Beloved Jamaican cricketer, Christopher Henry Gayle, will next week launch the Jamaican branch of his already successful youth empowerment programme: The Chris Gayle Academy. The Chris Gayle Foundation in partnership with Cricket 4 Change, British Airways, Spartan and Digicel Jamaica, will host 20 young Jamaican men aged 16-20 from disadvantaged backgrounds for 12 months using the power of cricket to unlock their potential and change their lives.
The Chris Gayle Academy was first launched in England in May 2013 and has so far assisted 18 young English men to become role models in their local communities. Chris Gayle explains the role cricket played in his life and why he is giving back: “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’ point 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 journey of the young people.
The ‘Big Six’ programme will also be implemented in 6 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, explains the impact the Chris Gayle Academy has had on the UK youths so far: “This Academy is about more than cricket. The young men here in the UK 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 of these boys have not had the greatest opportunities, and this Academy brings their talents to the fore and shows them who they can be. Some of these boys 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.”
11 young men from the Chris Gayle Academy UK, along with their coaches, are scheduled to arrive in Kingston next week Wednesday, courtesy of British Airways, to help launch the start of the Jamaican academy. Also scheduled is a friendly T20 match between the boys from the UK Academy and the JA Academy at the Lucas Cricket Club, Rollington Town on Thursday June 5 at 2PM.