Hands Across the Sea is dedicated
to raising the literacy levels
of Eastern Caribbean children
From Local Rotarians to Multinational Corporations
There are companies, foundations, and organizations in the Eastern Caribbean and in the U.S. that think like we do—that all children should have access to great new books and lending libraries, and that gains in child literacy should be sustained. We work with hands-on local groups, including chapters of Rotary International and grass-roots island nonprofits, and we receive funding from foundations and companies (below) that believe building a brighter future for Caribbean kids is an excellent investment. The Hands mission also receives tremendous support from a number of private foundations that wish to remain quietly in the background.
The Sandals Foundation, the corporate responsibility arm of legendary Sandals Resorts, accomplishes a tremendous amount of good in the Caribbean. The Sandals Foundation brings medical assistance to those in need, is a leading light in environmental programs, and makes all sorts of community and educational programs possible in disadvantaged areas. In their initial partnering with Hands, the Sandals Foundation adopted six St. Lucia schools of our 2013-2014 Hands Wish Lists with outstanding funding for much-needed brand new books and metal library shelving (termite proof!). We're looking forward to working with the Sandals Foundation in St. Lucia, Antigua, and Grenada as they adopt more and more schools.
Scotiabank Bright Future
Scotiabank does business in all of the islands where Hands works, and through the global philanthropic reach of their Scotiabank Bright Future program, the financial institution touches a lot of lives. Because education and children's causes are one of the pillars of Bright Future, the bank supported Hands with a three-year grant, creating or rejuvenating lending libraries at 19 primary secondary schools, and community reading programs, reaching 6,130 children with 8,710 brand new reading books, library supplies, literacy materials, and bookshelves.Scotiabank employees on each island rolled up their sleeves and volunteered their time to assist the schools with a variety of projects, from painting/refurbishing to working one-on-one with students.
Mill Reef Fund
Established in 1948, the Mill Reef Fund has supported countless medical, educational, general welfare, and religious institutions on Antigua and Barbuda. At the moment, Mill Reef Fund is assisting over 40 great causes—including child literacy and the creation of school libraries through Hands Across the Sea—by adopting the majority of schools on every year's Hands Wish Lists and supporting the Hands Literacy Link on Antigua to ensure project sustainability. Mill Reef Fund is a caring, dedicated group of people who are devoted to positive change, and the key support they're giving to Hands and child literacy is making difference in the lives of thousands of children on Antigua.
Rosalie Bay Resort
Dominica’s Rosalie Bay Resort, perched on the verdant southeast seacoast of the island, is a haven for endangered sea turtles and ecology-minded, luxury-seeking world travelers (National Geographic has recognized Rosalie Bay with its "Unique Lodges of the World" award). Rosalie Bay is also the island's leading advocate of child literacy—over the years, generous funding from the resort’s owners has made it possible for Hands to ship thousands of great new books to over a dozen schools, reading programs, and after-school youth groups on Dominica. In many schools, support from Rosalie Bay has ensured that the lending libraries established by U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers and Hands have become sustainable—an integral, vital part of schools. Rosalie Bay’s impact on child literacy in Dominica is deep, wide, and long-lasting.
Wishing Well, Inc.
An Antigua-registered charity dedicated to helping underprivileged children and adults on the island, Wishing Well Inc. was founded by the St. James's Club and The Verandah Resort & Spa, two prominent Antigua resorts. Working with government ministries and social welfare organizations to serve those most in need, Wishing Well assists a wide variety of educational and medical causes, from a Breakfast Programme for secondary school students, a back-to-school backpack initiative, and a Christmas Cheer Programme for individuals and families during the holiday season, to support for persons facing medical challenges, including patients in need of at-home support. As a Hands partner, Wishing Well has adopted a number of schools, funding new books and lending libraries to raise child literacy levels in a sustainable fashion.
Christophe Harbour Foundation
On the island of St. Kitts there's a new luxury residential resort development, Christophe Harbour, taking shape: a 300-acre marina, mega yacht harbor, 18-hole golf course, beautiful homes and villas—and a companion foundation dedicated to community outreach (conservation, education, recreation, cultural, historical, and social development projects) in St. Kitts. The Christophe Harbour Foundation is the leading supporter of child literacy, through Hands Across the Sea, on the island. Funding from the Christophe Harbour Foundation has allowed Hands to get great new books into the hands of thousands of children at primary schools and secondary schools on St. Kitts.
