10,000 students to benefit from Hands across the Sea donations
February 22, 2011
10,000 students to benefit from Hands across the Sea donations

Their hands of love stretch far and wide across the Caribbean, educating and inspiring children. They have so far donated over 8,000 books this year in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and plan to donate hundreds more to several other islands in need.{{more}}

Tom and Harriet Linskey, founders of the Hands across the Sea organization, seek to improve literacy among children in the Eastern Caribbean by donating books and other supplies to schools. In this year, the organization will donate 43,000 books and 92 boxes of art supplies and teaching resources to 10,000 students at 47 schools, and libraries and community reading programs on eight islands.

From their inception in January 2008 to January 2011, the organization has donated 50,900 books, 88 boxes of teaching resources and classroom supplies and has served 52 schools and 8 libraries and community reading programmes.

Harriet Linskey explained to Searchlight that the idea for the organization came about as the couple visited the Eastern Caribbean islands and noticed that there was a lack of literary resources available in the islands. This, she said, prompted them to develop a charity organization to donate books to several schools across the Eastern Caribbean. The couple visits the islands every year, between November and May, traveling between islands on a Catamaran, a lifestyle Linskey said that they have grown to love.

This is the third year that the organization has been shipping books to the Caribbean; they have also been involved in helping teachers and students in building libraries and also provide teaching resources and classroom supplies. The organization also has a team of workers who travel by catamaran to several other Eastern Caribbean islands to assist in setting up libraries and reading corners, among other things.

“Well it’s been a lot of fun!” Linskey, who is also a past teacher, said about the experience in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The organization donated books to schools on Union Island in 2008, but visited the mainland for the first time this year. Linskey added that the feedback from the students and the teachers has been remarkable.

“American kids don’t love books as much as the Caribbean kids, so when you put a whole lot of books in front of kids here, they get excited,” Linskey related. The students, she said, have rewarded the couple with ‘group hugs and smiling faces’ and the teachers and principals have equally vocalized their appreciation to the organization.

“In our efforts to improve literacy in the classroom, I think that they are doing a very good job with the donations they are making with the books,” Principal of the Chateaubelair Methodist Primary Edmie Charles said. The school received a total of 1,300 books and three boxes of teaching resources and classroom supplies. Charles added that the books have contributed greatly to the school’s efforts in setting up a library.

Another beneficiary of the organization is the George Stephens Senior Secondary School, which received 1000 books. Principal Anella Roban told Searchlight that the books will assist in enhancing the students’ literacy skills. She added that the different genres provided will also enrich the students reading ability and their writing styles.

The organization also donated books to the Stephanie Browne Primary School, the Union Island Secondary School, the Georgetown Secondary, St. Clair Dacon Secondary, Buccament Bay Secondary and Pamelus Burke Primary School, among others.

The islands that have benefited from the organization’s donations are Anguilla, Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Persons who wish to donate books or find more information on the organization can visit www.handsacrossthesea.net.