Cricket star Chris Gayle is set to launch the Jamaican branch of his already successful youth empowerment program from England.
The Chris Gayle Foundation in partnership with Cricket 4 Change, British Airways, Spartan and Digicel Jamaica, will host 20 young Jamaican youngsters aged 16-20 from disadvantaged backgrounds for 12 months using the power of cricket to help realize their potential and change their lives.
Eleven young men from the Chris Gayle Academy UK, along with their coaches, will arrive in Kingston on Wednesday to help launch newly created Jamaican Academy.
Also scheduled is a friendly 20-over match between the UK Academy and the JA Academy at the Lucas Cricket Club, Rollington Town on Thursday.
The Chris Gayle Academy was first launched in England in May 2013 and has so far assisted 18 young Englishmen to become role models in their local communities.
Gayle said, “Cricket is indeed a powerful sport; it has certainly changed my life. Through cricket, I was given the tools and support to succeed and I want to share this with the youth through my academy.”
The impact of the Chris Gayle Academy is based on Gayle’s ‘Big Six’ philosophy that he applies to his own life; making good choices, understanding consequences and actions, working hard, setting goals, looking after yourself and respecting others.
The “Big Six” are a series of workshops and questionnaires based on these philosophies that guide and measure the youngsters’ journey.
The “Big Six” program will also be implemented in six primary and preparatory schools in Kingston: Rollington Town Primary (Gayle’s Alma Mater), Excelsior Primary, Mountain View Primary, Vaz Preparatory, Clan Clarthy Primary and Windward Road Primary.
Donovan Miller from Cricket 4 Change explained the impact the Chris Gayle Academy has had on the U.K. youths so far.
“This Academy is about more than cricket,” Miller said. “The young men here in the U.K. come from varying backgrounds and communities and have been able to group together and share their experiences and sharpen their life skills.
“Not all these young men want to pursue professional cricket, but the academy teaches them important skills that prepare them for the working world. Many have not had the greatest opportunities and this academy brings their talents to the fore and shows them who they can be.
“Some came into the academy not expecting much but have received much more than they anticipated and some have even gone back to school to complete their education to better themselves and excel.”