Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 36, is one of the fastest women in the world. The eight-time Olympic medalist and five-time 100m world champion is highly revered for her speed, world-wide success, and fun-loving personality, and she spoke in-depth with NBC Sports about her past career milestones, goals looking forward, how she draws strength as an athlete from being a mom, and so much more. You can read that interview here but the Mommy Rocket has another passion that has directly impacted the lives of children in her native Jamaica.
Fraser-Pryce has devoted her time, energy, and resources to giving back to the community. She discusses her humanitarian work and the importance of representation below.
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Tell me about the Pocket Rocket Foundation and your work with UNICEF and why you do all that you do.
Fraser-Pryce: I started the Pocket Rocket Foundation in 2012-2013 because I wanted to give back after all of the help I received growing up in Waterhouse. I want to give student athletes that same help and create lasting change and provide just a stepping stone for them to create a new life for themselves. I believe when we invest in our young people, those individuals will help contribute to the positive development here in Jamaica. We give scholarships that take students from second form to sixth form (eighth to twelfth grade) and cover everything from books, tuition, uniforms, and lunch. Working with UNICEF has been equally rewarding and it’s nice to have a platform to speak with young girls about motherhood and so much more.
Your basic school (similar to elementary school in the U.S.) was recently named the Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Early Childhood Institution, how special was that moment to you?
Fraser-Pryce: It’s a great feeling knowing that’s what I started. When I was going there as a child, my mom didn’t have the money to send me to that school and they gave me basically a free ride. They helped create the person I am today so to have that school be named in my honor gives me a lot of pride. It’s great to see the legacy that I’ve left in the community of Waterhouse.
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You wrote a children’s book, I Am a Promise, in 2020. What motivated that effort and do you have any more plans for writing?
Fraser-Pryce: Yeah, I definitely have more plans for writing! My grandmother always told me that I am a promise and we always sang that song in Sunday School. It’s important for kids to know that truth. I wanted the book to be a blueprint for kids to dream and see themselves beyond what they could ever imagine. I want it to teach them to not tarnish the image they see in the mirror but to see that, like me, they have a future outside of their circumstances.
What Black Beauty means to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce:
Check out the full interview with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce here!