WASHINGTON DC (JIS) — A replica of the record-breaking shoes won by World and Olympic Champion, Hon. Usain Bolt, OJ, is to be auctioned by the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) to fund its new LifeSEED’s Youth Vision project in Bolt’s district of Sherwood Content in Trelawny sponsored by Custom Orthotics.

The shoes, now on display at the Renaissance Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC, will be auctioned within another two weeks.

Speaking to JIS News, President of ICS, Dr. Claire Nelson, informed that the shoes were designed and donated by Puma and autographed by Bolt.

Dr. Nelson explained that the LifeSEED (Life Skills Empowerment and Entrepreneurial Development) programme seeks to provide young people of the Caribbean with the crucial skills and resources needed to be self-directed, gainfully employed, and equipped to secure their livelihoods and reach their goals.

“We firmly believe that the youth have the strong ability to be productive, thriving, and contributing members of society, if we emphasise the importance of hard work and determination and provide them with vital resources,” said Dr. Nelson.

The ICS President pointed out that nearly one-third of the 16 million people, who live in the CARICOM region, are between 15 and 24 years old and they face many challenges including high and increasing rates of unemployment.

She further pointed to the high levels of crime and violence among young men between the ages of 15 and 29, who commit 69 murders per 100,000 persons. Turning to education Dr. Nelson said, “only one-third of high school graduates pursue further study and nearly 70 per cent of all unmarried males have no skills training”.

Dr. Nelson added that the LifeSEED approach is based on three key elements needed for total viability. These are: partnering with educational organisations on the ground to train youth in entrepreneurship; funding skills training programmes; donating funds to provide youth with the tools and knowledge they need to embark on individual enterprises and career paths; and providing seed capital for enterprise development.

It was only last week that the ICS conferred its prestigious Vanguard Award to Bolt at its 16th Annual Caribbean American Heritage Awards Gala at the Renaissance Marriott Hotel.

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