Irwine Clare, the chair of Team Jamaica Bickle (TJB), was honoured for his leadership of the organization and its volunteers at the TJB village at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 29, 2023, the last day of the competition.
Clare Recognized for 29 Years of Service
Consul General of Jamaica New York, Alsion Wilson, presented Clare with an award and citation in recognition of his 29 years of service as TJB’s chair and his strong advocacy for and contribution to the development of Jamaica’s athletes from high school through college and into the future. Under Clare’s leadership, TJB established an initiative to provide automatic defibrillators to schools to enhance the health and safety of young athletes in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean. The award represented the admiration and gratitude of the Consulate General of Jamaica New York to Clare and his team of volunteers who have had a major influence on many athletes and their families, effecting improvements in their lives. During his tenure, the organization has received many awards and proclamations during his 29-year tenure as chair.
A Proud Son of St. Ann
Clare was born in Bamboo, St. Ann, Jamaica, and attended York Castle High School. He was the first student council leader to serve after Jamaica’s former Prime Minister Michael Manley launched a movement to create student councils throughout the country. At the age of 16, he was appointed to the National Discipline Committee of Jamaica’s Ministry of Education. He also attended a number of leadership conventions in Cuba and Jamaica, and when he migrated to the United States, was a founding member of the Union of Jamaican Alumni Association.
His Mother Inspired Life of Service
Clare credits his mother with inspiring him to public service as she belonged to the Jamaica Agricultural Society, the 4H Club, and her church. She built the foundational school and library in Bamboo and succeeded in bringing telephone service to the community. She emphasized the importance of service and education in her son, and he honored her influence by continuing to follow a path of service after he came to the US.
Gives Thanks for Consul General’s Recognition
In an interview with Caribbean Life, Clare noted that recognizing his achievements with TJB was a testament to the core group of volunteers who have contributed toward his vision of helping athletes. He added that those at TJB take pride in their brand and their partners as they continue to focus on the welfare of Jamaican athletes who continue to astound the public with their achievements in track and field around the world. Clare, who is the managing director of Caribbean Immigrant Services, Inc. based in Jamaica, Queens, New York, expressed his gratitude for the award and promised to continue to “play his part” in finding opportunities for young Jamaicans through sports.
Team Jamaica Bickle Supports Caribbean Athletes Abroad
Team Jamaica Bickle is the leader in providing support services to athletes from the Caribbean, especially those from Jamaica, who participate in the yearly Penn Relays Carnival held at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The organization was established in 1994 with the motto, “Our Athletes, Our Ambassadors.” Its services apply to a delegation of some 650 students and coaches from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana, and Grenada. It has extended its services to students and coaches from Belize, the Bahamas, Barbados, and the US Virgin Islands over its years in operation. TJB provides meals, physical therapy, mentorship, medical service, ground transportation, and subsidized hotel and airfare. It was the first organization to become a participating sponsor of the Penn Relays in 1999 and thus the first foreign flag flown at the Penn Relays was a Jamaican flag.