The Government alone cannot shoulder the responsibility of lessening the plight of the nation’s most vulnerable children. Members of the private sector and the public must also act if these youngsters are to see a brighter future, many-time World and Olympic champion Usain Bolt has asserted.
In a speedy response to the fire that destroyed Walker’s Place of Safety in St Andrew last Monday, killing two female wards of the State, through the Usain Bolt Foundation, the world’s fastest man came forward yesterday to donate $1 million in aid of the children who were displaced.
“Don’t just sit down and wait on the Government at all times,” Bolt declared during the official handover of the cheque to the Child Protection & Family Services Agency at Hope Zoo in St Andrew.
“Those in a position to contribute should do so because there are a lot of things going on in the country and the Government will be stretched thin. So if the private sector or even the public can contribute anything, please do. It really helps,” he told The Gleaner.
The sprint icon further expressed that he was open to working with the youth ministry to make a positive impact in the lives of less fortunate children.
“When my team and I heard about Walker’s Place of Safety, for me, there was no doubt that I was going to help in any way. I also felt it would be good to stay close and work together as much as possible with the ministry to really help the younger kids in any way we can to achieve a brighter future. I look forward to that,” Bolt added.
The beloved world-renowned sporting legend also used the platform to encourage the wards to pursue their dreams in spite of their circumstances, drawing on his own experiences as motivation.
State minister in the Ministry of Youth, Floyd Green, praised Bolt’s philanthropy, saying that his action has since inspired others to donate.
“We want this to say to other Jamaicans, ‘come forward’ and not just in relation to Walker’s. Our child-protection services do need a great public-private partnership to fulfil the wishes of our children and we have compiled a needs list for our homes that we will be putting out there for well-thinking Jamaicans, both here and abroad, to assist, as we’re on this journey to ensure that the most vulnerable among our children have the most productive lives,” said Green.