Hands Across the Sea has been a total pleasure to work with. As a Peace Corps volunteer, I first heard of their organization from the favorable, word-of-mouth reputation they have developed from working with other volunteers in the Eastern Caribbean region. Harriet and Tom provide an exceptional service to us PC volunteers and it is more comprehensive than just the delivering of books. At first they shared with me a neat method for managing my library and provided me with a small grant to purchase the resources to kick start it without even me asking first. Then of course came the fundraising which proceeded terrifically. We were able to raise the funds to purchase approximately 800 new and gently used books for our school library. Needless to say, this created boundless excitement among the students and staff. Throughout the process Harriet and Tom were at the tip of my fingers, so to speak, because if I ever needed to send them an email or make a phone call, they typically respond immediately. I've always felt that they've had my back as a PCV. Harriet and Tom are hard working, innovative, and exceptionally personable. You don't find too many people in the world who are easier to work with than the folks at Hands Across the Sea. We've also managed to meet in person on multiple occasions; they are very generous with their time. In the end, Hands Across the Sea provides a service with dedication and originality that fits oh so well with our roles as Peace Corps volunteers. I am very grateful to have been able to work with Hands Across the Sea.
Hello, I am Norma-Jean Arey, a Peace Corps volunteer on the Caribbean Island of Antigua. I am developing a literacy/library for St. Mary's Secondary and New Winthorpes Primary.
I found out about Hands Across the Sea from another volunteer on another island. Two other volunteers and I contacted Harriet and TL and their response was immediate. They met with the three of us and not only gave us the information on how they could be of service to us, they were enthusiastic and encouraging about what we were doing. They were and still are great cheerleaders!
In the short time of eight months Hands Across the Sea has provided funds for painting. They have aleady provided books and shipped them through a partnership with Mill Reef Club here on the island.
The excitement and interest by the students and teachers in the literacy/library has increased tremendously due to new paint and new books. The students took a great interest in helping with the painting. They were not coereced - they volunteered. It was a wonderful fun two days. We only had two whole gallons of paint (oil based and acrylic) knocked over! This is quite remarkable considering how many students came to help.Since then students casually drop by during breaks and lunch and peruse the books or sit and chat.
Another fantastic quality of Harriet and TL is that they are so accessible. Whenever I have called with a question or a need they get back to me very quickly. Even better - they are (in good old southern terms) just right good folks.
This job would have been very daunting and almost impossible if it had not been for the help and support of Hands Across the Sea.
It is the donations of books and materials from Hands across the Seas that empowered the Stephanie Browne Primary School on Union Island, The Grenadines, St.Vincent; to improve its level of reading skills among our students. It also helped to improve The Schools Reading Programme and aloow students to borrow books every week. Thanks and the staff and students are proud of your efforts in donating to our future generation.
Hands Across the Sea is a dedicated organization to helping children in the Caribbean increase their reading interest and ability. They were wonderful in gathering books for our secondary school where many of the students are behind in literacy. We are working on a school library and they have supplied us with so many great books for the students. Thank you for all the hard work to all the staff and especially Harriet and Tom!
The level of personal dedication and passion demonstrated by Harriet and TL was truly inspiring. I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Dominica from 2009-2011. I heard about Hands Across the Sea from fellow Volunteers who had tremendously positive experiences with them. They personally visited all the schools the worked with. I was very excited when I learned they were going to be visiting the primary school in the village of Penville, where I worked. They spoke at length with the principal of the school, displaying a level of diligence and attentiveness to the specific needs and circumstances of the school, visited the different classrooms, spoke with teachers and students, and did everything one could do to get a solid picture of how they could assist Penville Primary. Kitchen supplies such as bowls and forks were purchased immediately. The level of accountability that Hands Across the Sea brings to their work is uncanny and rare in the development world. You want to help kids read in the Caribbean? Hands is the way to go.
We at the Trafalgar Primary School in the Commonwealth of Dominica are very grateful for Harriet and Hands Across the Sea. We designed and organized a Reading Room at the school in 2010, to improve the literacy levels among our students. It took quite a lot of fund-raising activities to organize this Reading Room. At the end we had very few books which we sought from some donors.
