Your Copy of the 2015/2016 Annual Report is Here

Your Copy of the 2015/2016 Annual Report is Here

As an all-volunteer organization, we are grateful for all those who contributed to our final 2015/2016 Annual Report. This report will give you an:
  • Overview of our project during this two-year period; 
  • Inspirational testimonials from four of our students;
  • Summary of the financial report showcasing how your support made a difference;
  • And much more.
Please enjoy reading what YOUour valued Star Supporter, accomplished for the youth of Liberia. Thank you for your generous support!

2015-2016 Annual Report

School Supply Distribution & New Learning Center

School Supply Distribution & New Learning Center

Can you hear it? Our joyful children and youth in Liberia are singing their praises and thanks to you! They are so grateful to you for raising $3,500 in this year’s school supply drive, from both our annual campaign and our Dimes for Dreams promotion. Through your unfailing support, we raised 50% of our goal, and this will put needed school supplies in the hands of young children. Our Liberian team worked with all three schools on how to give each one of the 700 students supplies, because no one wants a young child to go home empty handed!
Here is the schedule for the distribution of your generous gift to these children:
  • October 23: Rogma International School in Paynesville will host their program for students to receive their supplies. (Photos & stories will be posted soon).
  • October 29: City of Joy & Russ Wood students & parents are invited to attend UDS Learning Center Grand Opening Program In Divine Town Community to receive their supplies and learn about our programs. 
Your faith and commitment to our cause empowered our team in Liberia to complete the painting of the building and move into to our new site. One of our long-time donors provided a donation to install electricity in our new learning center. We opened to students over a week ago. While the building serves the students with their educational and vocational training needs, we will continue to solicit funds to finish the renovations, pay the remaining portion of the lease, buy needed equipment and supplies, and provide salaries.
This building has transformed since we first introduced it in our post “Reaching New Heights for Liberia’s Children and Youth” to our recent one “Building Community One Star at a Time“. Please enjoy the latest photos showing the exterior painting, new lights, and students utilizing our facility!

You empower youth! Roseline (left) and Princess (right) volunteered to paint the building. 
Clockwise Upper left: Josh, Kelvin Fomba (UDS Co-Founder), Patrick & Princess. 
Kelvin (right) completing the final touches of the building.
Inside the main hall with its new lights. 
The other side of the main hall. 
This leads to the door of the registration office. 
You inspire excellence! Young students receiving help with their homework.
One of our teachers providing a study class for young students. 
Another teaching holding a study class for older students.
Students learning how to use the computer.
Computers students learning the how to use basic software programs.
Your compassionate service to the children & youth in Liberia is providing them with the knowledge & supplies they need to succeed in their academic studies. We give you our whole-hearted “Thank You!” for making this all possible!

You received a Thank You from Liberia

You received a Thank You from Liberia

Uniting Distant Stars Liberian Co-Founder and Country Director Kelvin Fomba has a message to share to You, our valued Star Supporter.
Hello, UDS Team in the U.S. and around the world. First of all, we say, “thanks and appreciation for your wonderful support!” The Liberia Team has worked nonstop with the renovations because our old learning center can no longer accommodate the 250-plus students from around the city seeking our study classes. All schools are open right now, so the kids and youth are eager to start their study classes at our new learning center. Therefore, our volunteers and youth have joined hands to work hard at the new learning by cleaning, painting, and other finishing work in some parts of the building. 
Here are photos showing some of our scholarship students–Blessing, Deborah, Ishmael, Korlu, Korlu (yes there are two), and Rita–cleaning the floor along with one of their classmates.
Young Liberians showing their appreciation for your amazing support by cleaning the floor of our new learning center.
These young ladies are using brooms and rags to remove the white wash paint from the floor.
Your steadfast generosity give students like Rita a reason to smile while she works.
Your kindness and support provides hope to our youth that they will go the extra mile to prepare our learning center for opening.
Your compassion for Uniting Distant Stars youth empowers them to work together to clean their new learning center. 
Please stay tuned for our next update showing the slow but steady transformation of our new learning center.

You are appreciated and praised by our youth and volunteers in Liberia for making their lives better! 

Thank you for being a Super Star!

Read Reaching New Heights for Liberia’s Children and Youth to learn more. 

Introducing UDS Learning Center 2.0

Introducing UDS Learning Center 2.0

Liberian children and youth witnessed their wishes being answered in the past two weeks. Uniting Distant Stars (UDS) raised $2,042 (shy of our $2,500 goal) from our generous Star Supporters to upgrade our Learning Center in Congo Town, Liberia. Our Liberian team led by Kelvin Fomba, Co-Founder and Country Director, went the extra mile to check off the items on the students’ original wish list. In the last eight days another $360 was donated from new and existing benevolent supporters. Their gracious generosity will buy other items on the list such as fans to keep the center comfortable, additional books for the library, chalk board for instructors, and other crucial needs for its operations.

Like any good upgrade you need to have a release party. On Friday March 25, UDS Learning Center hosted two programs. The first one was organized by the UDS Youth Group. Since it was Good Friday, they focused on Easter. During this three-hour program they talked about the meaning of Easter, played some games, and also had a Bible quizzing contest between the boys and girls. They had two rounds with each having 20 questions and one question was worth 10 points. The boys and girls tied in the first round. However, in the second round the boys out scored the girls 120 to 80. Our Youth Group’s program was a resounding success and everyone had a great time.

