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Over 30% of the population of the Caribbean is under the age of thirty.  Many of these are unattached, i.e. unemployed and unemployable.  ICS plans include the development of a program called Life Skills Empowerment and Entrepreneurial Development (LifeSEED) which will focus on developing entrepreneurial skills among youth of all ages.  LifeSEED is envisaged as a  premiere training program that will promote and support empowerment and micro-enterprise development among Caribbean youth in the US as well as in the Caribbean.  Through collaboration with Caribbean and American businesses, The LifeSEED Seed Clubs will train unemployed and unattached youth in communities with life and business development skills.   THe LifeSEED Clubs will also engage students at the elementary and high schol level. 

LifeSEED will focus on youth from age 8  to age 30, to help them develop skills in needed for 21st century success.   The curriculum will include team-building, conflict resolution, leadership development, communication as well as the practical lessons of starting and managing a business. The program will also include sessions that examine ethics in business, corporate social responsibility, and the global marketplace.  LifeSEED will build on experienced professionals in country who will conduct already proven training programs.  ICS will supplement with guest speakers from the diaspora who will invest mentor and/or financial capital in the program.  Students who graduate from an approved training program will have fine-tuned and developed their own business ideas, created a business plan, and be ready to launch a micro business with a team of their peers. 

The pilots being developed envisage strategic partnerships with organizations such as the Competitiveness Company, RISE, AIR and Junior Achievment   in Jamaica; The Ripple Institute in St. Kitts; and the African Methodist and Episcopalian Church in Haiti.  The programs will focus on Stage Two of previously funded projects by USAID or other donors such as Bee-Keeping, Ornamental Fish Farming and Greenhouse Farming.  Under the partnership, ICS will provide mentors and some financial support from the Caribbean Diaspora and Friends of the Caribbean.  It will also seek to provide mentorship through connecting local partners  with skilled business leaders and volunteers both in country and in the US.

To date, ICS has made donations to support programs of the Christian School for the Deaf in Mandeville, Jamaica; and the Marcus Garvey High School and Operation Restoration Christian School and  Junior Achievement Jamaica.  ICS' vision is to empower youth to become economically self-sufficient and to build strong financially vibrant communities.


The ASENATH E. NELSON CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE will comprise the existing ASENATH E. NELSON Special Education Unit established in 1978 to address the needs of children with learning challenges, and a ICS’ LifeSEED Club to promote Life Skills Empowerment and Entrepreneurial development training.   

The Asenath E. Nelson Special Education Unit was established in 1978 upon her return from Wales where she studied Special Education. The goal of the Unit is to provide holistic education to children with special needs from within the Harbour View community and its extended communities. Its programs and resources are funded primarily by the School of Hope, and the Ministry of Education. The students of the Unit are fully integrated into all the programs and activities of the Harbour View Primary School.  Mrs. Nelson who went on to secure double Master’s degrees from Nova Southeastern University in Florida - in Teaching; and in Special Education in 1983, remained committed to the vision of the Unit to also serve as a teaching lab for training student teachers; and was a frequent visitor and guest speaker, even after her retirement. 


Mrs. Nelson was also a firm believer in the vision of the Institute of Caribbean Studies in Washington DC, (founded by Dr. Claire Nelson, her daughter) and ICS’ LifeSEED Club program. In that regard, she assisted in the early development and funding of the first program at Operation Restoration Christian School in Trench Town, with donations of musical instruments for the establishment of a school band. 

Both the Special Education Unit and the LifeSEED Club, will benefit from the establishment of a Computer Laboratory which will form the backbone of programming for training children in the coding and other computer literacy skills needed for future, as well as research and self-learning skills need for development of high performing students of the future.  The Empowerment Development curriculum will feature training in critical thinking and problem solving, while the Entrepreneurial Development training will focus on both social and commercial enterprise skills development.   

Current Principal of the school Mr. Lawrence Wright states “I envision Harbour View Primary School as a leader for the transformational education needed for Jamaica’s future.  The school inspires children with all types of learning diversity to fulfill their potential through S.T.E.M and other specialized programs in a culture of excellence and respect for all learners.  It is our goal to ensure that all children, view learning as fundamental to success in life and pursue a personal goal of excellence.  I see the establishment of the Asenath E. Nelson Center of Excellence as a valuable key to the accomplishment of this vison. Learning is indeed living.”

The design of Center program will be based on the Youth for Excellence Program that was the dream of Asenath Nelson, which she wished to establish to promote excellence of body, mind and spirit – to help uphold  moral and ethical and spiritual values in the school environment.



Financial Donations are welcome. 

As are donations and/or  investments of time and talent e.g.

Guest Speakers, Reading Tutors, Math Tutors, Computer Coders, Chess Teachers.

For more information on becoming a Volunteer please contact



Operation Restoration Christian School in Trench Town, Jamaica, was selected as the first recipient of ICS Caribbean Community Development Program.  Situated in a battle-scarred area of Kingston's inner city, Operation Restoration stands as an oasis of peace and a beacon of hope for the community.  The ICS-funded summer camp was the first opportunity for many of the students to express their artistic creativity, and as indicated in the letters below, the teachers and students were very appreciative and optimistic about the impact and future growth of the program.  ICS plans to work with the school to assist in the development of a micro-entrepreneurial project based on the plastic arts.  ICS also supported students from the Elifrey Pratt Dance School in Baltimore to attend the summer institute at the Jamaica School of Dance and to perform at the Operation Restoration School while in Jamaica.  ICS will  work with the Operation Restoration School to develop a strategic business plan and to seek in kind and other grant assistance to make the micro-enterprise project at Operation Restoration a reality.

Testimonial from Teacher: Deborah Folkes
I am a teacher here at the Restoration Christian School, and I also live in the community.  I am writing this letter of appreciation with tears in my heart.  As a teacher I experience daily what these children are going through, and sometimes I cry when I hear their depressing stories.  But I know God has brought me here for a purpose.  I am so glad that there is hope for us because you made that possible by sending the musical set.  In the midst of darkness there is always a ray of sunshine and through your rays our school is shining and the birds are singing and sweet!  Yes, sweet music is playing!  Not the music we are accustomed to with violence and obscenity, but a rhythm we are making ourselves. A rhythm that was long lost but because of your generosity we can beat the rhythm of the drums a different way slow, steady, still and peaceful.  Throughout our community we are going to pass on this peace.  Thank you for giving our children this opportunity of change through music.
Testimonial from Student:  Shadine Mossop, Age 13
We thank you for the musical instrument you send us.  We are very glad that you sent them because we have started to learn a lot from them and we intend to take very good care of them.  We also thank you for the sewing machine.  This will help the boys and girls to lean how to make or mend their own clothes.  The kiln for pottery work will give us a chance to display our creative talents in making things like cups, plates and other porcelain items.  Thank you for all of these things you send is because we see very good things coming out of them.  We appreciate them very much.

Advancing the Interests of Caribbean Americans

Institute of Caribbean Studies  (ICS)Washington DC
1629 K Street NW, Ste 300
Washington DC 20001
Phone: 202.638.0460