Monday, October 24, 2016

School Supply Distribution & New Learning Center

Can you hear it? Our joyful children and youth in Liberia are singing their praises and thanks to you! They are so grateful to you for raising $3,500 in this year's school supply drive, from both our annual campaign and our Dimes for Dreams promotion. Through your unfailing support, we raised 50% of our goal, and this will put needed school supplies in the hands of young children. Our Liberian team worked with all three schools on how to give each one of the 700 students supplies, because no one wants a young child to go home empty handed!

Here is the schedule for the distribution of your generous gift to these children:
  • October 23: Rogma International School in Paynesville will host their program for students to receive their supplies. (Photos & stories will be posted soon).
  • October 29: City of Joy & Russ Wood students & parents are invited to attend UDS Learning Center Grand Opening Program In Divine Town Community to receive their supplies and learn about our programs. 
Your faith and commitment to our cause empowered our team in Liberia to complete the painting of the building and move into to our new site. One of our long-time donors provided a donation to install electricity in our new learning center. We opened to students over a week ago. While the building serves the students with their educational and vocational training needs, we will continue to solicit funds to finish the renovations, pay the remaining portion of the lease, buy needed equipment and supplies, and provide salaries.

This building has transformed since we first introduced it in our post "Reaching New Heights for Liberia's Children and Youth" to our recent one "Building Community One Star at a Time". Please enjoy the latest photos showing the exterior painting, new lights, and students utilizing our facility!

You empower youth! Roseline (left) and Princess (right) volunteered to paint the building. 
Clockwise Upper left: Josh, Kelvin Fomba (UDS Co-Founder), Patrick & Princess. 
Kelvin (right) completing the final touches of the building.
Inside the main hall with its new lights. 
The other side of the main hall. 
This leads to the door of the registration office. 
You inspire excellence! Young students receiving help with their homework.
One of our teachers providing a study class for young students. 
Another teaching holding a study class for older students.
Students learning how to use the computer.
Computers students learning the how to use basic software programs.
Your compassionate service to the children & youth in Liberia is providing them with the knowledge & supplies they need to succeed in their academic studies. We give you our whole-hearted "Thank You!" for making this all possible!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Building Community One Star at a Time

As a valued Star Supporter, your continued generosity inspires our team in Liberia to move forward with our vision and fulfill the dreams of Uniting Distant Stars children and youth. You are Uniting with Distant Stars in Denmark, Liberia, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates. You are part of this growing stellar community that is educating and equipping young Liberians with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed in life. You have united with other stars to form a Constellation of Possibilities for young Liberians.

You probably have not realized this, but you are a Super Star for our children and youth in Liberia. Whether you support our learning center, school supply drive, youth exchanges or sponsor a scholarship student, you are changing the lives of young Liberians for the better. Our youth are extremely grateful for your efforts!

While our focus for the last few months was on school supplies, our team in Liberia have been busy with renovations of the new learning center. As mentioned earlier, your efforts inspires our all-volunteer team in Liberia. They wrote letters to individuals and organizations in Liberia to raise funds. They received $600 that helped complete replacing the roof. UDS co-founder and country director Kelvin Fomba has been making contributions to finish the ceiling repairs, start painting in the interior, and making furniture for students. Our volunteers have helped with the cleaning and carpentry work. The following photos show the progress from the last month:

You give UDS strength! Our volunteer completing final touches of the roof. 
You give UDS resourcefulness! Kelvin (at left) resting after making tables for young children attending our study classes.
You give UDS dedication! This room is being prepared for the library.
You give UDS focus! Young volunteers replacing the ceiling tile in the main area of  the learning center. 
You give UDS motivation! Kelvin is white washing the ceiling of the main area for the study & computer classes. 
You give UDS determination! Kelvin in the back white washing the ceiling while another volunteer rests.
You give UDS hope! Young volunteers fixing the doors. 
You give UDS encouragement! Kelvin painting the walls of the main area gold.
You give children & youth in Liberia brighter future! 
You have helped build our community one star at a time. As you will see in the coming weeks, the UDS new learning center will open on October 29th. We will start with our computer & study classes, and library as we continue to complete the rest of the renovations, purchase needed equipment and supplies, and seek funders to employ Liberians as teachers, trainers and support staff for this center. 

Thank you for your compassionate service to children and youth in Liberia!

Read additional posts on how we acquired this new center and how invested our youth are in this venture of learning. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

You received a Thank You from Liberia

Uniting Distant Stars Liberian Co-Founder and Country Director Kelvin Fomba has a message to share to You, our valued Star Supporter.

