Monday, January 2, 2017

Highlights from 2016 Christmas Celebration

In celebrating our successes, we are celebrating YOU, our highly valued Star Supporters! Uniting Distant Stars held our first-ever Christmas Celebration at our new training center for over 350 children and youth on December 26. 

The event ran from noon to 7PM (GMT) and it was a fun-filled day. The children performed skits, cultural dances, sang favorite songsand shared funny stories. They were served a nourishing meal of Jollof Rice (Liberian favorite), Potato Salad and Chicken. They participated in a raffle draw for three prizes: 1st - Bag of Rice, 2nd - Package of Breakfast Food such as Quaker Oats, and 3rd - Backpack (made by our youth) filled with school Supplies.  

Our team of dedicated volunteers worked around the clock in preparing the food and activities for this highly appreciated event. A heartfelt Thanks to AB, Blessing, Deborah, Godfrey, Ishmail, Korlu, Korpu, Ma Siah, Mamie, Princess, Roseline, Saah, Umaru and all volunteers who made this celebration a joyous occasion!

Please take a moment and watch this short video showing the photos of our children and youth celebrating YOU!


Thank you for making 2016 our best year!!! 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays

You are the reason for this season because you brought joy, hope and opportunities to young talent in Liberia. While you bring the light of inspiration, we experienced an electrical blackout for about three weeks in Liberia. A wire blew off pole during a storm and $5 per from each household and business was needed to repair it. 

With this being repaired, we have some photos to share with you about our recent student recruitment for the 2017 vocational training classes. Also, there are photos of our team prepping the building for our Christmas Celebration for our youth and volunteers on December 26. Please sit back and enjoy the photos of what you make possible in Liberia!
Young talent hand-inking T-Shirts for our volunteers for the student recruitment on November 19. 
As you can see great detail went into hand-inking each of the 60 T-shirts made for the volunteers.
Interested youth have attended meetings about the vocational training classes in 2017.
As you can see both young women and men have attended these meetings. 
The information meetings share what is expected by the students and also Uniting Distant Stars for the 2017 training.
The students are required to take an entrance exam to be accepted for this upcoming training courses.
You will be happy to hear 120 students have passed their entrance exam.

Our team has been busy since Friday preparing the inside and outside of the center for our Christmas Celebration.
They white washed the fence and steps. 
Kelvin Fomba, UDS Co-Founder & Country Director, using  cutlass to cut the grass. 
You will be receiving photos, stories and much more from tomorrow's Christmas Celebration. All of UDS volunteers in Liberiand the U.S. wish you all a very Happy Hannukkah, Merry Christmas and Holidays.

Thank you for being part of our amazing Star Supporters Community!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Did you take secondary school shop classes?

​Your continued support is making a huge impact on the lives of children and youth in Liberia! Your investment in their knowledge and skill building at our training center is an investment into their futures as builders, educators, innovators and leaders. You have raised $2,090 (38%%) towards our goal of $5,500. 

You still can double your impact with our Facebook Fundraiser today. Click this link and make your end-of-year tax-deductible gift. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar: Your $10 donation becomes $20. Your $25 donation becomes $50. Your $100 donation becomes $200.

Your generosity puts books in our library, computers in our lab, and sewing machines in our classroom. 
 ​
Our headline today "Did you take secondary school shop classes?" is the question relating to why Uniting Distant Stars is providing vocational training programs. Depending on your generation, you may have benefited by shop classes in junior and senior high schools. You were given hands-on skills on how to use woodworking machines like lathes and saws. Or you may have had an opportunity to work on machinery gaining mechanical skills. During the first of half of the 1980s, I had wood shop classes in 7th and 8th grades and power mechanics class in my senior year. These skills carried out through my adult life when I had to install a new faucet in my kitchen and bathroom sinks or do minor repairs around my home. Also, I am one of countless students who learn best with our hands. We loved to hear how these classes benefited you so we can share with our young students in Liberia.

In talking with one of our donors Branko Tambah, who grew up in Liberia. He had the opportunity to attend the only vocational training high school--​Booker Washington Institute (BWI)--in Kakata (city in Margibi County). He shared that no other junior or high schools in Liberia provided shop classes for their students. Through his courses at BWI, he learned how to do many things with his hands to where he is now pursuing his own business construction in Minnesota. ​

Booker Washington Institute is named after "Educator Booker T. Washington was one of the foremost African-American leaders of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, founding the Tuskegee Normal and Industril Institute, now known as Tuskegee University (citation). Photo taken by Heather during 2011 mission trip.
​Our co-founder and country director, Kelvin Fomba, in Liberia recently shared how the trades make our lives better. He said, "Who built the roads you drive on? who built the buildings you sleep, work and worship in?, who keeps your car working?, who maintains the plumbing and electricity?" The answer is the same...someone who was trained in a vocational trade.

