The young cricketers of Deacon’s Primary School were yesterday graced with the presence of former West Indies cricketer Desmond Haynes who presented them with cricket gear.
The legend and founder of the Desmond Haynes Foundation left one simple but thought-provoking message for the little ones when he told them: “education is key”.
“When you are making money from a profession, you [have] to be smart enough to know that the money is being utilized in a way that is benefitting you, therefore education is key,” Haynes added.
He noted it was wrong that cricketers often had to give up academics in order to play cricket for the West Indies.
“When I was going to school, if you could run fast you used to get a scholarship; if you could play tennis . . . get a scholarship. But there was nothing that was provided for a young cricketer who wanted to play cricket for the West Indies but also wanted to do well academically,” he said.
Haynes said the formation of the Desmond Haynes Foundation was a response to the lack of scholarships offered to young cricketers. He explained that the Foundation was his way of giving back to the community that helped him immensely when he was a young man.
“The reason why I’m doing all of this is because I was brought up in a little area in Holders Hill where a lot of people helped me. I used to wear guys’ clothes, I used to play cricket in a guy’s shoes,” explained Haynes.
The Desmond Haynes Scholarship offered by the Foundation will act as a bridge for those cricketers who want to continue their academic studies.
“We got to find a way that they [the cricketers] can be the best of both worlds,” Haynes said.
The scholarship to date has been of assistance to three young cricketers, each receiving a $1,000 grant to assist in school or cricketing expenses.
The Foundation will also be offering $40,000 to any young cricketer looking for financial aid to study overseas or locally after secondary school.
“The Desmond Haynes Foundation is willing to give you guys $40,000 (US$20,000) to go overseas and study after you leave school or if you want to study here, but you got to be a cricketer,” declared Haynes.
The Foundation plans to host a golf tournament in February 2016, and from the funds accumulated Haynes hopes to help another cricketer. Haynes stressed the assistance was also for female cricketers.