Uniting Distant Stars Vocational Training Update

Uniting Distant Stars Vocational Training Update

In August, you celebrated the third group of vocational training graduates Then, we restarted recruiting for the fourth cohort. Now, we hope to start classes this month.

Last month, Kelvin Fomba (Co-Founder & Director) went on the air. He also brought two alumni who work with UDS. First, Boakai Dillion, 2017/2018 graduate, works as the electrician Instructor. Second, Myrtle Stoe (2018/2019) graduate, works as the student registrar. Without a doubt, their testimonials drew in potential students.

Left to right, Kelvin Fomba, Boakai Dillon, and Myrtle Stoe.

Another exciting development deals with scholarships. One of our sustaining donors provided a $1,500 scholarship. He asked that we recruit 20 women in auto mechanics, electrician, and plumbing. Furthermore, his scholarships reduce their tuition by half. What a wonderful opportunity!

Additionally, a local Liberian organization registered five students and paid their full tuition. They plan to register more before the next term starts. We hope this leads to a lasting partnership.

Indeed, 2020 gave us many challenges but with all your support we continue forward. Thank you for your generous support!

Your Students Enthusiastically Learn Skills

Your Students Enthusiastically Learn Skills

The current student body of the UDS Vocational Training Center (UDSVTC) completed their third month in July. Their enthusiasm to learn makes you smile. Furthermore, their ability to encourage their fellow students when they are feeling frustrated touches your heart. In fact, this group of students is unique compared to the previous two cohorts. They created a chat room on Messenger to promote unity and share ideas out of the classroom. Your students’ hunger for learning is 24/7.

Your catering students made delicious pancakes topped with natural honey. Frank Tugbeh, UDS Catering Instructor posted these photos in our Facebook group and instantly your tastebuds start watering. What makes these pancakes even sweeter? The joy of success expressed in the beautiful smiles of our students. 

Your students proudly displaying their pancakes topped with natural honey.

Your electrician students cannot get enough practical training because they are asking for more. In addition to their eagerness, this class has grown to over 20 students. Their instructor, Boakai Dillion shared these photos on his Facebook page as they continue to learn how to work with electricity. As you can see, these dedicated and focused students practice their skills. 

Your electrician students are dedicated to learning this important trade that lights the world.

As we close this post, we hope more of our instructors and students continue to share photos and stories from their experiences at UDSVTC, so we can pass on to you. 

UDS 2019/2020 Student Recruitment

UDS 2019/2020 Student Recruitment

UDS launched our student recruitment by participating in three radio talk shows: Radio Advent (93.7) on February 12, United Methodist Radio (98.7) on February 13, and Truth FM (96.1) on February 15. For each talk show, our team consisted of students and staff to explain our program and the benefits of enrolling as a student.

Radio Advent (93.7) – February 12

This station, located on the Old Road, is near our center. We developed a relationship with Radio Advent the first year we opened our center. Because of this relationship, they looked forward to putting our team on the air, including Kelvin Fomba (Co-Founder & Director), Godfrey Solomon (Administrator/Registrar), Boakai Dillion (2018 Graduate & Assistant Electrician Instructor), and Myrte Toe (Hotel Management Student).

Boakai Dillion (left) tells the listeners how his UDS experience is a blessing. He shared how he received contracts as an electrician before he graduated in March 2018. He returned as the assistant instructor to help with training our current students. (Godrey Solomon on top-right and Kelvin Fomba bottom-right)
Myrtle Doe (left) explained how her passion is to work in the hotel industry. She is grateful for UDS for offering this program. She shared her experience serving our guests from Sierra Leone Foundation for New Democracy-SLFND during the Permaculture training.

United Methodist Radio (98.7) – February 13

This station is in the neighboring suburb, Sinkor. We established a continued relationship with them since 2017. For this show, our team included Kelvin Fomba, Godfrey Solomon, Boakai Dillion, and Adjusting Kouadio (Computer Student).

Adjusting Kouadio (right) shared with the listeners how she used to feel like there was no hope but this changed for her when enrolling with the UDS computer course. She expressed her gratitude for how much she learned. She then encouraged the youth listening to come and learn at the UDS trade school. (Kelvin Fomba on left and Boakai Dillion at center).

Truth FM (96.1) – February 15

Friday, we went further away from our center to Duport Road in Paynesville, one of the largest suburbs of Monrovia. This talk show allowed listeners to call in and ask questions of our team: Kelvin Fomba, Godfrey Solomon, Amed Saah Blama (Hotel Management Instructor), and Abel Kabba (Plumbing Student).

Abel Kabba at right gave an inspiring talk about how his life transformed from living on the streets to learning a valuable trade at our vocational training center. He encouraged other youth in similar situations to know they have a choice for a better life by coming to UDS and learning a skill.

Your gracious and generous support inspires and motivates our students to succeed in their training. Please watch theses three short videos of Adjusting, Boakai, and Abel as they share their stories to the listeners. Thank you!

Adjusting Kouadio (UDS Computer Student), encourages youth to have hope and enroll in the UDS vocational training school.

Boakai Dillion, UDS 2018 Graduate & Assistant Electrician Instructor, shares how much UDS vocational training program transformed his life.
Abel Kabba (UDS Plumbing Student) shares his story how vocational training changed his life.

Is Spring Time Here?

Is Spring Time Here?

By Crystal Soderberg, Uniting Distant Stars Communication & Volunteer Coordinator

Not quite! However, our current students’ graduation is coming up March 3, which means we are now accepting new students for this spring! Not only do we have information sessions and aptitude tests ready to be scheduled, but we have a tremendous deal going on for tuition as well. Uniting Distant Stars is offering a 50% discount on tuition for students until we reach our goal of 300 students enrolled.

Co-Founder Kelvin Fomba addressing the new student recruits for our 2018 courses.

One of our main goals is to make our courses affordable while also providing as much money as possible towards costs such as teacher’s stipends, student study guides, and general operations. A portion goes back to the students with their uniforms and ID cards. Also, our students are driven to learn by investing in their education. The course costs are as follows:
  1. $200 ($100 with 50% scholarship) for 12-month programs: Auto Mechanics, Electricity, Masonry, and Plumbing.
  2. $150 ($75 with 50% scholarship) for 9-month programs: Catering, Computers, Cosmetology, Hotel Management, Interior Event Design, and Tailoring.

UDS Team on Radio Talk Show to Recruit Students. Left to right: Roseline, Godfrey & Kelvin (left photo) and Roseline & Godfrey (right photo).

UDS has come a long way from holding classes out of our co-founder, Kelvin Fomba’s home and hopes to continue to grow our graduating classes each class period in our new Training Center. Previous graduates have been able to provide for their families by running printing and copying services, repairing and servicing cars or generators, working for local tailors or working side jobs to do nails and hair for the community.

If you or someone you know may be interested in registering for classes or supporting these youth in pursuing an education please reach out to [email protected]. Classes are anticipated to begin the end of March or Beginning of April! Other ways to spread the news are by following us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.