However, while our staff was at a workshop on 17th February 2010, with teachers from neighboring schools creating some Literacy Learning Centers, I met with Harriet Linskey and heard more about Hands Across the Sea. I knew a little about the organization from a news report, on our local radio station. I then invited her to our school to see what could be done for us regarding our project. She came in with her husband Tom on 21st April 2010 and saw the Reading Room with the few books which we had and decided to assist us. She worked with a Peace Corps Volunteer who assisted at the school and asked us for a wish-list. We did send this wish list and much to our surprise we received more than we expected. On 22nd November 2010 we received eight boxes of supplies including 566 books and other school supplies. There was a box of books for boys which is is very useful, since many boys are underachieving. Now our Reading Room is well stocked with books and staff and students alike make good use of them. Some books have also been placed in the School Library, Class libraries and some are used as resource materials for the teachers.
The other school resources are quite useful to us, since we are a small, rural, multigrade school. We also received a printer which came in at an opportune time, because we had no operational printer at the school. This printer came with a number of ink cartridges, so we do not have to buy in the near future. Now the staff prints class activities, assessments, homework, letters and other school documents. Students are eager to come in the room to read presently.
We thank God for the resources which we received from Hands Across the Sea. Without this organization it would have been very difficult for us to stock the Reading Room and we would not have been able to obtain what we have now.
I rate Hands Across the Sea as an outstanding nonprofit organization, which should continue its great work.
While serving as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Dominica in 2010, I met Harriet and TL at my village primary school. They were professional and compassionate. They took the time to sit down with the teachers and me to help us identify needs and explained the process clearly. While the donations were being gathered back in the U.S., they kept in frequent contact and when the supplies arrived on island it was beyond what we could've imagined in both quality and quantity. The process went so smoothly and important books and school supplies got into the hands of those who need them most. Hands Across the Sea cares deeply about the students and teachers it serves in the Caribbean as well as its contributors and actively shows donors where their money or in-kind support goes.
I was a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Grenada from 2009-2011. During my service I heard about Hands Across the Sea and the amazing work they were doing by providing books and materials to students in the Eastern Caribbean so I decided to contact them. Since my first enquiry, Harriet and T.L. had been so welcoming and attentive to the needs of the school I was working with. The Hands Across the Sea team did a tremendous job finding and supplying my school with over 800 books and 3 boxes of office supplies! With those books, we were able to create a 'first-ever' library at my school!
I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in St Vincent and the Grenadines from 2008-2010, and I heard about Hands Across the Sea from our Country Director in the Eastern Caribbean. I got in contact with the organization to see if they could help me with some grant writing and also to build a better collection of books at the secondary school where I worked. I can not say enough good things about Hands Across the Sea, and its cofounder, Harriet. She was so helpful and took so much interest in the work I was doing at my school. From the beginning, she seemed genuinely concerned not only with sending supplies but making local contacts and figuring out exactly what each school in St Vincent really needed. So many nonprofits that work in other countries have the best of intentions, but don't succeed because they never make a real connection with the people they are serving. This organization is different -- with a focus on supporting schools in the Caribbean in a sustainable way. Additionally, the books that we received were amazing -- box after box packed with current, popular young adult fiction, in great condition. Previous to receiving books from Hands, I also received books from two other nonprofits. The books that were donated to my school by Hands were by far the best quality. I really was so pleased with my experience working with Hands Across the Sea and I know that they will do great work in the Caribbean for years to come.
The Isaiah Thomas Secondary school is one of the secondary schools on the island of Dominica that has benefited tremendously from the outstretched Hands Across The Sea. We have seen the construction and refurbishment of A literacy centre which brought about a revived interest in reading among the students. the construction of shelves helped increase storage space in the library and literacy centre. The Lindskeys have been so generous and gracious that they have been welcomed at the school as family members. They are very warm and hard working individuals who have given their time, money and expertise in enhancing and advancing our educational goals. we appreciate and welcome their efforts and willingness to help us purchase some of the furniture and equipments needed to run a successful literacy programme. Considering the limited resources at the school I can safely say that without the contributions form "Hands Across the Sea" we would not have made the strides that we boast of today. so as the Principal of the school I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the organization for their intervention in our school life. Thank you 'Hands Across the Sea".
Hands Across the Sea is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhance literacy in the Caribbean. Due to the economic situation, many of our primary schools lack the necessary resources needed for children to succeed. Hands Across saw the need and decided to be proactive. They have provided lots of reading material and school resources to a number of primary and secondary schools in Dominica. They have also assisted in repairing libraries, building bookcases and furniture for secondary, primary and pre-schools. Some of the things I love most about this organization are 1. They visit the schools regularly and actually do the building, repairing and monitoring of material given to schools, to ensure they are put to good use. 2. They recruit other volunteers from the USA who are visiting the island to come in to give assistance. 3. The founders are very humble and passionate about what they do. They have sacrificed their time and talents to help.
