Do you want to give Liberian Youth trade skills?

Do you want to give Liberian Youth trade skills?

We hope you are feeling fabulous today! The season of giving continues tomorrow with Giving Tuesday. Without a doubt, 2020 brought on new challenges for everyone. Yet, you continue to celebrate the successes of your August 1 graduates and welcomed your fourth cohort of students on September 22.

Through your generous support, young men and women show up to each class to practice their skills. Also, this real experience allows them to start earning income in a matter of weeks or months depending on the course. With you as their Classroom Hero, you guide them to the finish line, graduation. 

For this reason, we hope you will join Uniting Distant Stars for Giving Tuesday. In continuation of the Give to the Max Day, we like to reach our goal of $5,000. Only $2,730 remains to reach it. Please donate at least $10 to help Liberian Youth learn valuable trade skills. Thank you for including Uniting Distant Stars in your charitable giving!

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!

Please vote for #MyGivingStory

Please vote for #MyGivingStory

One of our sustaining supporters, Donna from Minnesota, wrote her Giving Story for #GivingTuesday. By entering her story into this contest, she selected Uniting Distant Stars as the receiving charity.

Please help us increase our chance of winning a prize by voting (click here) for her story. Also, you can vote daily.

Requesting people to vote for MyGivingStory: https://binkd.co/GlEhF

Thank you!

Thank You For Your Gift of Learning!

Thank You For Your Gift of Learning!

We greatly appreciate your support on Giving Tuesday! As a result, you raised $420 on Facebook. Despite our best efforts, we did not benefit from the matching funds from PayPal. In fact, the number of donations within seconds of event start time exhausted the funds.

To sum it up, every dollar of your donation goes towards the development of your students enrolled in one of our eight vocational training courses. Thank you for making a difference and changing the lives of Liberian Youth for the better!

Books on Shelves Advances Learning of Children

There are many things we are grateful for as we reflect on what we accomplished in 2015. There is no doubt our success is your success, because we are UNITED together to support young STARS in Liberia. We are extremely thankful for the additional $110 donated on Giving Tuesday to upgrade our learning center. We currently have raised $250 or 10% towards our goal of providing quality after school programming to future educators, entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders in Liberia. Your investment in the UDS Learning Center yields a lasting return for the children and youth we serve.

UDS Learning Center Library in Liberia.
Today I read this New York Times article “Our (Bare) Shelves, Our Selves” from December 5 that supports our initiative. It highlights how a physical book is essential to advancing a child’s learning development as cited below.

After G.N.P., the quantity of books in one’s home was the most important predictor of reading performance. The greatest effect was seen in libraries of about 100 books, which resulted in approximately 1.5 extra years of grade-level reading performance. (Diminishing returns kick in at about 500 books, which is the equivalent of about 2.2 extra years of education.)

Libraries matter even more than money; in the United States, with the size of libraries being equal, students coming from the top 10 percent of wealthiest families performed at just one extra grade level over students from the poorest 10 percent.

Books donated and shipped from Minnesota in 2014 that are now on library shelves in Liberia.
Most children in Liberia grow up without books in their homes or libraries in their communities. Uniting Distant Stars Learning Center is filling this critical void in the community we serve. We currently have about 100 books on our shelves varying in topics from math to science, and cultural literature to young readers series. Our youth compiled a list of books required in their classes, but not available in their schools or affordable to their parents.  Also, they asked for other materials such as chairs, tables, computers, etc. to improve their overall learning experience.

Liberian student working on his homework on the porch of UDS Learning Center
A $10 minimal investment towards a child’s education can make all the difference in their academic achievements and career aspirations. Please help us meet our goal of $2,500 to fulfill our youth’s wishes during this season of giving by clicking DONATE for debit/credit cards or contributing by check to Uniting Distant Stars and mail at:

Uniting Distant Stars
4010 Lawndale LN N
Plymouth, MN 55446

Sincerest gratitude and appreciation for your continued generosity, kindness, and prayers for our youth in Liberia!

Uniting Distant Stars Learning Center | GiveMN

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