By Kevin Nah, Uniting Distant Stars Intern from University of Minnesota Duluth

For many of us, we have been fortunate enough to have access to quality education throughout our lives. The same opportunities we sometimes take for granted aren’t available to many others. Uniting Distant Stars is excellent when it comes to making education accessible to many youths, particularly in Liberia. Liberia is a nation on the rise filled with young people, who are tirelessly working to achieve their goals and provide a bright future for the country.

The current “Become a Classroom Hero” campaign is something that really resonates with me as a Liberian.  The purpose of this initiative, to raise money to provide training materials for youth in Liberia, so they can gain valuable skills and experience, is very admirable. I believe it speaks to the dedication and commitment that Uniting Distant Stars has to its students. They are bringing hope to a nation that has had many obstacles in its path.

As many may not know, Liberia went through a period of civil war which lasted from 1989 – 2003. As you can imagine, it was a time of violence and chaos which made it difficult for many people. I was born in 1996 in the midst of all that was going on in the country. My family and I were fortunate to make it out of the country and immigrate to the United States. As I grew older I heard stories of all the terrible things that occurred during the war, and how many people struggled daily to find food, water, and even education. Hearing these stories gave me a new perspective on how fortunate I was to be where I am now.

Even as I rose through the ranks at school, it was always important to be appreciative of the fact that I am in a place where I am able to receive a quality education. There are times when I stop to think…what if my situation was completely different than it is now? If my family and I hadn’t left Liberia when we did, would I still have the same opportunities I have had in my life? It’s easy to lose sight of what is important when we have it all in front of us. Uniting Distant Stars and the “Become a Classroom Hero” initiative has given me an opportunity to impact the lives of the youth in Liberia that are working relentlessly to create a brighter future not just for themselves, but for their nation.

As a final thought, education is a gift that should be shared with everyone. In the same way that someone took the time to invest in us when we were young, we can all do the same and make a positive impact in the life of someone else.