FLOW St. Lucia
On St. Lucia—as well throughout the rest of the Eastern Caribbean—everyone has a Flow phone and a Flow telephone number—as well as a Flow cable and internet connection. Flow believes in giving back, and the company is committed to supporting a variety of local causes, from music, literature, and dance to sports teams to education and community development. In our first partnership together, Flow St. Lucia worked with Hands to increase the access of secondary school students to first-class reading material: the best in everything from young adult fiction and non-fiction to the latest in reference materials and study guides. Because information and education, whether children receive it from a digital device or a book, should be the best it can be.
U.S. Embassy, Barbados
For the second year in a row, Hands was awarded a Public Affairs Service (PAS) Grant by the U.S. Embassy, Bridgetown, to replenish the libraries of six secondary schools, one each on Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada. Working closely with school principals and librarians, Hands sent a comprehensive collection to each school, from the best in young-adult fiction to remedial reading books to a wide range of reference, career, and character-building books. Demonstrating the United States' enduring commitment to the Eastern Caribbean, the Hands-administered PAS Grant shipped 3,150 truly great, brand new books to the six high schools, reaching over 3,500 students.
Curtain Bluff Resort
Perched on a dramatic promontory on Antigua’s southern coast, Curtain Bluff is as much a modern-day luxury resort as a much-venerated institution (the history of the resort, frequented by decades of loyal guests and families, is a window into the hospitality industry of the island). Through its Old Road Fund, the resort has supported a local primary school for years, and most recently it teamed up with Hands to rejuvenate the school’s lending library. Moving forward, Curtain Bluff is working with Hands to support local high schools, continuing to provide literacy support to children as they graduate from primary school to secondary school. That’s just another example of both the resort’s longstanding dedication to history, and to family and friends, for which it is so well known.
Palm Island & Galley Bay Resorts
Rightly famous as two ultimate Caribbean hideaways, Palm Island Resort (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and Galley Bay Resort & Spa (Antigua) are becoming known for their dedication to improving child literacy, too. From the 2013/2014 Hands Wish Lists Palm Island Resort adopted two primary schools on nearby Union Island (one of them a 2013/2013 Literacy Award winner), while Galley Bay Resort & Spa adopted a primary school just a mile away. With their support, Hands was able to send brand new books to all three schools—prompting one school to create their first-ever library! The donation reached 810 students, from kindergarten through grade 6.
Western Union Foundation
Building cool new school libraries on Dominica, the "Nature Island" of the Caribbean, is a great thing to do! Thanks to its "Education for Better" global initiative and the generous support of H. H. V. Whitchurch & Co., Ltd., the Dominica agent for Western Union, funding from the Western Union Foundation created school libraries at one primary school and two secondary schools. Western Union generously supplied funding for everything from a large infusion of new books to infrastructure improvements such as new windows, paint, and air-conditioning. The results are three shining new school libraries, serving over 800 students!
Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort
Nestled on a white sand beach between St. Lucia’s world famous, soaring peaks of Gros Piton and Anse Piton, Sugar Beach boasts a one-of-a-kind location that is dramatic, beautiful, and utterly peaceful. The folks at Sugar Beach are paying their good fortune forward by supporting Hands Across the Sea’s campaign to bring world-class reading books and vibrant lending libraries to the children at local schools. Literacy, in addition to forming the vital foundation of a child’s education, builds many more skills than reading; there’s vocabulary, grammar, writing, spelling, speaking, storytelling, and analytical questioning and reasoning, to mention just a few. The owners of Sugar Beach know this to be true, now and in the future.
American Sailing Association
Would you enter a sweepstakes where the prize is a one-week sailing charter in the Caribbean or a week's stay at a world-class Caribbean resort? In the annual American Sailing Association (ASA)/Hands Sweeepstakes, many folks donate to Hands with an eye to such awesome prizes. “The Caribbean is a gift to sailors and the sailing industry, so we are proud to support Hands Across the Sea’s goal of improving literacy levels in the Caribbean,” says Charlie Nobles, executive director of the ASA. The ASA, the leader in U.S. sailing education for three decades, has grown to include an international network of over 300 professionally accredited sailing schools. Over 400,000 students have learned to sail through ASA since 1983.
