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Hands Across the Sea, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Libraries, Literacy, Remedial Reading & Encouragement

Mission: Hands Across the Sea is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization dedicated to raising the literacy levels of Caribbean children by assisting schools and libraries in Eastern Caribbean communities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 25,000+ students at 100+ schools

Geographic areas served: Eastern Caribbean

Programs: Hands Across the Sea's Caribbean Literacy and School Support (CLASS) Program has shipped over 265,170 new amazing books to 422 primary and secondary schools and libraries on Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada, giving 74,000 children access to age-appropriate, culturally- appropriate top-quality reading material.

Community Stories

124 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

judy

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hands Across the Sea has been helping our Dominican schools for the past several years by providing books, shelves and refurbishing.
I met Harriet and Tom when they first came to Dominica and was impressed with their philosophy and care for the youth.
When a child learns to read their whole world opens to knowledge. Knowledge is the key to success.
New books and brightly painted furnishings, walls and floors make a library come alive and inviting to children whose culture is illiterate.
Harriet and Tom are easy to contact and listen to all requests. They have done a fantastic job building and restoring libraries for nearly the whole island.
We are truly appreciative for all their efforts.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Harriet and Bob are wonderful people to work with. They visited our Morne Jaune Primary library to access our needs but found that we were in pretty good shape compared to most other schools. They still offered to help us procure any books that the principal and teachers felt necessary.
Although the shelves were packed many of the books were very old and not appropriate. Our teachers wanted more readers for the lower levels and I knew we needed more reference books.
Hands Across the Sea has a donation program that allows family and friends to also donate. A friend sent in funds via Paypal to "Hands". I was given Scholastic's discount code and allowed to go "spend" the funds on books we wanted.
We received two boxes of books that really made a difference in all the classrooms. These books did not make it to the library, they were divided up among the six grades.
Now they have offered to help with Castle Bruce Secondary. Another teacher and I began renovating an old classroom, setting up shelves and cleaning old books. Harriet and Bob visited us and have initiated the process to assist in obtaining the books needed.
Hands Across the Sea is involved in our Peace Corps book organization, Open Books/Open Minds. This help will ensure that the school children of Dominica will have libraries that can provide valuable books for all.
What impresses me most is their generous spirit to help. They truly understand the wealth that literacy makes in a child's life. Their assistance has made obtaining decent books much easier. Shipping is costly and they are handling all that for us.
Harriet answers all emails immediately and thoroughly.

Patti Mc.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If not for the help, caring and encouragement from Harriet,T.L and Allegra, I don't know if the Primary School where I volunteer would still have a working library. I have been volunteering for five years and after many set backs and a lot of frustration, I almost quit but couldn't because of the beautiful, bright and funny children I have met and love so much. They truly want to read and learn. I could not believe the quality of books that were donated,Beautiful! and also the calls and emails and a visit to the school. They really care. It really has inspired me to keep going. Words cannot describe how much I love Hands Across the Sea. Wish I could rate more than 5 stars.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

If not for the help, caring and encouragement from Harriet,T.L and Allegra, I don't know if the Primary School where I volunteer would still have a working library. I have been volunteering for five years and after many set backs and a lot of frustration, I almost quit but couldn't because of the beautiful, bright and funny children I have met and love so much. They truly want to read and learn. I could not believe the quality of books that were donated,Beautiful! and also the calls and emails and a visit to the school. They really care. It really has inspired me to keep going. Words cannot describe how much I love Hands Across the Sea. Wish I could rate more than 5 stars.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The books that the village that I live and work in recieced from Hands Across the Sea are not only allowing avid readers to continue in reading additional books, but also encourage struggling readers to do so! Children that I had not seen in the library before, are now coming in to check out books. The grade 6 has noticed reading comprehension increasing, which would not have been possible without the books from this incredible organization. Thank you Hands Across the Sea, for all the work that you've done in St. Lucia as well as the rest of the Caribbean!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hands Across the Sea has been dedicated to enhancing my school’s library from the very beginning. The library at my school needed a facelift and new, excellent children’s books but I had no idea where to start. Touring libraries of other volunteers across St. Vincent led me to Hands Across the Sea. The organisation immediately got on board and provided my school with hundreds of culturally appropriate children’s books for our library. The books are from the best authors and they give my children the chance to grow their imagination through reading. The books donated have helped build my school’s confidence in the project and I can see a new level of enthusiasm and commitment to our library.

Harriet and Tom have always had a positive and supportive attitude. They help to motivate me and have provided direction when we have difficulty fundraising our renovation. After emailing them stumped and in need of a new lead, they responded instantly offering support and funding for new paint.

My story is not unlike other volunteers on St. Vincent who have worked with their schools to transform children’s reading experience. The projects have outlived the volunteers and helped to address the lack of appropriate, children’s books in public schools.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Shannon L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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".

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Shermine Bardouille
Ministry of Education
Dominica

Katherine B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.