Many Creative Ways to Give

Many Creative Ways to Give

We welcome your creative ideas and talents to help raise funds for our programs in Liberia. There are many ways to provide a giving platform for your family and friends such as hosting a themed house party or making something to sold for our cause.

For example, our board member, Anna Bertch, started creating quartz crystal necklaces and key chains to sell to her friends. She is giving 50% of the proceeds to Uniting Distant Stars. Anna demonstrates that no amount is too small to make a difference in the lives of the young people we serve in Liberia.

If you like to use your creative talents for a greater good, please contact me at [email protected].

Special Greeting to You from UDS Co-Founders

Our two co-founders, Heather Cannon-Winkelman (USA) and Kelvin Fomba (Liberia), recorded this video to express our heartfelt Thanks and Appreciation for your most generous support of Liberian Youth!


Your Generous Gift At Work

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.



Your Investment in Students is Returning Smiles of Success

Your Investment in Students is Returning Smiles of Success

June 2nd, 2017, marked our four-year anniversary as an official non-profit organization. Your generous contributions each year have made a profound difference in the lives of children and youth in Liberia. Your gracious commitment to walk this journey with us in building and growing a grassroots organization allows us to serve ambitious and eager Liberian youth. Your compassion and dedication are what lights the hearts and minds of Liberia’s promising young stars. Your unyielding support makes this all happen and we are eternally grateful. Thank you.
June 1st is the start of our fourth month of vocational training courses. Our nine-month courses will reach their halfway mark on June 15th. The results of these first four months are astounding. As our faithful partners in doing good, you have enabled youth to acquire skills that they can apply with confidence. During the next five to seven months, our students will require more materials to achieve their course requirements. 
This month we will be launching our “Become a Classroom Hero” campaign to raise funds for five courses that need extra learning materials to ensure they receive the marketable skills to graduate and start a job or business. This post will share some of the latest photos of various courses and students accomplishments. You will soon see how your investment is returning smiles of success on the faces of our students.
Auto Mechanics Course
Kelvin Fomba, UDS Co-Founder and Country Director, works with his students three times a week and most of the time they are working on vehicles. At times, Kelvin provides classroom lectures when they are moving onto a new concept. The two photos below are from a classroom discussion on June 1st.
You encourage these students to learn.
You engage these students in asking questions to understand.
Computer Training
This is our largest course with over 40 students divided into four classes that meet three times a week. Our students are nearing the end of the Microsoft Word section. Saturday, June 3rd, all students from each class took a test to measure their knowledge of Microsoft Word. The students walked way feeling confident and proud of what they are learning. Kelvin, who is also one of the teachers of this course, said, “I cannot afford to stop doing this because look at the smiles on these beautiful faces.” 
Your generosity brought smiles to these beautiful faces.
You give these students the reason to focus on their exam.
You made this computer lab possible.
Your continued support uplifts our student’s spirits.
Cosmetology Course
The students in this course are advancing each and every day. In these first four months, they went from plaiting (braiding) hair that was tied on a string to working on each other or volunteers. They also are now providing manicures with custom designs on artificial. They continue to provide free haircuts to children in the neighborhood to gain experience and give back.
You spark that inner talent of each student.
You give our students reason to enjoy their work.
You encourage her to be precise and thoughtful in her work.
You guide students to produce results like these nails.
You are the example for these students to give back.

Plumbing Course

We’d like finally to introduce this 12-month course. This is one of the courses that is need of learning materials. The instructor has received periodic contracts which he can bring the students into the field and apply the knowledge they learn during their lectures. Gratefully, the instructor has been bringing some of the tools and materials to give practical application of this trade. Our goal for this course is to provide the tools, pipes and fittings, and other basic materials so that they can understand how to install or repair any plumbing in between opportunities to go in the field.

Your dedication motivates these students to learn despite the challenges.
The instructor is empowered by you to share his knowledge with these young minds.

Tailoring Course

This 9-month course started two months after the other ones. We have provided sewing course in the past such as our Backpacks for Peace Service Learning Project. We have an interest in this course but students are struggling to pay the $75 fee. Again as we shared before, most of this is returned to the students in uniforms, ID Cards, and basic learning materials such as course handouts. We started with four students and increased to six. Students that are in their later twenties or earlier thirties are showing a greater interest in tailoring.  

Students of all ages are welcomed to gain skills from your whole-hearted support.

Student ID Cards

After some search, we found someone to make our student ID cards. As each student received theirs in the last few days, they were beaming with pride. The ID Card and Uniform allow the students to identify as Rising Stars in our program.

Our students now wear their ID Cards with great pride because of you.

You should feel honored and proud of how your charitable deeds are changing young Liberian lives for the better. You have continued to invest in our students, and the return is not measured in dollars and cents, but in confidence and smiles. 

Thank you for being a valued and sustaining Star Supporter of Uniting Distant Stars children and youth!
Nurturing Hope

Nurturing Hope

Once a year a day is set aside to honor the Mothers in our lives. There is a special quality often associated with mothers in how they care for their young children. You possess this special quality through your unyielding support of children and youth in Liberia. You are Nurturing Hope with each and every generous gift you have made to help students learn new knowledge and skills in our vocational training center. 

Thank you for helping this student learn how to bake!
You are the reason students show up each day to class to apply and practice what they are receiving from their teachers. 
Thank you for helping these young men and women become auto mechanics!
Thank you for giving students opportunities to practice their skills!
Your heart can smile knowing that you are bringing significate changes to lives of young Liberians in order to thrive.  
Thank you for inspiring students to harness their creativity!
Thank you for giving students the tools to learn! 
Thank you for your Nurturing Hope and being the difference in the lives of children and youth in Liberia!
International UDS Board Meeting

International UDS Board Meeting

This morning, an international UDS board meeting was held. Kelvin Fomba, along with Godfrey Solomon and Roseline Sonday shared the successes as well as the current obstacles at hand in Liberia with board UDS members on the American end (via Google Hangout).

Kelvin brought to our attention the need for more materials for some of our vocational training courses like Cosmetology and Plumbing/Electricity. Some of the skills being taught, like braiding in Cosmetology, require specialized tools (i.e. mannequin heads) in order to best teach the techniques at hand. Because more and more students have been enrolling in these courses, a need has developed for more training supplies. Though these are real concerns to address, we are also so thrilled for the growth UDS has experienced in such a short time! There was talk of shipping donated supplies from the U.S. to Liberia, but due to the risks associated with trans-Atlantic shipping, and cost of transport, we are now turning our focus toward fundraising efforts on the U.S. side. Then, the materials can be bought in Liberia, which also benefits the local economy.

There are some youth in Liberia that are interested in taking classes at UDS, but who cannot afford the $75 registration fee associated (this includes $20 for the uniform and ID, as well as the cost for basic teaching materials). On a situation to situation basis, Kelvin has been accepting some of these youth anyway, and has had them doing volunteer work (such as janitorial and security) to compensate for the cost of their classes. We hope our fundraising efforts, which are currently being constructed, will help to resolve this matter as well.

Below are photos from today’s meeting:

Cynthia Asante (far left), Kelvin Fomba with Godfrey Solomon and Roseline Sonday (middle), and Anna Bertch (far right) all called in via Google Hangout.

Adam Pederson (far left), Miriam Monono (middle left), Philip Kaleewoun II (middle right), Dianne Anastos (far right), and Heather Cannon-Winkleman (not pictured) met in Minnesota.

We thank you for being our Star Supporter; it’s an honor to have you walk this journey right along with us!


Anna Bertch, Youth Board Member