Ever since he made it to the NBA back in 2003, LeBron James has become Akron’s biggest pride. He’s worked his tail off to be a good example for young people, and especially stand out among other athletes of color. James is always giving back to his community, and considering he grew up on a tough environment, he’s well aware of the struggles of poor children growing up, and that’s why he decided to found the ‘I Promise’ school at his hometown. Opened in 2018, LeBron James’ vowed to fully pay for all of the expenses of all of the at-risk students that decided to enroll in its facilities, currently located at 400 West Market Street, Akron, Ohio.
LeBron Knows the Struggle
Back in 2011, LeBron James addressed the issue of high school dropouts and decided he had to step in and do something about it, mostly because of kids dropping out of school turned to the streets to find the money. Six years later, The LeBron James Foundation turned to the Akron school board with the school project, after spending a lot of time researching and putting together a group of experts to carry on this admirable work. LeBron James was always quite emphatic of at-risk kids because he knew the struggles of a young man trying to stay in school while his single mother is working overtime to keep a roof on top of his head. James was constantly forced to skip school and struggled throughout his entire childhood, so he vowed to do whatever it took to prevent other kids from going through what he had to go through when he was growing up.
“I know these kids basically more than they know themselves. I’ve walked the same streets, I rode the same bikes on the streets they ride on, I went through the same emotions, the good, the bad, the adversity. Everything they’re going through as kids I know and for me to be in a position where I have the resources, the finances, the people, the structure, and the city around me, why not?”, James claimed when asked about why he wanted to fund this initiative.
“Nothing is given. Everything is earned”
All of the students that attend the ‘I Promise’ school also get free uniforms, enjoy career placement services, groceries and food for the kids and their families, bicycles, and helmets for every child, free transportation and even GEDs. Once they’re out of school, The LeBron James Foundation and JP Chase Morgan foundation also give the students free tuition for the University of Akron, but students must graduate with a grade of 3.0 or more in order to be eligible for this benefit.
More athletes should take note of these kinds of initiatives and give back to the communities that made them the successful men and women they are nowadays. If every millionaire was as much as a philanthropist as LeBron is, there’s no doubt things would be a lot different right now. And that’s why this school and LeBron James are two of Ohio’s greatest points of pride.