Photo credit: Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports

Do Good: The LeBron James Foundation and I Promise School

When my friends do cool stuff, I like to tell everyone about it. And my buddy LeBron James has really raised the bar on what it means to do something spectacular and give back at the same time. We all know that LeBron is considered the best basketball player in the world … and maybe the greatest player of all time. But his humanity might outrank his incredible athletic skill: This fall, LeBron experienced one of the proudest moments of his life—and this guy has won four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, three NBA Finals MVP Awards, and two Olympic gold medals—when The LeBron James Family Foundation partnered with the Akron Public Schools to open the I Promise School for at-risk kids.

The school identified 240 third- and fourth-graders who were in the public school system and who were really struggling, and gave them the opportunity of a lifetime: to be part of a groundbreaking new school that will hopefully become the new model for urban and public-education excellence. 

As a kid from Akron, LeBron knew firsthand how hard it can be for some kids to not only get a good education but to get to school safely or at all (during fourth grade, he missed 83 days of school). Instead of creating a charter school or underwriting scholarships to give kids access to private-school educations, I Promise is a true neighborhood school that is inclusive of its community. Among many other things, the I Promise School provides one teacher for 20 students, free school supplies, two meals and a snack daily, career and emotional support for parents, and the gift of granting its graduates full tuition to the University of Akron. The school currently serves 240 third- and fourth-graders, and will expand year by year with the goal of covering grades one through eight by 2022. 

“These kids are our future,” LeBron says, “and they have dreams that [are] bigger and greater than the city of Akron, than the state of Ohio, than the United States of America.” Click here to learn more about The LeBron James Foundation and I Promise School. 

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