Lebron James may be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers, but he has no intention of leaving his hometown without making an indelible impression. For years, James has been investing in his hometown, Akron, Ohio, but his most recent venture is his biggest, most impactful to date.
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On July 30, the school, I Promise, opened its doors to welcome the inaugural class of third and fourth graders, according to TIME
. Though it is not the first of its kind in that it’s a celebrity-funded school, it is very unique in its own right. Get to know the Lebron James I Promise School:
What is I Promise?
I Promise began as a program that identified “at-risk” students in the public school system in Akron, Ohio, who were trailing their peers academically. The I Promise Program would then “wrap its arms around” those kids through resources, mentorship and encouragement in order to stay on track for graduation, as stated by the Lebron James Family Foundation
The school is following the same model and opening its doors to 240 students that are trailing their peers by a year or two academically. It is starting with just third and fourth-graders but hopes to extend to grades first through eighth by 2020. Unlike most celebrity-funded schools, I Promise is actually a public school; however, it operates from 9 am – 5 pm every weekday with an extended school year calendar that ranges from July to May. It also offers summer camps in STEM
during the seven-week summer break.
How does it serve families?
I Promise isn’t just for elementary-aged students. It seeks to serve and support the entire family. According to TIME
, the school will offer GED classes and job placement assistance for parents. Additionally, the all-day, all-year school and camp schedule means parents don’t have to find and pay for after-school or summer care.
While at school, students receive breakfast, lunch and snacks for free, and they have access to a fitness instructor to help guide and direct in healthy living. And because James enjoyed riding his bike so much as a kid, he also gifted every student a free bike and helmet.
What are the benefits beyond primary and secondary education?
Lebron James and the Lebron James Family Foundation
want to come alongside students and parents that need a boost and help them through the elementary and middle school years – but their expectations and support won’t stop there. For those students that attend I Promise and graduate from high school, James and his foundation have offered to pay their entire tuition
to Akron University.
Whether you love or hate him on the court, Lebron James has proved that his heart is as big as his trophies and pockets. The investments that he’s made in his community and in I Promise will have a real, lasting impact on those that have benefitted from his generosity for years to come.