Hello, UDS Team in the U.S. and around the world. First of all, we say, "thanks and appreciation for your wonderful support!" The Liberia Team has worked nonstop with the renovations because our old learning center can no longer accommodate the 250-plus students from around the city seeking our study classes. All schools are open right now, so the kids and youth are eager to start their study classes at our new learning center. Therefore, our volunteers and youth have joined hands to work hard at the new learning by cleaning, painting, and other finishing work in some parts of the building. 

Here are photos showing some of our scholarship students--Blessing, Deborah, Ishmael, Korlu, Korlu (yes there are two), and Rita--cleaning the floor along with one of their classmates.

Young Liberians showing their appreciation for your amazing support by cleaning the floor of our new learning center.
These young ladies are using brooms and rags to remove the white wash paint from the floor.
Your steadfast generosity give students like Rita a reason to smile while she works.
Your kindness and support provides hope to our youth that they will go the extra mile to prepare our learning center for opening.
Your compassion for Uniting Distant Stars youth empowers them to work together to clean their new learning center. 
Please stay tuned for our next update showing the slow but steady transformation of our new learning center.

You are appreciated and praised by our youth and volunteers in Liberia for making their lives better! 

Thank you for being a Super Star!

Read Reaching New Heights for Liberia's Children and Youth to learn more. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

5 Days To Go!

...The Countdown Has Begun!  

5 days and counting until our stellar students leap into a new school year! And it is purely because of your generosity that 233 children and youth will start this year off with the materials they need.

At this point, you have raised $2,325 for our youth, putting us at 33% of our $7,000 goal! But with 5 days to go, we’re still hoping to reach that final $4670!

Here’s a video recap of this campaign thus far; see where your generosity has been directed and what you’ve made possible for our youth this year:

Dimes for Dreams Cans: If you aren’t already, please keep filling up those cans! We will be collecting the cans closer to the end of this campaign. (Don’t know what “Dimes for Dreams” is? See the bottom of this email!)

Facebook, Email, Text, Sing it from the Mountain-tops!: Please “share” about this campaign on your social media (here’s our Facebook page:, post our flyers (attached below) wherever you have access to, and use the gift of word of mouth!

Make a Donation!: All donations are 100% tax-deductible! Please donate via PayPal (go to our website and click “donate” button) or send a Check payable to "Uniting Distant Stars" at:

Uniting Distant Stars
4010 Lawndale LN N
Plymouth, MN 55446

Thank you for all that you do.

Uniting  Distant Stars

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Liberian children need access to primary level education

Schools started opening this week in Liberia; however, not all children will be enrolled. In fact, "Liberia has the highest proportion of children missing out on primary school education, the United Nations said on Thursday, with nearly two-thirds of its children never stepping inside a classroom (source: Thomson Reuters Foundation News)." This equates to 62% of Liberian children not receiving primary education. As we all know, elementary school is the foundation for our educational careers and without it, we are less likely to secure a livable wage job.

UDS Star Supporters have been delivering school supplies to Russ Wood Students since 2012. They hold all classes in this one room building from kindergarten to seventh grade.
Since 2011, Uniting Distant Stars has provided scholarships to young students, who had no financial support to stay in school. Our sponsors are committed to supporting their students either through 6th grade or 12th grade. We had our first high school graduate in 2014 and two more in 2016. This is one of three programs that UDS supports the education of children and youth in Liberia.

During the 2015-2016 academic, four dedicated Star Supporters sponsored 15 students. Out of the 15, seven maintained an 80% or better for the year and six were between 70% to 80%. We have not received the grade sheets of the two graduates yet, but we know both passed. 

Unfortunately, we had our first drop out this year. This student was in the 5th grade and 18 years of age. Their education was disrupted by the civil war, poverty, and Ebola that forced them to be an older student in grade school. It is quite difficult and frustrating to be an older student sitting among younger children. All attempts were made to mentor this young person this past year to stay in school by their mother, teachers and vice principal, and UDS country director and  volunteers. However, this young adult decided to quit and we had to honor their wish. UDS doors are always open for this young person and we hope they will want to resume their education when they are ready. 

This student's story stresses the importance of helping children attend school at an early age. In addressing this concern, UDS has added to new young students attending kindergarten through one of our sponsors. We hope to add two more young children as we wait for confirmation from two other sponsors. We currently have 15 scholarship students enrolled and their total tuition is $4,025 for this school year. 

