Links of Hope Network, a non-profit organization, is hosting a Live Music Benefit Concert on July 9th at 7:30pm in Safety Harbor. Musical guests include Adam Randall & Band, Between Bluffs, Heather Lynn, and Hunter & Avery. All proceeds go to support a Deaf Vocational School in Honduras.
Links of Hope Network is part of the Underground Network, a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization committed to equipping marginalized women and Deaf students in developing countries with free jewelry making training, tools, and raw materials. Founded by a local Pinellas mother with a Deaf son, Links of Hope is reaching out to other mothers and the global Deaf community by providing practical skills that help economically disadvantaged women and students earn a sustainable income with dignity and respect.
Links of Hope, established three years ago, set out to join a movement of non-profit organizations in the Tampa Bay Area that are shifting from traditional models of aid and charity to non-traditional philanthrocapitalist approaches to use business thinking and fashion trends to strengthen philanthropic efforts.
Rather than give a temporary handout, Links of Hope trains artisans with a marketable cottage industry in order to empower them to provide for their own families for years to come. Upon first visiting the Deaf Vocational School in Tegucigalpa, Honduras in 2010, Links of Hope's founder Elizabeth Engelman saw the alarming lack of learning materials at the school and the eagerness of the Deaf Honduran students to learn, and she was committed to return in 2011 with sewing machines and wood working tools. Exactly one year later, Elizabeth is organizing a small team consisting of Deaf adults, Deaf educators, jewelry makers, and artists back to the school to conduct a one week jewelry making workshop. The team will be traveling with four sewing machines to donate to the school as well as purchasing two additional industrial sewing machines for the Deaf students once they arrive in the country.
Truly, a community effort representing the best of the Bay area, fourth grade students from Canterbury School in St. Petersburg helped Links of Hope raise the funds for one of the industrial sewing machines being donated to the Deaf Vocational School in Honduras this summer. An industrial sewing machine will not only help the Honduran Deaf students learn basic sewing and upholstery skills, but may alleviate a life of poverty and despair. In Honduras, where there are no social services and Deaf children often live in isolation and uneducated, learning a trade is a matter of life or death. “As a mother with a Deaf five-year-old son, I feel so blessed to live in the Tampa Bay area, one of the largest Deaf communities in the country. We have terrific Deaf Educators in Pinellas schools such as Cross Bayou Elementary and I’ve had access to sign language classes at St. Petersburg College and supportive audiologists. I can’t imagine how I could have communicated with my son without these resources. Links of Hope’s work with the Deaf students in Honduras is an extension of my thankfulness. I can really relate to these Honduran moms with Deaf children who are desperate for Hope. It’s a gift to be able to serve them and their children,” says Engelman. And in an effort to raise funds for additional woodworking tools and school supplies, Links of Hope is hosting a live music Benefit Concert on July 9th at 3038 Fairview St., Safety Harbor where local Tampa Bay musicians such as Adam Randall, Between Bluffs, and Heather Lynn have donated their talents to help raise awareness and support. Bay Area Artists and local businesses such as the Trade Winds and Devil Rays have also donated towards Links of Hope's silent auction, which will benefit the Deaf student's vocational program.
Tickets for the Benefit Concert can be purchased at www.linksofhope.org