Changing Lives With Hands Across The Sea

This year 117 schools in the Eastern Caribbean will benefit from 90,050 books shipped to them from a donated warehouse in Boston, Massachusetts. The kids will most likely never meet the throngs of volunteers who sorted, packed, donated and helped along the way to make this happen. They will know that Hands Across The Sea was behind the generosity and their libraries will be beaming with the energy that comes with new found resources.

If a kid in Dominica today only knew that all it took for his school library to have books was for a couple on a sailboat to land at the shores of the Caribbean. That couple, T.L. and Harriet Linskey, would be the change agent for a program that has touched upwards of 100,000 kids and donated close to half a million books to the Eastern Caribbean islands. The story is quite simple, a couple goes out on a blue water cruise and returns to start a program that ends up changing lives.

Tom & Harriet Linskey
Tom & Harriet Linskey, founders of Hands Across The Sea, sailing in the Caribbean

Today, Hands Across the Sea is in its 10th year and they continue to garner support for a program that is far-reaching and has no limits in terms of lives touched, “ You won’t know the full impact,“ co-founder Harriet Linskey said,” You’ll never know all the stories of success.” Harriet shares stories of a bank teller, a future astronaut, and of readers and dreamers that all share the same experiences of having their world opened up with books – books that would never have been in their hands had it not been for Hands Across The Sea.

Stephanie Browne Primary, Union Island
Stephanie Browne Primary, Union Island

While their numbers are impressive, to date 400 schools have libraries spread across the windward and leeward islands of the Lesser Antilles. The goal of Hands Across The Sea is evolving into one of making the program sustainable. While their help is good for today’s generations the future of the program is focused on keeping Hands Across the Sea alive and thriving for decades to come. This year, a curriculum was written to help teachers bridge the gap between the books in the library and the classroom environment. From lesson plans to tips on which books to intertwine into the curriculum the momentum to make an even more significant difference has begun.

“Today, a kid from a small fishing village in Dominica has aspirations that come from the exposure to books that just were not available a few years ago”
Harriet Linskey, Founder of Hands Across The Sea

Today, a kid from a small fishing village in Dominica has aspirations that come from the exposure to books that just were not available a few years ago, “ Harriet continued, “We will continue to support the creation of lending libraries and improving teacher resources because we see that literacy is improving because of the program.

Getting Involved

  • Enter the Hands Across The Seas Sweepstakes – When you donate to the ASA/Hands Across the Sea Caribbean Getaway Sweepstakes, you are entered to win a one-week, four-person bareboat charter in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Tobago Cays courtesy of ASA Affiliate Horizon Yacht Charters. Or you could win a luxurious seven-night stay for four (two rooms) at The Verandah Resort & Spa in Antigua or at the St. James’s Club, Morgan Bay, St. Lucia, courtesy of Elite Island Resorts. https://asa.com/partners/hands-across-the-sea/sweepstakes/
  • Make a Donation – The easiest way to get involved is by donating via their website. See their guide to giving to get an idea of how the money helps on the islands. http://www.handsacrossthesea.net/index.htm
  • Volunteer – A small number of volunteer opportunities are available, and some projects need help in the islands themselves. If you are willing to spend some time helping out while cruising the islands, Hands Across The Sea can put you in contact with someone who needs your help. Contact Harriet Linskey harriet@handsacrossthesea.net

For more information or to donate visit handsacrossthesea.org.

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