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! 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Introducing the Uniting Distant Stars Training Center

Your tremendous support is giving Uniting Distant Stars the momentum to provide what children and youth want in Liberia! You gave us the strength to renovate & move into a new building this year, to better accommodate young Liberians seeking our services in academic support, vocational training, and youth leadership development. And, now you have helped us reach a new milestone: We are an official training center in Liberia!

Uniting Distant Stars Permit to Operate Professional/Technical Institute in Liberia.
This distinction by Liberia's Ministry of Education gives us the opportunity to offer certificates and diplomas for our training programs. These programs are designed to support our young Liberians seeking help with their education or developing marketable skills. 

You may not realize how much your support inspires our youth & team in Liberia. For the last six months, they have been creating a strategic plan on how to expand our vocational training course offerings. On Saturday, November 19, 2016, they took the first step in putting this plan into action by hitting the streets to recruit vocational training students. 


Young UDS volunteers reaching out to surrounding communities to recruit youth for our vocational training courses.
About 75 volunteers canvassed 20 communities in Congo Town & Sinkor (suburbs of Monrovia) to recruit youth for our first vocational training programs starting in January. They handed out 1,500 flyers to interested youth within these communities. Beginning Monday, young candidates were invited to visit our office and register for one of the available courses. Young men and women will be required to take an assessment test and pay a $75 registration fee to be accepted. The tuition is free for all courses. 


You inspire our youth into action in sharing our programs with people in nearby communities.
Our volunteers were warmly welcomed by each community they visited. Young people and their families were excited to learn about our programs. Our team members have received a steady stream of phone calls from interested candidates answering their questions about registration and training requirements.


Our volunteers talking with people near a market area.
Our youth meeting with a community elder, who is very interested in what we are offering for young people. 
You will continue to receive updates as we move forward with this initiative. Our team in Liberia greatly appreciates your generosity and prayers because this gives them the energy to propel UDS forward.

You bring hope and opportunity to these young people. 
Your gracious support is an investment into our youth's futures as employees or entrepreneurs. Our Tools For Success: Books, Computers, & Sewing Machines campaign is one way to help children and youth expand their knowledge and learn valuable skills. You can make a tax-deductible gift today and give young Liberian an opportunity to achieve self-sufficiency.

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

Monday, November 14, 2016

Spreading the news about your generosity & Save the Date: 11/17/16

You are the reason behind all our successes this year. We celebrate your gracious efforts everyday. Liberian children & youth are happy because of your generous heart!

Spreading the news: Uniting Distant Stars Co-Founder & Country Director, Kelvin Fomba, was interviewed on United Methodist Radio 98.7 FM in Liberia on Friday 11/11/16. He was accompanied by two of our youth leaders Roseline Sonday & Patrick Junusa Jr. and shared on what we accomplished with your help and where you will take us next. 

​Left to Right: Kelvin's interview at radio station; Patrick at his college graduation earlier this year; & Roseline wearing one of the backpacks she helped make.
Today, a local artist painted the UDS logo on our new center. Adding our brand to our building is another way to spread the news about your unyielding support of Liberian children & youth.

Your generosity is making a different for children & youth in Liberia.
Save the date: Thank you for being a valued part of the Uniting Distant Stars Community.

Each year, generous Star Supporters like you celebrate Give to the Max Day by making your online donation on GiveMN.org. Your generosity on this makes a difference far beyond the 24-hour giving event.

Your generosity on Give to the Max Day will provide Liberian children & youth with the "Tools for Success". Thank you!
Please join us on November 17, 2016, for Give to the Max Day and help us continue to change lives through providing education & vocational training. 

Your donation on Give to the Max Day also may help UDS receive an additional donation of $1,000. How? On November 17, every gift made on GiveMN.org will be entered into an hourly drawing for a $1,000 GiveMN Golden Ticket to be awarded to a non-profit organization. Your gift of $10 or more could instantly turn into an $1,000! 

And, here's the really exciting part: Two donations made on GiveMN.org during the Give to the Max Day campaign will be randomly selected to receive a $10,000 Super-Sized GiveMN Golden Ticket! 

The more gifts we generate on GiveMN.org during Give to the Max Day, the more our chances increase to receive that additional 10,000 donation. Image what we could do with $10,000 to help children & youth in Liberia.

Our goal is to raise $5,500, and you can help us reach it!

Your generous gift will buy additional copies of books for our library, 12 more used computers for our lab, and 8 sewing machines for our training program. These are the "Tools for Success" needed for Liberia's children & youth to get the upper hand in developing knowledge and skills. 

​Your fabulous gift will add more books to our library (left), additional computers for our lab (center) & sewing machines for our training program (right).
Be sure to mark your calendar and make your gift on November 17 by visiting our campaign page "Tools for Success: Books, Computers, & Sewing Machines" at GiveMN.org.

Thank you for being our valued Shining Stars!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

You Brought "Happy" to Young Liberian Students!