Youth Groups Program
UDS Youth Bible Quizzing Contest
The second program followed soon after to introduce our youth to the new UDS Computer Lab. They have eagerly waited for this lab ever since we started the upgrade campaign last year. The original plan was to have four computers, but Kelvin reached out to his connections and helped secure six used PCs–four laptops and two desktops. He is still negotiating on adding one or two more computers. Our team also built computer desks and bought a stabilizer to protect the PCs from power surges and outages, because electricity is neither consistent nor reliable. Another stabilizer will be purchased with the recent donations to ensure the electrical load is distributed evenly.

UDS Computer Lab
Our team expected 25 to 30 young Liberians to attend this three-hour program, but it attracted over 50. Computer training is in high demand with Liberian youth, but not everyone can afford to take courses at vocational training schools. This is why our team went all out in preparing the lab and its introduction program.
Kelvin Fomba introducing the computer lab.
Kelvin opened with how the computer lab will operate and its corresponding rules. Next part was to determine who would be the first recipients of this training course. Kelvin and his volunteers devised a raffle drawing to select trainees since there was a ratio of approximately four students to one computer. Our youth anxiously waited to hear who were the lucky winners as each name was pulled. Soon twelve students were chosen to attend one of two classes, because we wanted to accommodate as many as possible.
Liberian Youth learning about the new UDS Computer Lab
The students will learn about computer hardware, basic software and internet functions in this month-long course. Other students wanting to attend this course signed up on a list and will participate in computer theory classes as they wait their turn for the practical training. The training materials and curriculum for this program are being developed by our volunteers in Liberia and Minnesota.
UDS Youth learning about computers.
First Students of the UDS Computer Lab
Another part of the upgrade included expanding our library collection. On Monday March 14, two of our youth volunteers, Patrick and Princess, purchased 52 books from the list of requested titles and topics from our students. These books are required by their schools as part of the curriculum. Though our volunteers bought 80% of the books requested by the students, their list continues to grow. Eventually, we like to purchase additional copies of the main books to allow more than one student to use for their homework assignments.
Additional books purchased for the library
UDS Youth appreciating the new books.
The following day these new books were included in our studying classes. There are two objectives with these study classes as follows:

  1. Students are asked a series of questions about the subject(s) and topic(s) for their assignments and are then shown how to find books in the library and search for the information within the book.
  2. Students are given detailed instruction from one of volunteer teachers on a particular subject area that they are working on at school to help bolster their understanding and ability to apply it in their homework and exams.
Students receiving a tour of  the UDS library. 
UDS first opened our learning center over a year ago with a small library and providing skills training courses such as auto mechanics, drivers ed and Backpacks for Peace. In September 2015, it had its first upgrade with building extra shelves for additional books donated from the U.S. and more tables for students to complete their homework. This second upgrade was centered on the requests of our students to best meet their educational needs since their schools are not able to provide the required books and textbooks or computer labs. Through our growing community of bighearted supporters, our students are extremely grateful and overjoyed with seeing their wishes being fulfilled.

All of us at Uniting Distant Stars extend our heartfelt Thanks and Appreciation to our most generous Star Supporters!

Please read these additional posts about our learning center.

  • Enjoy a Tour of the UDS Learning Center in Liberia
  • Liberia: Read How UDS Learning Center Benefits Deborah
    • Unlock Challenge Grant for Learning Center in Liberia

      Unlock Challenge Grant for Learning Center in Liberia

      Double your gift’s impact by unlocking a $250 challenge grant from a generous donor for our Learning Center in Liberia. We have raised $1,407.34 (56%) towards our $2,500 goal to buy additional books for the library, extra tables and chairs for the students, provide a computer lab and additional learning resources. By investing as little as $10.00 today, you will respond to the requests of ambitious Liberian students seeking to improve their future prospects.

      It was roughly a year ago when we first opened the learning center with limited resources as shown below.

      Eight months later we made the first upgrade with donated library books, a science kit and microscope from the miraculous delivery of our 2014 supplies in August 2015. This prompted our Liberian team to build bookshelves and tables to accommodate students. 

      One month later the schools opened for the new academic year in September 2015. The center soon attracted children and youth from the community attending different schools to take advantage of its resources and participate in our study classes.

        

      Starting in March 2016, we will implement the next upgrade envisioned by our students. Your contribution will buy the books they are required to read, add a computer lab to teach them basic skills, and provide other educational materials to assist with their studies.

      You can be part of their vision by donating at least $10 today to unlock the challenge grant. Plus if you give more, we will honor your kindness and generosity as follows:

      1. Receive a personalized Thank You letter (scanned copy) from one of our students in Liberia for donations of $50 or more.
      2. Have your name displayed on a plaque located in our learning center in Liberia for donations of $100 or more along with the personalized Thank you letter.
      Please contribute by credit or debit card by clicking the DONATE BUTTON below.

      Uniting Distant Stars Learning Center | GiveMN

      Or by check payable to Uniting Distant Stars and mail to:

      Uniting Distant Stars
      4010 Lawndale LN N
      Plymouth, MN 55446

      Your tax-deductible contribution is a key to unlock the challenge grant and the hidden potential of Liberian students. Thank you for your generous support!

      Read other blog posts about our learning center:

      1. Enjoy a Tour of the UDS Learning Center in Liberia
      2. Liberia: Read How UDS Learning Center Benefits Deborah