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 teachers, librarians, and Student Librarians
to care for the books and run the library •
sort, level, label, and shelve the new books • implement the strategies of the Hands Teachers Resource Guide to the Library (Grades K-3)
to develop the joy of reading and integrate libraries into schools •
support school staff 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.
Hyacinth Gonsalves-Barriero | Antigua and Barbuda
| open door, open heart
Highly credentialed in education, science, teacher training, and literacy development, Hyacinth Gonalves-Barriero taught in Antiguan primary schools (Grades K-6) for 22 years and served as a primary school Principal for 20 years (most recently, 14 years at Five Islands Primary School and four years at T.N. Kirnon Primary School). “At my schools I instituted an open-door policy to encourage feedback from students, teachers, and parents, to monitor and maintain a safe, healthy, peaceful school environment,” says Hyacinth. “An orderly school atmosphere creates a high morale among staff and students.” As a Hands Literacy Link, Hyacinth works easily with Antiguan educators, helping them make the most of Hands books and their school’s lending library. Her passion to raise the literacy levels of Antigua children burns brighter than ever.
Vernest Mack | Antigua and Barbuda
| major leadership skills
“My greatest pleasure is seeing children achieve as much as they can,” says Vernest Mack, who taught in Antigua primary school classrooms for over 26 years and served as a primary school Principal for 15 years. “My goal is to help children become as literate as possible, while educating them on the importance of literacy in everyday living.” As well as being a leader (nine years as president of the Teachers Union, and president of the Antigua/Barbuda Trade Union Congress) Vernest is a community activist, a counselor, and a motivational speaker. Well-connected and respected in the education system, she enjoys sharing literacy-raising strategies with educators at primary schools and high schools. As a Hands Literacy Link, Vernest is focused on developing active school libraries—books being checked out, read by students regularly, and taught with by teachers.
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.”
Lize Bardouille | Dominica
| creating consensus
Lize Bardouille has seen the schools of Dominica in their most challenging moments. As the National Coordinator for IsraAID, an Israeli humanitarian relief agency, Lize worked to patch every school on the island back together in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm that blasted every corner of Dominica in September of 2017. In addition to her talent assessing needs and strategizing ways to move forward, Lize is a trained Early Child Educator. Her friendly style is open and warm, and she has the all-important ability to connect with educators and create a relationship that benefits everyone—most of all, the children of Dominica.
Gloria Bonaparte | Grenada
| seeing the big picture
With a 40-year career as a primary school and high school teacher, a National Training Agency youth trainer, a regional training consultant for the World Association of Girl Guides & Girl Scouts, and a District Education Officer for the Grenada Ministry of Education, Gloria Bonaparte knows how to inspire children, teachers, and school principals about books, reading, and school libraries. In addition to her strong leadership qualities, Gloria knows all sides of Grenada's school system, from the challenges of the classroom to the governmental agencies which oversee the schools. Most of all, she believes in the life-changing power of literacy and why books, reading, and a lending library must become a part of every child’s education.
Bernadette John | Grenada
| the art of gentle persuasion
Drawing on a 41-year career in education which inclucdes a Bachelor of Education in Literacy Studies and a speciality in Early Childhood Education, Bernadette John is very well qualified for the position of Hands Literacy Link. But just as important, Bernadette is very well suited to be a Literacy Link, too—with her warm and friendly, diplomatic manner she is a welcome problem solver for school staff. Sustainability—having a Hands-created or -rejuvenated school library become an integral part of a school—is a pillar of our organization. Bernadette's skills and experience in the school system, along with her skill at problem-solving and gentle persuasion, are truly an asset for Hands.
| 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.
Sheila Serville | St. Lucia
| a lifelong passion for reading
“During my childhood in Guyana, I was always in the community library,” says Sheila Serville. “It was such a gift, having all those books to read! I was there after school, on weekends, arranging books on the shelves.” During her 37-year career as a St. Lucia educator (three decades teaching primary and secondary school, half a dozen years as a high school vice principal), Sheila kept her love affair with books and reading at the forefront. As a Hands Literacy Link, Sheila is advancing child literacy—including training Student Librarians—at over 50 St. Lucia schools.
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.