Earlier this week, it was announced that The LeBron James Foundation would be opening the “I Promise School” in Akron in the fall of 2018. The school is designed to help third and fourth grade students in the Akron Public Schools system that may be at risk of falling behind both in class, and in society.
This is another extension of James’ efforts to help his hometown and give the children of Akron a strong foundation for the rest of their lives. His foundation already pledged $41 million to help put over 1,100 kids in his program through college.
But as Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com broke down, this is yet another major step towards changing the lives of the children of Akron:
Beginning in 2021, students in James' mentoring program who graduate from an Akron public high school can get a scholarship to attend the University of Akron for free.
But this, the I Promise School, is a whole new ball game for James. It's a building with teachers and administrators and classrooms and discipline.
"At the end of the day this is not Cedar Point," James said. "This is a real thing, and we want our kids to have fun while learning. But, listen, we're going to be on them like a school should be because we want them to be successful, not only in the school but successful in life.
"We're gonna give them everything that they need and give them a criteria that they all can meet, depending on the individual."
Classes at the I Promise School will start in the summer, weeks before most Akron Public schools open, and the school days will go longer. That's because, in part, the children in James' program (and those who will be attending school) often come from environments where they could find trouble when the school day is over, or may not find nutritious meals at home.
Prior to Thursday’s win against the Atlanta Hawks, LeBron opened up about exactly what this accomplishment means to him:
LeBron says the school he's opening in Akron is the most important thing he's done as a professional. pic.twitter.com/OvPZAvJTFk— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 30, 2017
It’s inspiring to see how LeBron has used his accomplishments on the basketball court and the platform it’s provided him to promote change in the world around him. He has been one of the most socially conscious athletes of this era. But his generosity and dedication to his community is something we have almost never seen from an athlete.
The efforts he is making have the ability to create real change. While doing things like this shouldn’t be an expectation from athletes, LeBron is blazing a trail for future athletes to do more than just donate to causes that are meaningful to them. If you believe the existing system is flawed, go out and force change upon the world.