Hands Across the Sea is at it again packing and sending books for kids in the Caribbean. While many schools continue to grapple with how learning will be held this upcoming school year, Hands Across the Sea’s library and literacy programs continue to respond to the needs of students throughout six Eastern Caribbean Island nations.
This year, Hands sent 18,344 brand-new books to more than 27,000 kids. This includes nearly 7,000 books that will go directly into the hands of children displaced by this April’s volcanic eruptions in the northern part of mainland St. Vincent. Hands will work with local partners, including the US Peace Corps and community and regional partners at the Ministry of Education, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, and local NGOs to ensure mobilization of books and resources as a part of a larger disaster relief and response effort. An additional 2,000 books will support at-home learning for the children in St. Vincent’s green zones as an extension of Hands’ flagship CLASS (Caribbean Literacy and School Support) Program to support at-home learning amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. The rest of the islands Hands serves – St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, and St. Kitts and Nevis, will receive books and supplies to support school and community library collections. In Grenada, 10 Preschools will receive materials to support the second of a two-year pilot program that is expected to roll out regionally in the years ahead.
Hands Across the Sea’s programs run on more than books alone. Local education professionals serve as the organization’s paid Program Officers. The officers, who hold the title ‘Literacy Links,’ are known throughout their countries and the region as go-to experts for all things related to books, reading, and children’s literacy. In addition to overseeing the implementation of local grassroots initiatives and daily programming, the Literacy Links provide mentorship, training, and support for school administrators, teachers, students, and the regional government to ensure library sustainability and program effectiveness.
Hands Across the Sea is a US-based registered 501(c)(3) organization now in its 14th year of operations. Since its founding, Hands has sent more than half a million books to over 900 school and community libraries reaching more than 150,000 school-aged children. They are currently raising support for the 2021-2022 school year. You can learn more or make a donation online at: https://handsacrossthesea.org/2021funding/. The American Sailing Association is been a proud charitable partner to Hands Across the Sea.