On Monday LeBron James changed the game once again by opening up the I Promise public school in Akron, OH. The school will serve low-income and at-risk students in his hometown and is set to not only improve students lives during school, but outside of it as well.
I Promise started out as an Akron-based non-profit whose focus was elevating students from disadvantaged backgrounds. I Promise is a full-fledged Akron Public School – not a voucher receiving charter.
The school opened Monday with 240 students spread between the third and fourth grade. Fourth grade is an important year for students as it’s when they transition from learning to read, to using reading as a tool of learning. It also holds a lot of significance for LeBron. During his fourth grade year, he missed about 82 days of school – there are 100 teaching days – due to he and his mother having to move a bunch of times. He understands the struggle many of these students have experienced. The plan is to add second and fifth grades in 2019 and then expand to a first through eighth grade lineup by 2022.
One of I Promise’s pillars is building connections to its students and its community. If your home life is in chaos, it can make going to school and learning a struggle. Where LeBron’s school differs is that it offers assistant to parents including job services, an on site food pantry, plus counseling services.
They also provide teachers with all their supplies so that they won’t have to come out of pocket to ensure the children are receiving the same benefits as schools in better funded areas or private institutions.
No matter how you feel about LeBron James on the court, the legacy and opportunities he’s created through basketball is incredible. When people say it’s bigger than sports, this is the type of impact the are talking about.
photos via @KingJames