Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed your holidays and celebrated surviving a challenging year. What do you hope for in 2021 besides some sense of normalcy?
Our hope for 2021 is to transform more of our training departments into social businesses to provide additional revenue and create jobs for our graduates. As we continue to train and graduate students, more young people are led to our center to enroll. Thus the demand is high for vocational training because Liberian Youth sees it as the means for self-sufficiency.
In order to make this possible, we need to find interested partners and sponsors to help with the planning and raising the capital to buy the needed materials to make a viable business. If you know anyone interested in such a quest, please have them contact us at [email protected]. We appreciate any leads!
On December 14, 2019, we held our annual board meeting and elected the new officers. We are excited to announce Philip Kaleewoun will continue as the board chair for their year; Yakasah Wehyee will assume the secretary position; and Diane Anastos will continue her role as treasurer for the fourth year. Furthermore, Beyan Gonowolo became the new fundraising team chair. Also, please click on their names to read their bios and learn more about our incredible leaders.
Finally, our leadership team will focus on executing our strategic plan to include cultivating partnerships, securing more volunteers, and building our capacity to establish social businesses in Liberia.
Please join me in congratulating our 2020 Leadership Team!
On Saturday, December 8, Uniting Distant Stars held their annual board meeting to elect officers and start planning for 2019. First, we like to announce the re-appointment of our officers (Philip Kaleewoun II, Adam Pederson, and Diane Anastos) for another year. Congrats to our 2019 Board Officers!
Second, we like to share that three of our board members (Rita Apaloo, Adam Pederson, and Beyan Gonowolo) agreed to collaborate on our fundraising efforts for 2019. Specifically, this tremendous trio will be looking at various events, outreach to businesses and organizations, and other creative ways to fundraise. Thus, this supports Liberian Youth seeking to learn a skill and achieve self-reliance.
Third, we discussed the implementation of our strategic plan initiated in June 2018. With this intention, we plan to diversify our revenue streams to meet our main objective of financial stability. For example, the establishment of four social enterprises coupled with our courses as follows:
Tailoring Shop: sew custom uniforms & clothes or repair clothing.
Hair Salon: offer services for hair, face, and nails.
Auto Repair Shop: provide regular maintenance service and repairs.
Contracted Electrician and Plumbing Services: bid for contracts to build homes, schools, etc.
With this intention, a social enterprise or business allows us to reinvest the profits back into the program and beneficiaries. Also, we have envisioned a social business since we started working in Liberia. Because these small businesses provide the revenue stream to run the day-to-day operations and hire our graduates for permanent jobs.Consequently, Liberia’s economy continues to remain in a slump and this limits any job creation opportunities. Our Liberian Team established some small businesses since we opened our center. So as to generate funds to cover some of the needs. Including selling water and renting out our great hall for events or workshops. In order to expand into these other areas, a list of additional equipments and tools will be compiled by our team to determine the next steps. Ultimately, by transforming our facility into a multi-purpose center, we can achieve our strategic goal of financial stability.
We will keep you posted as we move forward with our plans for 2019. Thank you for your generous support in 2018!
Because we are a small and humble organization, your ongoing support of Liberian Youth is beyond measure…like trying to count all the stars in your lifetime. You are celebrated and honored by your studentsbecause you give them the opportunity to learn skills that will change their lives for the better. That is what we call Startacular!
On this Day of Thanksgiving, we want to express our heartfelt, overflowing appreciation and gratitude for the confidence, hope, and supportive learning environment you give to young men and women in Liberia!
Your catering student made this cake especially for you because without your support, they would not have come this far. Elijah Kotte (catering student) shares his thanks and appreciation to you on the behalf of all his fellow students.
In the last 20 seconds of this video, Elijah says: “We are telling them Thank You because the knowledge they are imparting on us. If we were sitting out there, we would not learn how to do this. We thank them for the knowledge they imparted on us. This is the reason why we are telling them Thank You.”
Uniting Distant Stars made its debut in the Big Apple with the well-organized efforts of Adam Pederson, Board Secretary. He worked with a friend to host a fundraiser on October 19 from 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM in Manhattan’s East Village. He found donated items such as African Art and modern abstract paintings for the silent auction. There was also a raffle draw for prizes of wine and champagne. The event offered free wine and hors d’oeuvres.
The goal of this fundraiser was $5,000 for our solar power initiative. Adam secured an anonymous $2,500 matching the gift to encourage people to donate and double their impact. This event was a huge success by raising $5,292…an exceeded goal! There were about 30 people who participated in this event and who brought more awareness to our vocational training program in Liberia.
We will continue working with solar professionals in both Liberia and Minnesota to coordinate the next steps. The goal is not only to install solar panels but to have our electrician students help with the installation. All of UDS is overjoyed with making this strategic goal a reality.
Many Thanks to our new and continued supporters that contributed to helping Liberian Youth obtain marketable and valuable skills in trade careers!!!
Your compassionate giving opens doors for young Liberians who need support in furthering their educational goals. You have shared our journey of empowering Liberian Youth (children, teenagers, and young adults) in Liberia with educational resources (scholarships, school supply drives, etc), leadership development (youth virtual exchanges and workshops) and vocational training courses in the fields needed in their country. You have contributed to our growth by providing the means to offer programs that our youth have requested.
Your generosity toward our “Become a Classroom Hero” campaign will soon be at work! We wired $4,300 on Friday to purchase the learning materials for the five courses: Catering, Cosmetology, Electricity, Plumbing, and Tailoring. Some of our students will be completing their courses in November, and it is important that we can deliver the hands-on training they need, so they can find employment or start a business when they graduate. We will continue to promote this campaign so we can raise the remaining funds for needed practical materials.
Recently, at the “A Gathering of Stars” House Party, Miriam Monono Isaac (Board Chair & Sustaining Star Supporter), shared how your charitable contributions are used for the betterment of our students. She highlighted how our commitment and resolve toward helping young Liberians to become self-sufficient has been made possible because of your continued support. Please watch to her compelling talk about why supporting Uniting Distant Stars is a good investment and benefits our youth in their personal development.