Your compassion and generosity filled our new learning center with happiness. On October 29, 2016, we held the grand opening of our new Uniting Distant Stars (UDS) Learning Center in Liberia. During this program, your gift of school supplies was delivered to the remaining children, who are the grateful recipients of your service. This post highlights the fun-filled day from the words of Kelvin Fomba, UDS Co-Founder & Country Director:

You helped make this program success. Kelvin in upper left hand photo. Students performing in upper right. Lower two photos show the students attending our grand opening program. 
First of all, we'd like to say thanks to the Almighty, the entire UDS team, and support team in USA and around the world for making this program a success. The program was so great, wonderful and exciting! The hall of our learning center was so congested, some people overflowed outside to the courtyard. We had about 450 kids, 150 parents, and about 30 special guests, including UDS Liberian team in Liberia attending the program.

UDS Learning Center is near many schools and as you can see the children can walk to it. 
As you can see, our overflow of people were in the courtyard. 
The miraculous part was this: all the kids were able to receive their school supplies individually along with their refreshments of popcorn and KoolAid.  Rev. Samuel Enders, CEO & Founder of African Dream Academy, served as the keynote speaker of the program. He was so impressed about the development at the new learning center and the large population of kids filling the great hall. He also pledged $10,000 Liberian Dollars (equivalent to $120 USD) to be collected nest week.

Your brought happy to these young students as they receive their school supplies. 
These smiles are for your kindness and support for their education.
You are the reason why these young students will succeed in school this year.
Rev. Samuel Enders is wearing the red & white striped shirt. 
Video of  Rev. Samuel Enders Introduction

As you can see in the photos, kids wearing the blue and red uniforms are from City of Joy School, The students in green and yellow uniforms are from Christian Kingdom Academy. Hossana Children Foundation  and Russ Wood Christian Academy students were not in uniform. 

                                                                Listen to the students chat before the program starts.

This is the largest program UDS has ever had. The kids performed numerous dramas, songs, and jokes that had everyone clapping and laughing. Also thanks, praises, prayers were shared from the kids, youth, parents, guests, the schools' administration to You and all our UDS family in Liberia, USA, and around the world.    

We end this post by sharing this happy day with all of you. Rev. Enders led the children in singing "If Are You Happy & You Know It," and we invite you to sing along as you play this video.


Our heartfelt thanks to you for bringing happiness and joy to young students in Liberia!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Rogma International Students are Smiling Because of You

One of the greatest joys in life is making children happy, and that is exactly what you did on Sunday, October 23rd, 2016, at Rogma School International! This small community school (on Duport Road in Paynseville, Liberia) hosted their "Back-to-School" program to engage the community/parents, and to help gain support for their efforts in educating the Liberian youth. They invited representatives from non-profit, government, and religious organizations, as well as local businesses from the area. However, only Uniting Distant Stars was there to bring your gift of school supplies for 170 young children enrolled in this school!

You are helping these young students at Rogrma International School in Liberia. 
Our team organized all the supplies by grade level (from K-7th) and packed them at our new learning center. Kelvin Fomba, UDS Co-Founder & Country Director, brought five volunteers with him to take part of this important program. 

Your gifts packed with care waiting to placed in the hands of children.
Each child is given individualized attention as they are presented with your gift of school supplies. We have one volunteer who calls their name, a second who picks up their packet from the appropriate grade level, a third who presents the gift to the student while, and a fourth to take their photo. This system has been carefully orchestrated since we started this program in 2011. 

Princess presents your gift to this young girl. 
Here are more of the children, who received your fabulous gift!


Your generous gift of school supplies helps these children succeed in school. 
Kelvin was invited to give a few remarks to the parents and school's staff. He asked the parents to ensure that their children arrive to school safely and are allotted enough time to complete their homework when they are home. He also shared how UDS and Rogma worked out a deal for their scholarship students; Rogma School has five students needing support. Three have since been sponsored by UDS supporters, but, Kelvin asked the school to allow all five young students to attend school this year even though only three have the funding. So, during this next year, we will be looking for two sponsors to help continue the education of the two unfunded students. 

Going the extra mile is so gratifying because it truly transforms young lives for the better.

Kelvin sharing how your compassion is benefiting the young children of Rogma International School. 
Another special moment at the program was when our partner and volunteer Godfrey got up and sang a popular gospel song. Godfrey, of the Hossana Children Foundation, stunned the audience with his amazing voice. He got everyone up dancing and singing with him. It was in response to your generous support that Godfrey shared his gift and brought to the program a joyful energy of gratitude and celebration. 


Children singing and dancing with joy because you brightened their day. 
Here are remarks shared by Rodney and Kelvin on Facebook, expressing their gratitude for your most generous support of young children in Liberia:



You will be receiving more gratitude and notes of thanks from the October 29th "back-to-school" program held at our new learning center in the coming week. 

There are not enough words to express how your kindness has touched our sweet children and youth in Liberia. We truly appreciate how you've been such Shining Stars for Liberia's youngsters!