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Farneys find a way to make a difference

Fran Brownell
Pratt retirees Phyllis and Mike Farney share time with Maria del Carmen during their visit to Costa Rica last November. The Farneys chose to sponsor Maria through Unbound, a charitable organization based in Kansas City, Kansas. They were able to visit their new friend last fall, before borders were closed because of coronavirus concerns.

For some time, rural Pratt residents Phyllis and Mike Farney had been looking for a way to make a difference. When they learned about Unbound, a charitable organization based in Kansas City, Kans., which provides direct assistance to poor and marginalized children, youth and elders in 19 countries around the globe, they felt they found something they could pitch into. Last fall, their efforts culminated in a trip to Costa Rica, where they met an elderly native they sponsored through the Unbound program.

“Throughout the world, Unbound helps the poor and marginalized populations,” Phyllis said.

“We sought out Unbound because we felt we could make a direct difference in someone’s life,” Mike said.

Phyllis said the couple decided to sponsor an elder and were connected with 73-year-old Maria del Carmen, a native of Costa Rica.

The Farneys had the opportunity to meet Maria when they traveled late last fall with an Unbound-sponsored trip to Central America where the couple met Maria who lives with nine family members in Heredia, Costa Rica.

“Meeting and spending time with Maria and her extended family was one of the most enriching and gratifying moments of my life,” Phyllis said.

“Maria was very isolated from others and had no social circle. Unbound gives her a purpose and source of enjoyment,” Mike said.

Phyllis said that Maria receives only a small governmental pension.

“The assistance and support from Unbound allows Maria to live with dignity and respect,” Mike said.

“Unbound is in Costa Rica so their participants can see something that is an alternative beyond their experiences; so they can see they have potential,” Phyllis said. “The families and elders develop a firm commitment to believe in their talents and Unbound provides the tools to overcome obstacles.”

Unbound has given Maria hope that her grandchildren will be a part of the Unbound program which will help them go to school and maybe even to the university, Phyllis said.

“We, as citizens of Pratt, can work with Maria as a conduit to add meaning in our lives,” Phyllis said.

“Now Maria has a future with hope,” Mike said.