I have worked personally with the donors and also received educational material from them which I have used with teachers during workshops. I have learnt a lot from the sacrifices made by them. I have also had first hand experiences of the high quality of work they do voluntarily. This is the best NGO I have personally come across.
Thank you Hands Across the Sea. I pray that many persons will see the great work you are doing and support you. Our children need you. Thank you and God bless you Tom and Harriet and all those who will continue to give to your organization. I pray that you will see the fruits of your labor.
Ministry of Education
I met Harriet and T.L. when they visited St. Vincent in February 2011 during their tour of the Eastern Caribbean for their non-profit Hands Across the Sea. They are both incredibly passionate about the work they are doing, and the way they have managed to marry their love for sailing and community outreach is one uniquely inspiring story! Harriet and T.L. work with local partners in communities throughout the Eastern Caribbean region to deliver high-quality books to school library projects. In a region where illiteracy rates are a predominant social issue, the resources they are able to provide, and the partnerships they are creating with schools, principals, community leaders, government officials, and Peace Corps Volunteers are proving to make a significant impact in the lives of the children in these countries. Hands Across the Sea donated 15 boxes of books and school supplies to Chateaubelair Methodist School in St. Vincent, as well as assisted in the shipment of over 40 boxes of books collected by a previous volunteer. Harriet has also been instrumental in facilitating promising connections with various contacts to help further my personal projects with Peace Corps focused on promoting literacy. Hands Across the Sea is an amazing organization and I look forward to following the good work they continue to do!
Hands Across the Sea ("Hands") delivers tremendous value for children and overall literacy needs in the Caribbean. My family volunteered recently in Dominica for several days and was able to experience first-hand the difference that a caring & focused organization can make. The founders and principals of Hand, Harriet & TL, work tirelessly across a wide range of activities. They do everything from raising $ to buy books & supplies, to delivering the goods (books, school supplies, etc.) to local schools & libraries, to painting classrooms & building bookshelves. Our children, ages 9 & 11, found their experience with Hands to be a true highlight, and they left Dominica with a much greater appreciation of how their efforts can truly make a difference in children & families lives.
I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in St. Lucia. Hands Across the Sea was fundamental in the completion of my main project. I helped develop two Primary School libraries. I created a catalog system, organized everything, and started a checkout routine with the students. My libraries had very few child friendly books and those they had were in poor condition. Hands was able to get us 8 boxes of child friendly, relevant, great quality books per school. They were easy to communicate with and both of my schools were overwhelmed with the extent of our new book collections. Hands was able to navigate around the shipping and customs very smoothly. They run a wonderful, NEEDED, program. Books are hard to come by in the Caribbean and children often do not grow up with the pleasure of reading in their lives. Now the children in the two schools I worked with are literally racing to the library to get their next book.
Harriet Linskey called me at my school in St. David, Grenada just eight months into my 2-year Peace Corps service. I was at a school with no special ed. teacher and I was busy conducting remedial literacy pull-outs for half of the week with the slower students. I had no curriculum and no beginner-level books. I told Harriet in our conversation that we needed leveled, Basal readers for my students in addition to some bright, new titles to share with the teachers. Hurricane Ivan came through in 2004 and destroyed whatever library was in existence before and 6 years later, there had been no attempt to make it new again. Most of the students would have read through their teacher's limited, classroom libraries and most of the titles had faded and were really worn or outdated.
In response to our request, Harriet, T.L., and the Hands team set us up on their website and shipped us 6-7 boxes of books of those titles I had requested, including some beautiful, donated books from partnering organizations and BRAND NEW books. Students flooded my room every day at recess wanting to get their paws on the illustrated titles, having never seen such pretty pictures!
Due to the large amount we received, I took it upon myself to begin establishing the new library, from scratch. When Harriet and T.L. visited Grenada early in the year, our school had only managed to get a hold of some donated wood for shelving but we were still lacking funds to finish the empty room and make it library-worthy. They saw our plight and Hands donated enough money to paint the floor and walls, catalog each book and assign a hand-made envelope and card to each, laminate wall decor, and stain our shelves. It was incredible how much more inviting the room looked after we were finished. Hands even lent us rollers, tarps and trays so we could get the job done.
As a Peace Corps volunteer, partnering with Hands Across the Sea has been both a privilege and a joy. They really helped get things going, especially after community resources had already been donated and funds were stretched thin. Their purpose is really worth while, as most schools similar to those in Grenada and across the Caribbean, have students learning to read from a chalk board and not from a story book. Reading out loud is rarely practiced and children are not exposed to a world of literature from an early age.