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Triple Olympic medalist, Yohan Blake, has urged wards of the Mount Olivet Boys Home in Manchester, to use their struggles as a motivation for success.

Pointing out that hardship can lead to personal development and make people into stronger and better individuals, he encouraged them to use their experiences to fortify themselves and prepare for the future.

“For me it was a struggle. You have to have struggles to make it. I’ve been through a rough life, many times we had to walk and carry water on our heads. That’s why I’m so strong,” he joked.

The elite athlete was among other sponsors and well-wishers, who joined the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) staff at its annual Christmas awards ceremony and luncheon at the home on December 15, bringing gifts for the boys and well-needed items for the facility.

He offered words of encouragement and lessons on how to stay positive about life, noting that notwithstanding the challenges that they encounter in life, it is possible to overcome.

Cautioning them against thinking negatively, Blake urged the 28 wards to understand that there are people concerned about their well-being.

“You may think that because you are in a home that no-one cares.  People do care.  That’s why I’m on board,” the world-class sprinter stated.

He also urged them to look beyond their current circumstances and towards what they can become.

“When I was growing up no-one thought that I could be the second fastest, soon to be the fastest man in the world,” he said, eliciting cheers from among those gathered.

“You can be the next Prime Minister of Jamaica,” he told the boys pointedly.

He further underscored the importance of doing good deeds in life. “Each time I run on the track I think about you people because, you never know what will happen in life. Maybe the day will come that you can help me,” he stated.

It was the second time that Blake was joining the JIS on its annual Christmas visit to the home, which the agency adopted in 2009. Blake’s first time was in 2011 when his YB Afraid Foundation came on board as a sponsor. 

Since then, he has gifted the home with a number of items including water tanks, commercial grade washing machine, television and electronics for a game room.

Blake was happily received by the wards and staff of the residential facility, who was excited to have the world-famous athlete, spend time with them.

Expressing pleasure with his growing relationship with the boys and the home, the 22 year-old track star said, “I had to be here” despite the tight training schedule.

The Mount Olivet Boys home, which is run by the United Church of Jamaica and Grand Cayman, was adopted by the JIS as part of its corporate social responsibility thrust. Projects undertaken by the JIS at the home include providing back-to-school supplies, Christmas gifts and a mentorship programme.

This year’s project involved the creation of a vegetable garden through partnership with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA). The agency has committed to another year of assistance to the home.

Other sponsors include Josephs, Azmart, Jamaica Broilers, Wisynco, Continental Baking Company Ltd.,Lasco Food Distributors, and Sandals Foundation.