SOURCE: Unbound


March 24, 2016 03:00 ET

Unbound's Partnership With JobOne Is Changing Lives Worldwide

Unbound and JobOne Are in Their Second Year Working Together; JobOne Employees Help Process Hundreds of Thousands of Letters and Photos Coming Into Unbound's Global Headquarters From Around the World

KANSAS CITY, KS--(Marketwired - March 24, 2016) - March is recognized as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, a time when Americans are called upon to provide encouragement and opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to reach their full potential.

Unbound is in its second year partnering with vocational services agency JobOne to process hundreds of thousands of letters and photos from children and elders around the world who are part of Unbound's sponsorship program.

JobOne is the largest vocational services agency serving adults with disabilities in Western Missouri. The agency employs more than 300 people with disabilities. JobOne takes a person-centered approach to helping individuals identify their talents and coordinate job placement to complement their unique skills.

"The partnership with Unbound is giving more choices and opportunities to our employees so they can realize their potential, contribute to their community, and thrive and flourish to live a better life," JobOne's vice president of operations, Delores Buffa, said. 

At Unbound, correspondence from beneficiaries living in other parts of the world is an important aspect of the sponsorship program, which empowers individuals and their families on a path out of poverty. Not only do children and elders in the program write at least two letters a year to their sponsors across the U.S., Unbound encourages sponsors to write back to offer their encouragement.

Each year, more than 1.3 million letters written by children and elders come through Unbound's global headquarters in Kansas City. Unbound has depended largely on volunteers to help get the letters and photos processed and ready to mail. 

"We're finding it harder and harder to keep up with processing the steady stream of letters, photos and Christmas greetings that arrive here from Unbound families," said Martin Kraus, director of finance at Unbound. "These letters are so important to the relationship between our sponsors and sponsored members that it is crucial we are able to deliver them without delay. We have a wonderful and dedicated group of volunteers that help process these letters, but they simply are not able to keep up with the growing volume. So we turned to JobOne."

Unbound's partnership with JobOne has helped cut turnaround time for getting letters out to sponsors in half -- from four weeks to two weeks -- during high-volume seasons like Christmas. Kraus said the eventual goal is for a five-day turnaround during the holiday season, and he's optimistic that with Unbound's volunteers and JobOne's help the goal will be realized.

Kraus sees the partnership with JobOne as a win-win.

"Unbound wins because our sponsors receive letters and other greetings from their sponsored friends quicker than ever," he said. "JobOne wins because they are able to further their mission of providing meaningful employment choices for the people they serve."

Michael Cohu has worked at JobOne for 11 years and is one of the top producers for Unbound's job. His personal record is processing 1,200 letters and photos in six hours.

Cohu said helping Unbound is his favorite job.

"I like looking at all the photos and I like the challenge of having to match the name with the letter," he said. 

Buffa said the partnership with Unbound has provided JobOne employees with the opportunity to be part of a team, to be valued, to have purpose, and to be proud of their accomplishments and successes.

About Unbound

Unbound is the largest nonprofit organization in Kansas with more than $120 million in annual revenue. Unbound works side by side with people of diverse faiths in 20 countries, bringing people together to challenge poverty in new and innovative ways.

Unbound distributes direct aid as quickly and efficiently as possible to people who need it. 92.5 percent of Unbound's expenses go toward program support.

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