2015 Reflection While Welcoming 2016

2015 Reflection While Welcoming 2016

We owe a debt of gratitude to all our STAR Supporters for making 2015 a successful year! Your generosity, kindness and prayers uplifted Liberian youth through the remaining days of the Ebola crisis, and inspired them to reach new heights with learning and skill building opportunities we provided throughout the year. Uniting Distant Stars (UDS) made great leaps with becoming an accredited and registered non-government organization in Liberia, and establishing our base in Monrovia. It took all of you–our village–to raise UDS up during the last 365 days.

We SINCERELY THANK YOU for:

Backpacks for Peace Service Learning Project: From February to June, 20 youth were trained how to operate a sewing machine, stitch together recycled drinking water plastic sachets into 150 backpacks, and appreciate the value of creativity and innovation.

  

Nobel Peace Prize Youth Forum Google Hangout: On March 6, 50 Liberian youth virtually connected with their Minnesota peers to listen to Nobel Laureate, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), share their mission of eliminating and preventing the use of chemical weapons.

  

Scholarships: On March 2, 15 students started the 2014/2015 shortened school year that ended in July. In September 16 students started the 2015/2016 regular academic year with two preparing to graduate from high school around July.

5th Annual School Supply Drive: In September and October, about 700 students enrolled in three schools received much needed school supplies to start their 2015/2016 academic year on the right track.

Learning Center: Starting September, 40 to 50 youth visited our center after school each day to either work on their assignments or participate in our study classes. Our center provides what most schools lack: a library, science equipment, and tutoring support.

  

We are INFINITELY THANKFUL for Miracles, like the unexpected delivery of the 2014 school supply drive in August that made it possible for us to expand from one to three schools and equip our learning center.

We are EXTREMELY THANKFUL for the creative talents of some our supporters to helped establish our brand, visualize our presence, and develop our projects.

  

Anna Berch: She created, edited, and filmed our PSA video. Also, she has made updates to our website.

Kevin Cannon: He nominated for me for the Minnesota Lynx Inspiring Women Platform that I received on July 12. This helped increase our visibility.

Rochelle Gibbs: She created, filmed and edited the video from the Minnesota Lynx Game that features interviews and highlights of my honor as a Minnesota Lynx Inspiring Woman.

Joyce Mallery: She fixed our logo, created my UDS T-shirt to wear while being honored as Inspiring Women at the Minnesota Lynx Game, and designed our brochure and flyers.

Mary Rosendahl: She continues to lead our Recipes for Learning Cookbook team. She tested more recipes for the team members to taste, and documented and photographed the ones that passed.

Rodney Johnson: He ensured our connection with each Google Hangout and provided photos, videos and stories of our activities in Liberia throughout the year.

We give a HEARTFELT THANKS to all of you supporting UDS as donors, board members, volunteers, partners, prayer warriors, and Sundance Family Foundation for giving us our first grant of $3,000 for our Backpacks for Peace project!!!

Books on Shelves Advances Learning of Children

There are many things we are grateful for as we reflect on what we accomplished in 2015. There is no doubt our success is your success, because we are UNITED together to support young STARS in Liberia. We are extremely thankful for the additional $110 donated on Giving Tuesday
to upgrade our learning center. We currently have raised $250 or 10% towards our goal of providing quality after school programming to future educators, entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders in Liberia. Your
investment in the UDS Learning Center yields a lasting return for the children and youth we serve.

UDS Learning Center Library in Liberia.
Today I read this New York Times article “Our (Bare) Shelves, Our Selves” from December 5 that supports our initiative. It highlights how a
physical book is essential to advancing a child’s learning development as cited below.

After G.N.P., the quantity of books in one’s home was the most important predictor of reading performance. The greatest effect was seen in libraries of about 100 books, which resulted in approximately 1.5 extra years of grade-level reading performance. (Diminishing returns kick in at about 500 books, which is the equivalent of about 2.2 extra years of education.)

Libraries matter even more than money; in the United States, with the size of libraries being equal, students coming from the top 10 percent of wealthiest families performed at just one
extra grade level over students from the poorest 10 percent.

Books donated and shipped from Minnesota in 2014 that are now on library shelves in Liberia.
Most children in Liberia grow up without books in their homes or libraries in their communities. Uniting Distant Stars Learning Center is filling this critical void in the community we serve. We currently have about 100 books on our shelves varying in topics from math to science, and cultural literature to young readers series. Our youth compiled a list of books required in their classes, but not available in their schools or affordable to their parents.  Also, they asked for other materials such as chairs, tables, computers, etc. to improve their overall
learning experience.

Liberian student working on his homework on the porch of UDS Learning Center
A $10 minimal investment towards a child’s education can make all the difference in their academic achievements and career aspirations. Please help us meet our goal of $2,500 to fulfill our youth’s wishes during this season of giving by clicking DONATE for debit/credit cards or contributing by check to Uniting Distant Stars and mail at:

Uniting Distant Stars
4010 Lawndale LN N
Plymouth, MN 55446

Sincerest gratitude and appreciation for your continued generosity, kindness, and prayers for our youth in Liberia!

Uniting Distant Stars Learning Center | GiveMN
Books on Shelves Advances Learning of Children

Books on Shelves Advances Learning of Children

There are many things we are grateful for as we reflect on what we accomplished in 2015. There is no doubt our success is your success, because we are UNITED together to support young STARS in Liberia. We are extremely thankful for the additional $110 donated on Giving Tuesday
to upgrade our learning center. We currently have raised $250 or 10% towards our goal of providing quality after school programming to future educators, entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders in Liberia. Your
investment in the UDS Learning Center yields a lasting return for the children and youth we serve.

UDS Learning Center Library in Liberia.
Today I read this New York Times article “Our (Bare) Shelves, Our Selves” from December 5 that supports our initiative. It highlights how a
physical book is essential to advancing a child’s learning development as cited below.

After G.N.P., the quantity of books in one’s home was the most important predictor of reading performance. The greatest effect was seen in libraries of about 100 books, which resulted in approximately 1.5 extra years of grade-level reading performance. (Diminishing returns kick in at about 500 books, which is the equivalent of about 2.2 extra years of education.)

Libraries matter even more than money; in the United States, with the size of libraries being equal, students coming from the top 10 percent of wealthiest families performed at just one
extra grade level over students from the poorest 10 percent.

Books donated and shipped from Minnesota in 2014 that are now on library shelves in Liberia.
Most children in Liberia grow up without books in their homes or libraries in their communities. Uniting Distant Stars Learning Center is filling this critical void in the community we serve. We currently have about 100 books on our shelves varying in topics from math to science, and cultural literature to young readers series. Our youth compiled a list of books required in their classes, but not available in their schools or affordable to their parents.  Also, they asked for other materials such as chairs, tables, computers, etc. to improve their overall
learning experience.

Liberian student working on his homework on the porch of UDS Learning Center
A $10 minimal investment towards a child’s education can make all the difference in their academic achievements and career aspirations. Please help us meet our goal of $2,500 to fulfill our youth’s wishes during this season of giving by clicking DONATE for debit/credit cards or contributing by check to Uniting Distant Stars and mail at:

Uniting Distant Stars
4010 Lawndale LN N
Plymouth, MN 55446

Sincerest gratitude and appreciation for your continued generosity, kindness, and prayers for our youth in Liberia!

Uniting Distant Stars Learning Center | GiveMN