LeBron James has quite the resume. From four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, two Olympic gold medals in basketball, a budding acting career and countless endorsements, the Ohio native is using his status and wealth to give back. On Monday, James and his family foundation launched the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
The school which hosts 240 third and fourth grade, at-risk students, “will operate with a longer-than-normal school year, with a focus on accelerated learning to bring kids up to speed who otherwise might be lagging,” SB Nation reports.
The school operates as a public, non-charter school but is taking their role of educators one step further and enriching their student’s lives outside the classroom as well.
Pictures of LeBron James’ I Promise School, which opened in Akron, Ohio today. pic.twitter.com/dOZtwWL8L7
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 30, 2018
The school will offer family and job services that include a GED program for parents, a food pantry, housing assistance and a seven-week summer program for students to ensure they do not start the new school year behind. They refer to this as the “wrap-around” approach. James was also adamant that every student receives a bike, because when he was a child, his bike was the only way for him to get away from dangerous parts of his city.
The school is also staffed with intervention specialists and therapists who are able to, “teach the skills children need to handle trauma they see in their daily lives,” The LA Timesreports. Many of the students come from single-parent income households, single-parent households, and some are even homeless.
The students were randomly selected from a pool of Akron students who’s reading levels were at least a year or two behind, and on Monday when the school opened, James spoke outside the newly renovated brick building to a crowd of students, staff and fans who were all eager to begin this new journey.
Principal Brandi Davis told The LA Times, “We are going to be that groundbreaking school that will be a nationally recognized model for urban and public school excellence.We are letting people know that it is about true wraparound support. True family integration, true compassion.”