Inner-city Akron native and arguably the best basketball player to ever live, LeBron James, opened a new public school in his hometown neighborhood. The institution, ‘I Promise’ aims to serve inner-city kids who face the challenges that come with growing up in poverty. James went through the system first hand and made it out on top of the basketball world and wants to solidify his legacy.
James issued the following statement about the ‘I Promise’ school:
“This school is so important to me because our vision is to create a place for the kids in Akron who need it most – those that could fall through the cracks if we don’t do something. We’ve learned over the years what works and what motivates them, and now we can bring all of that together in one place along with the right resources and experts. If we get to them early enough, we can hopefully keep them on the right track to a bigger and brighter future for themselves and their families.”
The school is a non-profit institution and is a part of the Akron Public School system. The public school general fund has spent $2.9 million to start the school and will go towards paying teacher salaries, supplies and other things that promote a positive learning environment. Other funding has come from the LeBron James Family Foundation and serveral community partners.
The school currently has 240 students that are in the third and fourth grade. By 2020, the school aims to educate 1,000 students ranging from grades 1-8.
The director of the LeBron James Family Foundation, Michele Campbell, issued the following statement:
“We’ve brought this amazing family of partners together to eliminate many of the barriers our students and families face, and we believe it’s truly going to change lives. It’s all because of LeBron’s commitment to Akron and his ability to rally people around these kids and support them so they can have a better future. That’s how generational change is created, and LeBron, his foundation and our partners are in this for the long haul.”
James listed the many things that the ‘I Promise’ school will provide including “free tuition, free uniforms, free bicycle and helmet, free transportation within 2 miles, free breakfast, lunch and snack, food pantry items for families, GEDs and job placement services for parents and guaranteed tuition to the University of Akron for every student who graduates”.