Your Tailoring Student Giving Back

Your Tailoring Student Giving Back

Annita Johnney

You know your giving matters when a recipient pays it forward. During the early part of August, we started making masks for students. One of your graduates, Annita Johnney along with her instructor, Jerry Paypay, made over 500 masks. In fact, they used Kelvin Fomba’s (Liberian Co-Founder & Director) design he developed back in May.

Additionally, the funds used for this project were part of an employer matching gift. During our COVID-19 fundraiser, a $250 donation turned into a $500 matching gift. When the $500 arrived in late July, we immediately applied it to this project.

Finally, these photos show how your generosity inspired Annita to give back. The academic students started wearing theirs in August. We hope the vocational students will wear theirs later this month. Thank you for helping a graduate Pay it forward!

Your graduate , Annita busy making masks for Uniting Distant Stars Students.
Your Seventh Grade Students wearing their masks made by Annita Johnney.
Meet Volunteer, Mckenna Schmidt!

Meet Volunteer, Mckenna Schmidt!

Volunteers near and far help Uniting Distant Stars stay on course in serving children and youth in Liberia. Mckenna Schmidt is one of those amazing volunteers who joined our team in April as an editor and writer. She was highly recommended by our board member, Anna Bertch. She is interested in helping write content to update our website and use her talents to help our youth in Liberia wherever else she can.

Mckenna started her senior year at Wayzata High School and is eager to pursue college after graduation. Here is her bio on why she joined UDS and her hopes for the future:

When I first found out about Uniting Distant Stars, I was not only inspired by their dedication to their mission and their amazing vocational training program but also how much they care about not only giving Liberian youth a voice but all youth. I now help edit and write newsletters put out by UDS, and I hope to one day pursue a career as a lawyer. I love that UDS gives me the opportunity to be involved in supporting these Liberian youth while using my skills and talents.

We are grateful for Mckenna’s dedication and support as a volunteer. Thank you so much, Mckenna, for your great work!

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!

Benefits of Volunteering

Benefits of Volunteering

Written by Sonal Suri, UDS Volunteer Bookkeeper
I live in Denver, Colorado and have a degree in Accounting from the University of Mumbai in India. I am a mother of two children. My eldest is a freshman in college, and my youngest is a freshman in high school. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking and socializing with my friends and family. I applied for a volunteering Position as a bookkeeper at UDS through Within a week, I spoke with Heather to talk about my background and she explained the UDS cause. This volunteer opportunity is a great experience for me to learn how to work in a nonprofit organization that operates in two countries.

In March 2017, I started Volunteering at UDS. I recorded and posted entries, generated Profit & Loss statements, prepared balance sheets, and created budgets and reconciled the accounts.  I was also exposed to areas of Accounting that were new to me and gave me confidence in my abilities. Due to Heather’s patient guidance and mentorship, I landed a position in Accounting in a prestigious business services company in December 2017. It is an honor for me to contribute and support the cause between both countries.

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