Julien Alfred launches foundation to empower St. Lucian youth: World champion returns home with vision of hope and opportunity

By April 04, 2024
Alfred with the Bowerman Award she won in December 2023. Alfred with the Bowerman Award she won in December 2023.

St. Lucia's beloved track sensation, Julien Alfred, World Indoor 60m champion, is poised to make a triumphant return to her homeland on Friday, April 5th, 2024, for a deeply significant purpose - the launch of the Julien Alfred Foundation.

Driven by a deeply rooted commitment to give back to her birthplace, Alfred, in an exclusive interview with Sportsmax.TV, revealed her heartfelt motivation behind the foundation's creation. Supported by her generous sponsors, Puma and First National Bank, along with her personal funds, the foundation aims to provide critical support to the island's youth, addressing pressing needs for school supplies and athletic equipment.

Reflecting on her own humble beginnings, the 2023 Bowerman Award winner expressed a burning desire to provide opportunities she lacked during her upbringing. "I just wanted to give back to the youth," she explained, "whether it's academically or sports-wise, I want to provide them with opportunities I wish I had at their age.

"I grew up without much, sometimes running without shoes or having to depend on like (Commonwealth champion) Levern Spencer; like one time she donated her shoes to me and some equipment as well.

"Growing up in poverty, you have some children that struggle with going to school; they are not able to go to school or seeing their companions with things they don’t have, so I think it would be a good idea to give back to the youth, just doing things that I wish I had at a young age, to help them grow in the sport or whatever they want to do."

Her journey from running barefoot to becoming the second-fastest woman of all time over 60m has instilled in Julien a profound sense of responsibility to uplift her community. Drawing inspiration from her studies in Youth and Community Studies at the University of Texas in Austin, she is determined to make a meaningful impact, starting with her alma mater, Leon Hess Secondary School, where many children face daunting challenges.

“It was something I always wanted, studying Youth and Community Studies. Doing community studies, I learned a lot about starting a foundation and working with the youth as well. Lots of children from my community who attend Leon Hess really struggle,” she revealed.

She also intends, through the foundation, to support local track clubs with equipment.

Originally intending a quiet launch, Julien's plans were swiftly altered as news of her impending arrival spread across the island. Despite the sudden spotlight, Julien remains humbled by the overwhelming support of her fellow St. Lucians.

“I was hoping to go home and launch silently but now that everybody knows that I am coming home, it’s completely different. It is a bit overwhelming. Getting the amount of support I get from St Lucians, I really appreciate it,” she remarked.

“It’s kind of hard to believe what has been happening in my life, knowing where I came from.”

Upon her arrival at Hewanorra International Airport, Julien will be greeted with an official welcome, followed by a motorcade to Castries, where she will meet with Prime Minister, The Honourable Philip J Pierre, and his Cabinet at the prime minister's official residence. The foundation's official launch is scheduled for Saturday morning, marking the beginning of a new chapter in Julien's journey to uplift and empower the youth of St. Lucia.

 

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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    The much-anticipated season openers for St Lucia’s Julien Alfred and Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, turned in contrasting results as both were left in the wake of American Sha’Carri Richardson at the end of the women’s 100m at the Diamond League Prefontaine Classics in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.

    Given the quality nature of the field, the event was expected to prove a close affair, but no real clash materialized as Richardson, the reigning World champion, opened her 100m account in impressive fashion with a brisk 10.83 seconds.

    Alfred, the World Indoor 60m champion, placed second in 10.93s as she utilised her quick start to good effect and led for most of the way, before being caught by Richardson, while Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith (10.98s), who was also opening her account in the event, placed third.

    Meanwhile, Thompson-Herah, the double Olympic champion, is still yet to rekindle her outstanding form of old, as she got up well from lane four, but quickly faded to the back of the field in 11.30s.

    American Christian Coleman also won the men’s 100m in a season’s best 9.95s, with runner-up Ferdinand Omanyala (9.98s), also clocking a season’s best. Another American Brandon Hicklin (10.08s) was third. Jamaica’s Ackeem Blake (10.12s) and Sandrey Davison with a personal best 10.13s, were fourth and fifth, while British Virgin Islands’ Rikkoi Brathwaite (10.19s) was sixth.

    In the field, Cuba’s World Indoor silver medallist Leyanis Perez Hernandez, topped the women’s triple jump event, as her 14.73m first effort was not to be denied. Try as they did, Dominica’s World Indoor champion and current world number one Thea Lafond (14.62m), and Jamaican Shanieka Ricketts, with a season’s best 14.55m, had to settle for the runners-up positions.

    Another Jamaica Kimberly Williams (13.74m) was seventh.

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