Meet our Web Designer, Rachel Smith

Meet our Web Designer, Rachel Smith

Like any non-profit organization, we benefit from the talent and hard work of our dedicated volunteers. Rachel Smith is one of our fabulous volunteers!

It was during our first Ten Thousand Villages Shopping Event in May 2016 that Rachel became interested in our organization. She had recently graduated from Minneapolis Community & Technical College (MCTC) in UX Design.

She was interested in redesigning our website using WordPress. Our original website was a transformed blog on Blogger so this would require not only a new look but transferring data from one platform to another.

Together, we spent a lot of time going over layout and content. She worked tirelessly in designing the site and bringing over the content from the old one. The new website launched in June 2017, and it was a welcomed improvement.

Rachel continues to help with maintenance, troubleshooting, and new development. We are truly grateful for her creative talents in designing and maintaining our website! Our heartfelt Thanks, Rachel!

You make everything STARtacular!

You are moving mountains with your heartwarming generosity! You made #GivingTuesday a remarkable success. Not only did you help unlock the matching gift of $500, but you raised another $320. In other words, you raised $1,320 (24%) towards our $5,500 goal.

It gets even better! One of our fabulous board members, Miriam Monono, started a fundraiser for UDS on Facebook, sponsored by the Network for Good, to raise a $1,000 that will be matched dollar for dollar by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Facebook is waiving the fees to make your online donations. Six donors raised $215 within the first three days. You can double your generous gift by clicking on this link and the blue Donate button as shown in the screen shot below. This fundraiser is in conjunction with our year-end campaign. Your holiday gift-giving for children & youth in Liberia can have a greater impact when it is doubled…raise a $1,000 to give $2,000 to provide educational and vocational training resources for children & youth in Liberia.



Also, we hope to see you this Thursday (December 8, 2016) at Ten Thousand Villages for their charitable event on Uniting Distant Stars​’​ behalf. Please stop by between 5PM and 8PM to shop for fabulous gifts, enjoy a treat on us, and learn more about our programs. For all in-store shopping during this event, UDS will receive a percentage​​;​ 10% of sales up to $150 and 20%​,​ if sales total more than $150. The store is located at 520 Selby Ave, St. Paul, MN 55102.

Finally, this post will close with a simple prayer request. Our team in Liberia has recruited 120 students for our January vocational training courses with a third signed up for computer training course. We have one young man, who signed up for the masonry course. Each course needs at least 10 students to offer it. He was given the option to select another​ ​one. He declined and said, “this his heart’s desire”. How can ​we refuse someone’s dream? So we ask for your prayers to help us recruit nine other students who share this young man’s passion. 

You are celebrated for making everything ​​STARtacular for children & youth in Liberia!!!

Give, Heal, Shop, & Make a Difference

The end of 2016 is a few weeks away, and your faithful support this year has benefited the lives of hundreds of children and youth participating in Uniting Distant Stars (UDS) programs. Your generosity is so appreciated by these young people. One of our auto mechanic students, George Cooper, recently shared how he considers you a member of the UDS family. (Read more about George in our 2014 Annual Report).

This post is dedicated to identifying the many ways you can Give, Heal, Shop, and Make a Difference for children and youth as part of end-of-year giving plan. 

Give to our Tools for Success: Books, Computers & Sewing Machines campaign. There is still an opportunity to double your impact by donating and unlocking our matching gift. Your donation is tax-deductible and provides the resources students need the most to achieve their educational and vocational training goals.

Tools for Success: Books, Computers, Sewing Machines  | GiveMN

​Your fabulous gift will add more books to our library (left), additional computers for our lab (center) & sewing machines for our training program (right).


Heal and reduce holiday stress at True Sanctuary‘s Candlelight Healing Sessions & Sound Bath for Charity on December 3, from 6 to 8PM at Healing Elements (2290 ComoAve, St Paul, MN 55108). All proceeds from this charitable event will be shared by three youth-focused organizationsYouthLink, Patacala & Uniting Distant Stars. Please visit the Candlelight Healing Sessions & Sound Bath for Charity Event Facebook Page to review the list of healing services and register for your 30-minute session today. 


