LeBron James and his foundation ‘LeBron James Family Foundation‘ on Sunday, in collaboration with the Akron (Ohio) Public Schools, launched a new elementary school for at-risk children in his hometown.
The school called the I Promise School was created to be a place where at-risk students can attend school and be given an opportunity to thrive despite difficult family and life situations.
The idea of the school is modeled around LeBron’s early childhood where he missed much of the fourth grade because of his living conditions.
In a snippet of a video posted on the uninterrupted Instagram page, LeBron said: ‘I know these kids… Basically more than they know themselves, I’ve walked those streets, I rode the same bikes they ride on… I went through the same emotions – the good, the bad, the adversity…. Everything that these kids are going through – the drugs the violence, the guns everything that they are going through as kids I know’.
Another video shows the basketball champion telling why he built the school.
“I know exactly what these 240 kids are going through… I’ve been there. They’re the reason why this school is here today,” he says.
ESPN reports that the ‘I Promise School‘ will begin with two grades – third and fourth – with plans to expand in the coming years.
The school has a longer school day and longer school year with more than 40 staff members to accelerate the development of children who qualify for the program based on performance and socioeconomic factors.
ESPN further reports that for those who complete the program, James has arranged for free tuition to the University of Akron starting in 2021. He has also created a program for parents of the at-risk children to return to complete their high school education.