Love him or hate him, you can't deny the greatness that is LeBron James. This time we're not talking about his prowess on the court, we're talking about his giving back to the community amongst the other things he does off the court. Businessman, Producer, Philanthropist, Dad....he does it all and up to this point, he's done it with out any real trouble. To that, we add the fact that he just opened his first public school in his hometown of Akron, OH. This school is a collaboration between his foundation, The LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron Public Schools.
This week, LeBron, his family and his close friends combined their talents and opened up the "I Promise School, not too far from where he grew up. The school offers free tuition, free uniforms, free bicycles and helmets, free transportation for students within a two mile radius and one of the most important services; free breakfast, lunch and snacks.
His reach extends past the kids in attendance as well. The school will provide a food pantry for families, GEDs and job placement services for parents and guaranteed tuition to the University of Akron for every student who graduates the program and finishes high school. Considering the rising cost of tuition these days, that is a definite weight lifted off the parents considering what college tuition could cost by the time they graduate.
The school is poised to help at risk students, 240 third- and fourth-graders will make up the inaugural class at the "I Promise School". James considered himself an at risk student, noting that he once missed 83 days of school in one year, when he and his mother moved from sofa to sofa.
“It is about true wrap-around support, true family integration and true compassion,” Brandi Davis, I Promise principal and Akron native, told USA Today. The school will be open from 9am to 5pm, with a school year that lasts from July to May. Of course there are non-traditional perks that the school will also offer it's students, the school will have STEM courses as well as promote emotional wellness by offering a supportive circle to help the kids refocus on their work post lunch. What about recess you may ask? LeBron has that covered too - there will be a trainer on staff and as mentioned earlier, each child will receive a bike and a helmet - as a nod back to LeBron's childhood and his bike being his main mode of transportation around Akron.
With plans to expand the school, from staffing to enrolling additional grades, LeBron and his foundation along with other partners have already begun to raise money to increase staffing and programming. The school plans to increase enrollment to grades 1-8 by the year 2022.
“We’re going to be on ’em like a school should be because we want them to be successful not only in the school, but successful in life,” James told Theresa Cottom of the Akron Beacon-Journal. “We’re gonna give ’em everything that they need and give them criteria that they all can meet, depending on the individual.
Well done, LeBron. One of the things we here at CleatSheet love is the power of sports and the influence it has over others, so using your influence to give back, makes you the greatest in our book.