NBA star LeBron James is using his platform to advocate for education. Through his organization—The LeBron James Family Foundation—he will open up a public school in his hometown Akron, Ohio, USA Todayreported.
The educational institution—dubbed the “I Promise” school—was recently approved by the city’s board, the news outlet writes. It’s specifically designed for students who have faced obstacles and setbacks when it comes to excelling in school. In efforts to get students who have fallen behind in their studies on the right track, the new school will have extended school days and start classes during the summer season to ensure that learning and education becomes a priority in the lives of its students. The school is an extension of his foundation’s “I Promise” program that was created to prevent kids from dropping out of school. According to the news outlet, the school is slated to accept third and fourth graders next fall and other grades will subsequently be added in the coming years.
James said that his experiences while coming of age in Akron inspired him to open the school. Through his organization’s initiatives, he wants to provide the youth in his hometown with a sense of hope. “I walked those streets, and it was just like there’s no way I’m going to be able to get out of this situation. I just thought about that every day. I had dreams and I had mentors, and they allowed my dreams to become who I am today,” said James, according to the source. “The basketball thing, I love it and I enjoy it, but to give back and open up a school, that’s something that will last way beyond my years.”
USA Today reports that James’ company SpringHill Entertainment and the production company Warrior Poets will team up to work on a documentary about the creation of the school.
In an age where activism and sports are intertwined now more than ever, James has continually used his platform to speak out about social and political issues. This summer he called out Donald Trump for his failure to condemn White supremacists who were involved in the Charlottesville chaos, he’s been outspoken about the NFL’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick, and during the Cavaliers’ season-opener against the Celtics this season he wore sneakers that read “equality.”
Basketball superstar LeBron James plans to open a public school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, for students at risk of falling behind in academics. The I Promise School will open for elementary students in the fall of 2018 with support from James’ family foundation, according to plans revealed on Tuesday.
It plans classes for students in third and fourth grades during its first year, and will expand to include grades 1 though 8 by 2022. The school will draw students who “are at-risk in reading and who are in need of additional academic intervention before falling further behind their peers,” the LeBron James Family Foundation said in a statement. James, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ star forward, was raised by a single mother. He entered the NBA in 2003 after emerging as a basketball phenom at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron.
James spoke about the school at an event Tuesday in a historic Akron theater. “Even though I was underprivileged,” he said, he was lucky to grow up with mentors, his mother and close friends.“They would not let me get off course,” he said. ”A lot of the kids I see today in the community and all over the world are not lucky enough to have the same mentors and the same people around that can help their dreams become reality.” The I Promise School aims to provide a supportive environment for students who lack guidance, James said.
“We definitely understand how important it is to create an environment where our most challenged and at risk students feel safe, supported an cared for,” said Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James at the event as a wall of adults in “We are family” T-shirts stood on stage. A formal proposal for the school will be submitted for school board approval in October. James has previously offered Akron kids educational opportunities. He created 1,100 full-tuition scholarships in 2015 to the University of Akron for teens who completed an “I Promise” program that included goals for attendance and grades.
LeBron James is setting the bar with his latest venture — a lifetime deal with Nike that’s the first of its kind in the apparel juggernaut’s 44-year history.
The company made the announcement on Monday, ESPN reports, although full details of the deal haven’t been released. Nike and James first came together in 2003, before the star was a member of the NBA. At 18 years old, he was given a seven-year Nike endorsement contract worth just over $90 million. The risk paid off; LeBron has gone on to become one of the most successful players and businessmen in the field.
The deal surpasses previous partnerships between Nike and other players like Michael Jordan and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. And it’s a first for Nike, who’s never completed a lifetime deal with an athlete. Both parties released statements.
“We can confirm that we have agreed to a lifetime relationship with LeBron that provides significant value to our business, brand, and shareholders,” Nike said in a statement. “We have already built a strong LeBron business over the past 12 years, and we see the potential for this to continue to grow throughout his playing career and beyond.”
“It meant a lot to me even when I signed my first deal just to be with Nike, and it means even more that they’ve given me this,” James said. “It’s like I said, very humbling and grateful, and I’m going to continue to do my job and represent the brand the best way I can like I know how. Hopefully, people see that.”
Well, now James is making sure he helps those who may be the parents of some of those kids receiving the free college education. According to Cleveland.com, as part of a partnership with Project Learn of Summit County, which helps adults get their GED certificates, parents of the children enrolled in the LeBron James Family Foundation’s scholastic-mentorship program can get financial and emotional support to obtain high school equivalency credentials and learn other life skills.
Adults in the program will receive an inspirational letter from James, Hewlett-Packard laptops they can keep if they finish the classes and free bus passes and parking to attend class.
“We are so excited about the I Promise, Too program because a huge part of our foundation’s work [with children] centers around parent involvement,” Michele Campbell, executive director of the LeBron James Family Foundation, said in a news release. “This is an opportunity to help our parents make strides in their own academic careers so they are better equipped to help our students keep their educational promises. We can’t reach our students without their parents’ support, so this program is monumental for our families and their futures.”
According to usatoday.com, NBA sensation LeBron James continued to give back to the city that raised him by announcing Thursday that he’d partnered with the University of Akron to provide guaranteed four-year scholarships for any children who complete his “I Promise” program via The LeBron James Family Foundation.
As of now, Akron and James’ foundation are still hammering out the exact criteria of the scholarships; for instance, students will have to graduate from a high school within Akron’s public school system, achieve certain standardized test scores, and fulfill a community service requirement.