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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. April 4, 2024: As we approach another exciting edition of the Penn Relays, we delve into the intersection of sports and social welfare, a mission championed by Irwine Clare, Sr., OD, the visionary founder and current chairman of Team Jamaica Bickle.

Team Jamaica Bickle Village

The genesis of this venture can be traced back to a dinner held for the athletes after one of the games. It was during this gathering that the late Ben Francis proposed the idea of providing food for the athletes during the competition. From this discussion emerged the concept of Team Jamaica Bickle.

Join us on this episode of the #HardToBeat podcast as we sit down with Mr. Clare to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Team Jamaica Bickle, a labor of love that has profoundly impacted the lives of Caribbean athletes. Over the past three decades, thousands of athletes have been supported at the Penn Relays, thanks to a diverse coalition of corporate sponsors, local businesses, and dedicated volunteers.

 What initially began in a parking lot at Penn State University has since grown into a substantial operation, with numerous entities rallying behind the cause.

As demand for assistance surged, additional organizations lent their support. Among them were the Jamaica Tourist Board, Victoria Mutual Building Society, GraceKennedy, Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations (UJAA), National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations (NAJSO), Digicel, Dennis Shipping, Trans Continental Shipping, Lomax Foundation, and others.

irwine-clare-tjb
Irwine Clare, Sr., OD, founder and chairman of Team Jamaica Bickle on the podcast #HardToBeat

The organization’s core mission remains steadfast: to prioritize the welfare of the athletes. What initially centered on providing meals, transportation, and accommodation has expanded to encompass medical services and other forms of support.

Team Jamaica Bickle has even implemented a school defibrillator program, supplying defibrillators to schools in Jamaica —a vital resource that has proven invaluable in emergencies.

Additionally, the organization offers counselling services to schools, with G.C. Foster College being a significant beneficiary, receiving over US$150,000 in support over the years. While initially focused on Jamaican athletes, Team Jamaica Bickle’s services have broadened to include student athletes from other Caribbean nations attending the Penn Relays.

Moreover, the organization has evolved into a platform for promoting Jamaican culture, hosting various events attended by Caribbean and American officials.

On April 14th, Team Jamaica Bickle will hold its annual benefit gala luncheon in Long Island to raise funds for its ongoing endeavors. Tower Isle Patties will be honored during the event for its steadfast support of Jamaican student athletes at the Penn Relays over the years. The group returns to the annual Penn Relays to provide service to this year’s athletes on April 25-27th.  

“We believe in the welfare of Caribbean athletes,” remarks Clare, emphasizing the collective effort behind the organization’s success. “It’s not just a Jamaican endeavor; it’s a unified effort encompassing various Caribbean nations.”

Discover the inspiring journey of Team Jamaica Bickle, from its humble beginnings to its current role as a provider of essential services such as meals, accommodations, transportation, healthcare, and insurance for athletes participating in the Penn Relays.

From adversity to achievement, Team Jamaica Bickle commemorates its milestone anniversary with a commitment to excellence. Join us in supporting their upcoming fundraiser and contributing to their noble cause at https://www.teamjamaicabickle.org/.

Listen to the story of TJB

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