The Verandah Resort & Spa
The island of Antigua is famous for its 365 white-sand beaches (did we mention the aquamarine water?) and its constellation of beachfront luxury resorts. The standard of the hospitality industry on Antigua is very high and very competitive. The Verandah Resort & Spa is among the leaders, which perhaps is why they recognize the importance of child literacy in fast-developing Antigua: there’s no better way to ensure that the island grows in all the right ways than to nurture the next generation. The Verandah Resort & Spa not only supports Hands and its mission of delivering new books and lending libraries in Antigua, they believe that supporting a child-literacy organization such as Hands benefits the future of the Caribbean region.
Blue Lagoon Hotel and Marina
Yes, this newly-developed hotel is in fact located on a blue lagoon—the coral-reef-fringed Blue Lagoon Cove at the southern tip of the island of St. Vincent, the largest of the islands in the island-archipelago-nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Blue Lagoon Hotel and Marina hosts long-distance cruising sailors (many of them from Europe) and charterboat guests at its marina (the many islands of the Grenadines are near), and draws travelers ready to discover green, mountainous St. Vincent and its hike-in volcano. The owners of the resort and marina, longtime St. Vincent residents, believe that education and child literacy are the path forward for this developing nation, and they have partnered with Hands to give children and local schools the literacy tools they need.
“The MoneyGram Foundation aims to foster and maintain a dynamic network of advocates for education worldwide,” says Julia Taylor, president of the MoneyGram Foundation and vice president of corporate strategy at MoneyGram. “The foundation has been fortunate so far to build and implement partnerships with ambitious organizations well-known for successfully delivering educational resources and programs that empower the communities they serve.” With their support of Hands Across the Sea, the MoneyGram Foundation has rejuvenated 12 primary school libraries across the islands and replaced the libraries’ out-of-date books with brand new reading material more suited for learning. The effort benefitted more than 2,500 students.
Ross University School of Medicine
Young people from all over the world come to the Ross University School of Medicine, located in the city of Portsmouth on the island of Dominica, to learn how to become a physician. The 70 physicians, educators, and researchers of the medical school's teaching staff believe, of course, in the importance of health. They also believe in the life-changing power of literacy—the skills of reading, writing, and reasoning that form the foundation of every child's education. That's why Ross University School of Medicine supports the Hands mission through the “adoption” of nearby local schools: infusing a school with brand new, exciting, targeted reading books from Hands, and supporting the creation or rejuvenation of lending libraries at schools. Thanks to these caring professionals, the future of Dominican children just got a whole lot healthier.
Doing business locally—and giving back locally. Fastcash Caribbean was started in 2007 on the island of Dominica, and quickly opened offices on Antigua, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and St. Kitts. They're expanding their philanthropic reach, too. Fastcash Caribbean adopted a dozen schools from the Hands Wish Lists over two years, one in each country, making it possible for Hands to ship each school a healthy selection of brand new books (with titles requested by the schools). In all, the donation from Fastcash Caribbean reached over 4,000 children in primary and secondary schools.
Jump onto the Expedia Canada website and you enter a tantalizing world of travel options: you can book reservations on any of 400 airlines, choose a room from hundreds of thousands of hotels, find out-of-the-ordinary, Expedia things to do anywhere and everywhere in the world, and get special deals and packages on everything from Disney vacations to car rentals to Caribbean cruises. Expedia Canada is supporting Hands Across the Sea by funding the creation or rejuvenation of a school lending library on each of the islands that Hands serves, and the travel giant is also connecting their Caribbean-bound customers with the Hands mission by giving them a checkbox to support child literacy for Caribbean kids. Which is always a great way to kick off your air or sea voyage to paradise.
SeaDream Yacht Club
Aboard SeaDream Yacht Club's cruise ships, they believe in supporting a good cause, and they're walking the talk. During the ship's Caribbean-to-Atlantic crossings, guests and crew walk laps around Deck 6 to burn off the ship's renowned chocolate croissants. Sixteen laps equals one mile, and the walkers donate to a charity selected by SeaDream—and SeaDream generously matches the donations. All that walking has supported great new books and the creation/rejuvenation of Hands Across the Sea lending libraries at schools on St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Grenada! But it's not all work. Noting the extraordinary level of luxury and attention lavished on SeaDream guests, Forbes Life declared SeaDream Yacht Club "The best small luxury cruise ship of 2015."