youth, elderly friends, parents and staff members from the Quezon, Antipolo and Manila projects.

“Bob’s memory and his legacy will ever be fresh in the minds of his people,” said Ed Miranda, vice president of the board of trustees for the Quezon project. “These are his people. These are the people of God entrusted to Bob, and he took good care of them.”

The Mass, celebrated in Tagalog, ended with all 1,000 in attendance holding candles and flowers as they filed out of the church. “It’s amazing how the people of the Philippines loved Sir Bob,” said Carmen Vicente, program development officer for the Manila project. “It manifested in their presence tonight.”

Elizabeth Bo, 20, a sponsored youth in the Antipolo project, is a fourth-year college student who attended the Mass with a group of friends. “I’m here to express my love with the simple action I have made,” she said. “By spending this little time, I want to honor him because without him, I don’t know if I can be here (and studying in college) today.”

Arnold Bavajadid, a leader in the ERPAT fathers group in the Antipolo project, traveled two hours in the rain to attend the Mass along with others from his community. “Without him, we don’t have CFCA to help our children,” he said. “We needed to come here to salute him and to thank him.”

The ERPAT (Empowerment and Reaffirmation of Paternal Abilities) group is involved in community service such as disaster response and house repairs.

The main celebrant of the Mass, Father Angelo Pusiquit, has encountered CFCA through partnering with the ERPAT group in community service and through sponsored youth who graduated from college and are now helping their families.

Father Angelo said he is a former street child who got an education with the help of others, and shares Bob’s vision of sponsorship as a way to empower people and transform lives.

“To be free from the bonds of impoverishment, that is the work of Bob,” he said.

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