In November 2017, the LeBron James Family Foundation approached the Akron school board to talk about assisting in the creation of a school designed to help at-risk kids who are lagging behind in their studies and struggling at home.
On Monday, the doors to the “I Promise School” were opened to welcome 240 third and fourth graders and offer them help with education and support, as well as educational, career and emotional support for parents.
The school’s lobby walls are lined with 114 pairs of LeBron’s game-worn sneakers.
People can even buy a pair of LeBron’s kicks, which is a great way for the Akron school to raise money.
The school hopes to expand year by year, including second and fifth graders next year until it could cover all 1-8 grades by 2022.
On Sunday, LeBron expressed his excitement, tweeting,
“The jitters before the first day of school are real right now!!! Tomorrow is going to be one of the greatest moments (if not the greatest) of my life when we open the #IPROMISE School. This skinny kid from Akron who missed 83 days of school in the 4th grade had big dreams.”
Those students who complete the program will be given free tuition to the University of Akron starting in 2021.
In all, LeBron and his foundation leaders hope that more than 1,200 children will pass through the program and into college by 2029.
LeBron made an emotional statement about his motivation to make such an investment:
“I know these kids, basically more than they know themselves. I’ve walked these same streets. I’ve rode the same bikes on the streets they ride on. I went through the same emotions — the good, the bad, the adversity.
Everything these kids are going through — the drugs, the violence, the guns, everything they’re going through as kids, I know.
For me to be in a position where I have the resources, the finance, the people, the structure and the city around me — why not?”