Shop at AmazonSmile for all your Christmas, Chanukah (Hanukkah), and Holiday Celebration necessities. Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Uniting Distant Stars Inc.

Shop at our Ten Thousand Villages Event in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Thursday, December 8, 2016, from 5PM to 8PM. Please visit us at 520 Selby Ave, St. Paul, MN 55102 to shop and enjoy some tasty treats. 











Make a Difference in a young person’s life this holiday season; your gift can be an everlasting treasure to them.

Thank you for the generosity of your heart; the children and youth of Uniting Distant Stars appreciate you beyond measure! 

Raising Awareness at Ten Thousand Villages

Thank you for shopping at the Ten Thousand Villages Community Shopping Event held on May 21st! Your purchases (between 12:00pm- 4:00pm) were tallied, and 15%, approximately $225, was donated to Uniting Distant Stars. We also received about $23 in cash donations. Because of your generosity, 25 students will receive school supplies from our upcoming Annual School Supplies Drive, which will be supporting three primary schools (serving 700 students) in Liberia.

We would also like to express our immense gratitude toward Ten Thousand Villages for hosting this community shopping event on our behalf. This opportunity allowed for us to showcase our commitment to serving children and youth in Liberia, by providing them with educational resources and vocational training. We would also like to express a particular note of thanks to Ten Thousand Villages’ store manager, Julie, and her staff. They helped make it a successful day!

Uniting Distant Stars Information Table showcases your continued generosity. 
Our UDS volunteers did a great job representing our cause at the event. We are extremely grateful to this dedicated, talented team for contributing to the success of our organization. Special Acknowledgments to: Miriam Monono, Diane Anastos, Adam Pederson, Mary Rosendahl, Philip Kaleewoun II, and Florkime Paye.

UDS Board Members (left to right):Miriam, Diane and Adam.
Left to Right: UDS Co-founder & Executive Director Heather, Board Members Philip and Mary.
At our information table, we showcased a sample of a UDS backpack made by a Liberian teen from the Backpacks for Peace program. The backpacks constructed in this program are used not only as vessels for the Liberian youth to transport school materials, but they also serve as our Emergency Preventative Kit prototype (filled with mosquito netting, water filter, masks, gloves and more). Go to our projects page to see a photo of the items in this backpack.

UDS Backpack for Peace being worn by Heather is something you made possible. 
In addition to all these exciting developments, we received the Dimes for Dreams cans! Ten Thousand Villages became the first ever UDS supporter to put one of our cans on their counter. We’d like to issue another “thank you” to them for helping us kickstart this fundraising campaign. More details about this project are coming soon from our campaign coordinators Adam and Florkime.

UDS Dimes for Dreams cans are in and ready to start our campaign on June 1
Additionally, our “Recipes for Learning Sample Cookbook arrived recently. Mary, our project lead, created this mock-up to show potential sponsors how they can benefit from helping this important initiative. There will be much more to share about this project in the near future.

UDS Recipes for Learning Sample Cookbook to show to potential sponsors.
For those who were not able to attend the Ten Thousand Villages Community Shopping Event, we will be back on December 3rd! We will continue to share with you how your support is changing the lives of Liberian children and youth in real time.


Announcements for this event will be published in November.

Ten Thousand Villages Community Shopping Event on May 21

We invite you to come and support Uniting Distant Stars at the Ten Thousand Villages Community Shopping Event at 3825 50th Street in Minneapolis on May 21 from 12PM to 4PM. Ten Thousand Villages sells Fair Trade Handmade items from artisans living in developing nations. This event will be a great opportunity to find special gifts for upcoming birthdays, graduations and weddings. Ten Thousand Villages will donate 15% from the eligible sales during the event. Please visit our table to see a sample of our backpack and learn more about our programs serving youth in Liberia. We look forward to seeing you there!