Uniting Distant Stars will start in January our first vocational training courses at our new center. As you will recall, our youth put their hands together this year to get this new center open. As you see in the photo collage below, they cleaned it, they painted the interior and exterior walls, and they helped with some of the renovations, and cleaned it again after the work was done. They wanted to show you how important our programs mean to them. They love having the opportunity to learn valuable skills to either seek employment or entrepreneurship. 
Your commitment inspired our youth to help prepare our new training center for opening in 2016.
​Our year-end campaign is increasing the materials to provide for this training in January. Please help young Liberians learn a trade by donating online and match your gift through our Facebook Fundraising (click here) or send a check payable to Uniting Distant Stars at:

Uniting Distant Stars
4010 Lawndale LN N
Plymouth, MN 55446

Thank you whole-heartily for being a valuable Star Supporter!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

2016 School Supplies Drive- Donor Recognition!

WARMEST THANKS TO OUR "2016 SCHOOL SUPPLIES DRIVE" STELLAR SUPPORTERS:

Thank you Tracy Bishop, Julie Bland, Jeff Brown, and Ten Thousand Villages, for your generous donations! As promised, you are being mentioned as our featured donors for this campaign, because you contributed significantly to our 2016 School Supplies Drive this year! You played a key role in making it possible for our UDS youth to start the school year off with school supplies!

And of course, Thank You to all our other super-star donors:
Thank you!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

You make everything STARtacular!

You are moving mountains with your heartwarming generosity! You made #GivingTuesday a remarkable success. Not only did you help unlock the matching gift of $500, but you raised another $320. In other words, you raised $1,320 (24%) towards our $5,500 goal.

It gets even better! One of our fabulous board members, Miriam Monono, started a fundraiser for UDS on Facebook, sponsored by the Network for Good, to raise a $1,000 that will be matched dollar for dollar by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Facebook is waiving the fees to make your online donations. Six donors raised $215 within the first three days. You can double your generous gift by clicking on this link and the blue Donate button as shown in the screen shot below. This fundraiser is in conjunction with our year-end campaign. Your holiday gift-giving for children & youth in Liberia can have a greater impact when it is doubled...raise a $1,000 to give $2,000 to provide educational and vocational training resources for children & youth in Liberia.



Also, we hope to see you this Thursday (December 8, 2016) at Ten Thousand Villages for their charitable event on Uniting Distant Stars​'​ behalf. Please stop by between 5PM and 8PM to shop for fabulous gifts, enjoy a treat on us, and learn more about our programs. For all in-store shopping during this event, UDS will receive a percentage​​;​ 10% of sales up to $150 and 20%​,​ if sales total more than $150. The store is located at 520 Selby Ave, St. Paul, MN 55102.


Finally, this post will close with a simple prayer request. Our team in Liberia has recruited 120 students for our January vocational training courses with a third signed up for computer training course. We have one young man, who signed up for the masonry course. Each course needs at least 10 students to offer it. He was given the option to select another​ ​one. He declined and said, "this his heart's desire". How can ​we refuse someone's dream? So we ask for your prayers to help us recruit nine other students who share this young man's passion. 

You are celebrated for making everything ​​STARtacular for children & youth in Liberia!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Give, Heal, Shop, & Make a Difference

The end of 2016 is a few weeks away, and your faithful support this year has benefited the lives of hundreds of children and youth participating in Uniting Distant Stars (UDS) programs. Your generosity is so appreciated by these young people. One of our auto mechanic students, George Cooper, recently shared how he considers you a member of the UDS family. (Read more about George in our 2014 Annual Report).

This post is dedicated to identifying the many ways you can Give, Heal, Shop, and Make a Difference for children and youth as part of end-of-year giving plan. 

Give to our Tools for Success: Books, Computers & Sewing Machines campaign. There is still an opportunity to double your impact by donating and unlocking our matching gift. Your donation is tax-deductible and provides the resources students need the most to achieve their educational and vocational training goals.

Tools for Success: Books, Computers, Sewing Machines  | GiveMN

​Your fabulous gift will add more books to our library (left), additional computers for our lab (center) & sewing machines for our training program (right).

Heal and reduce holiday stress at True Sanctuary's Candlelight Healing Sessions & Sound Bath for Charity on December 3, from 6 to 8PM at Healing Elements (2290 ComoAve, St Paul, MN 55108). All proceeds from this charitable event will be shared by three youth-focused organizationsYouthLink, Patacala & Uniting Distant Stars. Please visit the Candlelight Healing Sessions & Sound Bath for Charity Event Facebook Page to review the list of healing services and register for your 30-minute session today. 


Shop at AmazonSmile for all your Christmas, Chanukah (Hanukkah), and Holiday Celebration necessities. Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Uniting Distant Stars Inc.


Shop at our Ten Thousand Villages Event in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Thursday, December 8, 2016, from 5PM to 8PM. Please visit us at 520 Selby Ave, St. Paul, MN 55102 to shop and enjoy some tasty treats. 












Make a Difference in a young person's life this holiday season; your gift can be an everlasting treasure to them.

Thank you for the generosity of your heart; the children and youth of Uniting Distant Stars appreciate you beyond measure! 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Our Cup is Overflowing With Gratitude Because of You

Your endless kindness and generosity are appreciated, celebrated and rejoiced by children and youth you support in Liberia. You have given Liberian children and youth hope, joy and love. You have overflowed their cups with opportunities to discover and learn new knowledge and skills. 

Thank you for supporting scholarship students!
Thank you for providing young students after school study classes!
Thank you for putting books on our library shelves to help young students learn! 
Thank you for giving young students the opportunity to achieve their educational goals!
The Uniting Distant Stars Volunteers and Youth in Liberia and Uniting States of America express our wholehearted Gratitude and Thanks for your benevolence!