Hands Literacy Links are on-island team members dedicated to making each Hands Wish Lists project a success, now and for years to come. Literacy Links work closely with educators, education ministries, and local communities to: identify schools ready to partner with Hands •
help renovate library spaces and cull old and inappropriate books •
coordinate the distribution of the Hands shipment •
encourage the use of Hands library methodology •
help train students, teachers, and library managers to care for the books and run the library •
sort, level, label, and shelve the new books • share innovative ideas and resources
to develop the joy of reading and integrate libraries into schools •
support schools with strategies to encourage the long term sustainability of their libraries • ensure that Hands donations are properly utilized •
assess the impact of Hands assistance.
And finally, there's passion
. Pure passion for child literacy sums up the work of our Hands Literacy Links in Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada. With their belief in the life-changing power of books, reading, and literacy they are taking Hands to a higher level.
Enna Bullock | St. Vincent and the Grenadines
| finding the way forward
A primary school and high school teacher for thirty-six years, Enna Bullock knows how to take the temperature of a school. Interspersed in her teaching career, Enna served as an Education Officer in the School Inspection and Supervision Unit of the St. Vincent Ministry of Education, carrying out hands-on assessments of every aspect of schools, from health and safety codes to teaching standards, and creating action plans to help school administrators and teachers overcome challenges. Enna holds a Master of Arts in Education, she is kind and sympathetic, and she understands what makes schools—and school libraries—work. “It is my passion to make a difference in the lives of students, especially the less able ones,” says Enna. “I love helping them acquire the necessary skills to enjoy books and reading, and in turn increase their literacy skills.”
Yvette Pompey | St. Vincent and the Grenadines
| the art of creating new readers
During her lifelong career as a primary school teacher—over thirty-nine years, mostly Grades K to 4—Yvette Pompey’s abiding passion was to lift the literacy level of every child in her class. “My passion for teaching students to read and equipping them with other literacy skills led to successful related outcomes,” says Yvette. At two schools where she taught, she helped establish school libraries, and she volunteered as a librarian during lunchtime and after school. She also sourced children’s books and magazines to establish or rejuvenate the libraries, and she established after-school and weekend reading clubs. Taken together, Yvette’s impact on child literacy has been significant, and rewarding. “I was fortunate to see children’s interest in books soar, and to watch them turn into avid readers.”
Giselle Laurent | Dominica
| fueling the gift of literacy
“I have had a passion for books from an early age—everything from children’s fiction to Agatha Christie, National Geographic
, Reader's Digest
, and encyclopedias,” says Giselle Laurent, a Dominican known for her passion for child literacy and, as creator and editor of Domnitjen Magazine
, her writing and graphic design skills. “Reading is a skill which goes hand in hand with writing and leads to the independence that literacy brings. Reading—both fiction and non-fiction—fuels imagination and creativity and aids with problem-solving and ‘out-of-the-box' thinking which propels innovation and development. I feel that reading from a young age and having access to a wide variety of books is the best gift to give a child—the gift of literacy will never expire and can only improve with age.”
| the makeover artist
Everyone loves Olivia. That's partly because of her warm, gentle, "we can do this" powers of persuasion. And it's also because she really can do anything—there's no school library that she can't turn into a sparkling space that exerts an irresistible pull on children. Before she joined Hands, Olivia Phillip created the best high school library in all of Grenada. Since joining Hands she has continued to create and rejuvenate lending libraries at primary and secondary schools across the island. Sometimes she does it with a paintbrush, sometimes with a deft re-organization of shelving and book displays, sometimes through conversations with school staff. However she does it, children, teachers, and principals respond to her magic.
| a deep and wide skill set
Highly committed, professional, and enthusiastic, Gemma Britton’s nearly three-decade career in education began as a teacher in secondary school and evolved into the management and administrative duties of a high school vice-principal, then a principal, and then as a Facilitator/Instructor of the Teacher Training Program at Grenada’s Ministry of Youth. “For over two decades I engaged students in a learning environment. I was involved in remedial and leisure reading but also in organizing programs and personnel, as well as implementing assistive reading for children. Those were very rewarding years as I witnessed the improvements in literacy many students made.” Gemma holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Behavioral Science, as well as a Master of Arts in Education with emphasis in Educational Psychology.
| on every educator's wavelength
Clara Paul, with qualifications that include a Bachelor of Education degree and numerous certificates in teacher training, school principal management, and instructional leadership, really “gets it” when it comes to schools and child literacy. Clara taught all grades in a St. Lucia primary school for 28 years, and then served as principal of Ciceron RC Combined School (Grades K to 6) for 14 years. Clara seems to know just about every principal on St. Lucia—and many of the teachers, too—and she knows their challenges and how to assist them in sustaining a school lending library. After all, Clara has been there, and as a Hands Literacy Link she is still there, zeroed on in child literacy.
Khrystal Lucien | St. Lucia
| connecting the dots
A polished professional who is still closely in touch with her family’s roots in villages across St. Lucia, Khrystal Lucien believes, above all, in giving back to the community. Khrystal was a high school English teacher and a government Social Transformation Officer (where she facilitated projects such as after-school programs for kids), and she holds a B.A. in Psychology and A Levels in English. Khrystal has the ability and inclination to “connect the dots”—to bring communities, people, and organizations together to advance the common good. As a Literacy Link for Hands, Khrystal is focused on connecting teachers and principals closely with the resources of Hands-assisted school libraries established in St. Lucia.
Heidi Fagerberg | St. Kitts and Nevis
| champion of child literacy
Deeply committed to and skilled in the art and science of raising child literacy levels, Heidi Fagerberg is a children's book author and an educator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education and a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language with an emphasis in Elementary Education. A resident of St. Kitts for ten years, Heidi is known throughout the community for her volunteerism, her sensitivity to local culture, and her concern, in this age of digital-device addiction, with the challenges of cultivating a new generation of readers. Heidi enjoys working hands-on with schools to get the job done, whether culling old books from the school library or collaborating on children's-book-specific lesson plans for the classroom. And she does it all with a smile, a laugh, and a gracious, welcoming spirit of partnership.
| always a teacher
When you teach primary school children, you learn a lot about the teaching tools and methods that kids need to learn to read. And you also learn about the inner workings of schools and the education system. That's why the skills and institutional knowledge of Lisa Tomlinson, a former Grade 3 teacher on Antigua, are proving so valuable to Hands. Tomlinson is adept at cutting through obstacles that stand in the way of the all-important goal of child literacy. She means business and she gets things done—in a very short time she's made a huge impact on Hands projects in Antigua. And she does it all in a very nice way, of course. Everyone appreciates someone who can pull off that kind of balancing act. Especially, as in Tomlinson's case, when it's so clearly driven by one thing: passion.