LeBron James will open a public school for at-risk children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, according to the Associated Press.
The LeBron James Family Foundation has partnered with Akron Public Schools to charter the “I Promise School,” dedicated to students who might otherwise be left behind. The school is set to open for third and fourth graders in the fall of 2018. The school will expand to grades 1-8 in 2022. “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,” said James, a four-time MVP and three-time NBA champion, via the Associated Press.
Two years ago, James partnered with the University of Akron to provide full scholarships for students in his program who qualify. His foundation’s Wheels for Education and Akron I Promise Network programs have helped expose students to multiple career paths they may not have otherwise discovered.
James spoke about the school at an event held on Tuesday, April 11th in a historic Akron theater. “Even though I was underprivileged,” he said, he was lucky to grow up with mentors, his mother and close friends.“They would not let me get off course,” he said. ”A lot of the kids I see today in the community and all over the world are not lucky enough to have the same mentors and the same people around that can help their dreams become reality.” The I Promise School aims to provide a supportive environment for students who lack guidance, James said.
“We definitely understand how important it is to create an environment where our most challenged and at risk students feel safe, supported an cared for,” said Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James at the event as a wall of adults in “We are family” T-shirts stood on stage. A formal proposal for the school will be submitted for school board approval in October. James has previously offered Akron kids educational opportunities. He created 1,100 full-tuition scholarships in 2015 to the University of Akron for teens who completed an “I Promise” program that included goals for attendance and grades.