You raised over 50% of our goal!

You raised over 50% of our goal!

Do you realize how much your support makes a difference? This crisis has brought some challenges but it also shows the best of humanity. In fact, your support as a Classroom Hero for Liberian Children & Youth gives them hope that things will be better soon. This is why we continue to Thank you so much for including UDS students in your charitable giving!

It is important to note that your primary and vocational training students are eager to get back to school. Last Saturday, your 2019/2020 vocational training students were set to graduate (April 25) but we had to postpone until further notice. This was disappointing for them because they are so ready to start their journey as tradespeople and to earn a living. We hope things will improve soon to reschedule their important day.

Now a quick update on COVID-19 in Liberia152 confirmed cases (up from 76 the last newsletter), 18 people who have died (up from 7), and 45 people recovered (up from 7). Sadly, the number of people dying has increased but the number that recovered has been much greater. We continue to hope and pray for all of Liberia as they mitigate the complexities of this virus. 

With that being said, we are so grateful for you making a generous contribution to our COVID-19 Handwashing Package for UDS Families campaign. You have raised $1,522 (51%) of the $3,000 goal. Thank you! We sent $1,500 to buy the first half of the supplies in Liberia to store at the center. Help us reach our goal so we can buy the remaining supplies and distribute them to the UDS families. 

COVID-19 Handwashing Package for UDS Families

COVID-19 Handwashing Package for UDS Families

As a dedicated and generous Classroom Hero, we ask for your help to keep UDS families safe by donating $10 to support one family with soap and bleach for hand-washing. Many of the families don’t have clean running water and rely on a bucket with a spigot. Your gift of a COVID-19 Hand-washing Package will save the lives of your students and families. The package will include two dozen packets of powdered soap and two liters of bleach.

Our goal is to raise $3,000 in the next week to meet this urgent need. Please help by donating today and sharing our campaign.  We have raised $470 so far from Facebook, CashApp ($UDStars), and checks! Thank you!

Now Donate with Apple Pay and Google Pay

Now Donate with Apple Pay and Google Pay

Recently, we updated our donation page to accept Apple Pay and Google Pay. As more people move to digital wallets, UDS wanted to provide this option to you, our valued supporter. 

Co-Founder's Giving Story – #GivingTuesday

Co-Founder's Giving Story – #GivingTuesday

My worldview changed when I visited Liberia for the first time in 1998. This small West African Country was praying for peace after ensuring a devastating civil war for nine years. Much of the infrastructure was damaged and destroyed but the spirits of the people remained hopeful.

While we visited different areas in Monrovia (Liberia’s Capital), the people greeted us with warm welcomes and gracious hospitality. The children, on the other hand, showed signs of malnutrition but they displayed their resilience by laughing and playing. This challenged my beliefs of impoverished children that I learned from watching countless commercials of Sally Struthers crying as the spokesperson of the Christian Children’s Fund. 

Children’s Desire to Learn

During this trip, I noticed the desire and hunger of children wanting to go to school when visiting a tuition-free school. It was run by six university students with limited resources. In other words, there were no textbooks, school supplies or desks. Instead, all you saw was bamboo slats on cement blocks and makeshift chalkboard in a one-room building. 

We returned the next day with food for a cookout and brought relief supplies that we carried from Minnesota. In return, the children gave a program of songs and skits. Then a nine-year-old boy stood up and recited the Emancipation Proclamation. He blew our minds and brought us to tears because none of us could accomplish what he did.

The boy who recited the Emancipation Proclamation in 1998

Passion to Service Children & Youth

During the next 21 years, I have dedicated my life, money, resources, and time to helping children and youth in Liberia by:

  • donating funds and materials to support Liberian children’s education and wellbeing since 1998. 
  • volunteering my time while living in Liberia for two separate years (between 2007 and 2010) to support youth-focused local NGOs (non-government organizations).
  • sponsoring children and young adults with annual scholarships for primary/secondary schools or receive vocational training in 2011.
  • starting annual school supply drives in 2011 to support a primary school in Congo Town.

Starting a New Chapter

My giving story took on a new chapter when I and Kelvin Fomba (Liberian National) co-founded Uniting Distant Stars as an official non-profit in 2013. UDS focuses on educational programs for children and youth. I continue to donate needed funds, sponsor 13 children with academic scholarships. And, I volunteer countless hours with communication, fundraising, and other support to further our mission in supporting young Liberians. 

Heather presenting at UDS “Creative & Innovative Thinking Youth Leadership Workshop ” in Liberia in 2013.

I hope you join me this Giving Tuesday on December 3 by making a donation to our Classroom Hero Giving Day. Your gift not only helps a child or young adult learn but also builds their confidence.

Heather (standing in the back) with children in 2013 from the first school UDS supported with school supply drives and scholarships.

Thank you for your continued support!

Classroom Hero Giving Day

Classroom Hero Giving Day

How are you today? Tuesday, December 3, is Giving Tuesday! Please don’t’ forget to support Classroom Hero Giving Day, our 24-hour fundraiser will empower and equip Liberian Youth with the necessary learning materials for their vocational training courses. Our $2,000 goal can’t happen without your generosity and support of Liberia’s Rising Stars!

Three are three options to donate to our Classroom Hero Giving Day:

  1. Website Donor Page
  2. Facebook Campaign
  3. CashApp $UDStars

Every generous dollar you donate buys learning equipment, materials, and supplies for all vocational training courses. Your students fully utilize your gift in applying and practicing their skills to master their given trade(s).

Thank you for including Uniting Distant Stars in your annual charitable giving!

Save the Date for May 4 Fundraising Event

Save the Date for May 4 Fundraising Event

You are cordially invited to a fundraising event hosted by Beyan Gonowolo, UDS Board Member & Outreach Coordinator.

Theme: Education is Better than Silver & Gold
Venue: Equinox Apartments Residence Lounge at 2808 Silver Ln, Saint Anthony, MN, 55421​
Day & Time: Saturday, May 4, 2019, from 6 PM to 8 PM
Location: St. Anthony, MN
Details: Refreshments & snacks provided along with a short presentation about UDS programs in Liberia
Note: Please bring a friend

We look forward to seeing you there!