As a part of LeBron James’ constant philanthropic efforts through the LeBron James Family Foundation, he is opening the I Promise Elementary and Secondary schools. On Monday, July 30, the school was debuted for the public.
LeBron James has made an impact in the NBA his entire career, starting as an 18-year-old straight out of high school. But before the fame and fortune, he was just a boy from Akron, Ohio trying to stay on a positive track.
Per Sports Illustrated, it is a joint project between the foundation and the Akron Public School District, as it is a public school for at-risk students. While public, placement is based on educational and socioeconomic backgrounds of students.
In a public announcement at the school’s opening, James says he wanted to build a school, “Because I know exactly what these 240 kids are going through…they’re the reason why this school is here today.”
The school will provide longer school days and years thanks to the dedication and commitment from a staff of 40 employees. “The most important thing we can give them is structure,” says James, “they just want someone to feel like we care.”
James even received kudos from the Obama Family:
James relied on his bike to get him to and from school and practice. It helped him stay out of trouble, so he is making sure the I Promise students have the same access. Beyond the list of included perks, the school provides a nurturing environment:
Having kids around my same age and we having the same goals in mind really stopped me from going the other way, and that’s what we have at this school. School is definitely about learning, strengthening your mind, but more importantly it’s about the friendship that you create…it builds so much character that will last forever.
-LeBron James, Public Address
I Promise elementary will focus primarily on third and fourth graders, but becoming a part of the program will carry the students through high school graduation. Their living conditions and resources will no longer hinder their futures, “by me being able to put something like this together, I want people to know that these kids still have the same opportunity as everyone else,” says James.
He concluded his opening with a final statement before raising the school’s I Promise flag, “If i’m playing in Los Angeles or not, Akron, Ohio is always home for me.”
The school year will start in September and has already begun providing resources for the students via their website.