Hands Across the Sea, Inc.
November 1, 2012
Hands Across the Sea is an amazing organization. I have had the privilege of working with them for the last 3 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer, working at a Primary School in Grenada. Through Hands Across the Sea, we were able to receive some much-needed books and school supplies. Tom, Harriet, and the rest of their staff work dilgently with PCVs and school staff to ensure that the needs of the school are met. It is clear that everyone on the staff at HAS has a passion for improving literacy in the Caribbean. The staff work alongside PCVs and school staff, each step of the way- helping to create specific wish lists, assisting with fundraising stateside, shipping down materials and assisting with delivery, creating thank you notes for donors, doing follow-up visits to Caribbean schools to ensure that schools are happy with their donations and able to utilize the materials, etc. Literacy and the availabilty of good reading materials is a big issue in the Caribbean. Most of the children at my rural school in Grenada would not have had access to reading books at all if it had not been for Hands Across the Sea. I'd like to share an anecdote that really shows how much these kids love the books they've received. Most of the children in my school love the library (which I created from the HAS donations) and are constantly asking to come in at lunch time or after school to read books and play games. However, there's a boy in Grade 6, who is without a doubt the All-Star of the library. Everyday, he takes home a new book (or two) and has it read by the next morning. In class, he's known to be reading during lessons with his book secretly tucked under the desk. Lunchtime, breaktime, after school, you can find him seated quietly in the library, completely engrossed in a book and oblivious to everything going on around him. On my last day at the school, they had a special good-bye assembly for me. As part of the assembly, students were given an opportunity to share a memory with the staff and students about my time at the school. A lot of students came up and thanked me for the library. Then our Library All-Star stepped up on the stage, took the mike, and looked at me. Tears started streaming from his eyes as he thanked me for the library and all of the books. The courage it took for this boy to get up in front of all his peers, thank me for the books and shed tears of gratitude really made it drive home how much the books have made a difference in these kids lives. We never could have done it without Hands Across the Sea.
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Hands Across the Sea, Inc.
April 27, 2011
I am a Peace Corps Volunteer living and working in Grenada, a small island in the Eastern Caribbean. I had the privilege of working with Hands Across the Sea this past year. I had requested books for 2 of my worksites- the Roving Caregivers Programme and Corinth Government Primary School. I realized that I was probably asking a lot but put the request in anyhow. To my surprise, and the delight of 200 school children, seventeen boxes of books were donated to my organizations. Not only were these free books we were receiving...but they were free books, in great condition that were catered to the requested age and subject levels. Harriet and T.L also worked closely with us to ensure that all books were delivered safely and accounted for. Everything went perfectly and the kids loved the books, which Harriet and T.L. were able to see when they came to visit the school a few months ago. While visiting, they offered helpful tips about how to set up a school library (which were appreciated since I have never undertaken a project like this before) and volunteered to come help (and recruit fellow boaters) in the monotonous task of tagging books. I can honestly say that Hands Across the Sea does great work and I don't have a single complaint. The books they donated have had a huge impact on the kids at my school and the kids are incredibly excited to have books at their disposal. I am looking forward to working with Hands Across the Sea again in the near future.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
my everyday work. In the Caribbean, especially in rural villages like mine, most children donot own books because they are very expensive down here. In addition, most schools do not have libraries for the same reason. As a result, many children do not have an opportunity to read books (other than textbooks) for fun and often struggle with reading. Hands Across the Sea works to address a great need in the Caribbean.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
not change a thing...in complete honesty
Client Served & I requested books from the organization to be donated to a local school in Grenada.