As mentioned earlier, our scholarship program is one way we support education in Liberia. The other two are our learning center and annual school supply drives. The UDS Learning Center allows students to access a library and after school study classes to complete homework and prepare for tests. Our annual school supply drive provides 700 students with the basic necessities they need to take notes, complete they daily lessons and so forth. Sadly, several students are returning to school empty handed because their parents are unable to buy these essential supplies. 

Your generosity is extremely appreciated by the children and youth you serve in Liberia. Also, your continued support ensures young Liberians have an opportunity to achieve their academic requirements. Finally, your investment in the education of Liberian students provides a return of their employability in the job market or ability to start a business. 

Our 6th Annual School Supply Drive is about to end but there is still time to donate, share and encourage others to support Liberia's young children. Click here for the different ways to donate or share this post on your social media sites. Remember #EducationMatters. Thank you!!!

Monday, September 5, 2016

School Supplies Drive, Final Stages!

...Less than 2 weeks left!

Right now, we are coming to the final stages of our “2016 School Supplies” campaign!

We are so very grateful! You’ve made it possible for 167 students to start the year off prepared with the materials they need, having raised a total of $1,675!

But, there are still 533 kids without funding for their supplies. Right now, we would like to review how you can still help us raise the final $5,330 of our $7,000 goal:
Dimes for Dreams Cans: If you aren’t already, please keep filling up those cans! We will be collecting the cans closer to the end of this campaign. (Don’t know what “Dimes for Dreams” is? See the bottom of this email!)

Facebook, Email, Text, Sing it from the Mountain-tops!: Please “share” about this campaign on your social media (here’s our Facebook page:, post our flyers (attached below) wherever you have access to, and use your gift of word of mouth!

Make a Donation!: All donations are 100% tax-deductible! Please donate via PayPal (go to our website and click “donate” button) or send a Check payable to "Uniting Distant Stars" at:

Uniting Distant Stars
4010 Lawndale LN N
Plymouth, MN 55446

And prayers/good thoughts sent our way are of course always welcome and make all the difference, as well.

Thank you so much for all that you do. You truly are rock-stars!

Uniting Distant Stars

Dimes for Dreams:

Do you have a jar or little bowl at home where you dump your pocket change at the end of the day? Replace that container with a “Dimes for Dreams” can, and just like that, you’re effortlessly raising money for our youth in Liberia. Read more about it by clicking the link above, and to order a can of your own, reply to this email, or call UDS Co-founder, Heather Cannon-Winkleman at: 612-232-7541.

For free, a UDS team member can deliver one to your home as well, or we can mail you one!

Printable Flyer:

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A New School Year!

...School is just around the corner!

For UDS students, a new school year means so many exciting things.

It means being back with friends and dedicated leaders. It means getting the chance to learn about this incredible world we live in. And it means discovering how to go about in it as individuals with hearts, minds, talents, and dreams, totally unique to them.

As we start this new chapter, we are so filled with gratitude for the ways you’ve lifted these stellar youth.  We would like to thank you, (and thank you again), for the ripple of positivity you have created in their lives!

Right now, the end of our “2016 School Supplies Campaign” is fast-approaching. For this year’s campaign, we hoped to provide 700 students attending 3 different schools with basic school supplies.

According to a recent poll, the average American student spends upwards of $600 on school supplies, back to school clothes, and electronics. The same amount could support 60 liberian children and youth, with each student costing a total of $10!

So far, you’ve made it possible for 167 students to obtain the materials they’ll need, having raised a total of $1,675.

We are at nearly 25% of our $7,000 goal! If you can think of anyone who would like to join in supporting this effort, please forward our information along. Alternatively, below is a printable flyer which can be posted at church, work, or at coffee shop pin board near you!

Donations can be made by PayPal (go to website and click donate button) or send Check payable to "Uniting Distant Stars" at:

Uniting Distant Stars
4010 Lawndale LN N
Plymouth, MN 55446

To keep in mind:
The 3 highest donations made by the end of this campaign will not only receive acknowledgment on the site, but will also obtain special recognition when the school supplies are delivered to the students in September, in the form of a PSA Video! UDS students will get to express directly to you, through digital media, their appreciation for your continuous and selfless support.

Again, we want to thank you most sincerely for your support; be it through monetary contributions, sharing our message within your own circles, or directing prayers our way.

Your influence is felt with gratitude all the way across the world!

Thank you, (and thank you again),

Uniting Distant Stars