LeBron James opens I Promise School in Ohio, offers free uniforms, lunch, bikes and more


LeBron James may be a Los Angeles Laker, but Akron, Ohio, will always be home.

On Monday, before heading to California, James unveiled his I Promise School, which will benefit at-risk students. It is public and part of Akron Public Schools, which paid $2.9 million from its general fund for the cost of most benefits, salaries, supplies and essential elements for the school, according to Akron Beacon Journal.

>> Read more trending news 

“It’s kind of a bittersweet moment right now, sitting here in my school that I’m opening around these kids, around this community and then at the same time, making a switch to the other coast, being a part of the Lakers now,” James told ESPN Monday. “It’s always a tough decision when you leave home or you leave an organization that you’ve been with for multiple years.”

The Akron Beacon Journal reported that the I Promise School opened to 240 academically at-risk third- and fourth-graders. Anything not covered by Akron Public Schools has been paid for by the LeBron James Family Foundation and community partners. 

“This school is so important to me because our vision is to create a place for the kids in Akron who need it most – those that could fall through the cracks if we don’t do something,” James said in a statement prior to the opening of the school. “We’ve learned over the years what works and what motivates them, and now we can bring all of that together in one place along with the right resources and experts. If we get to them early enough, we can hopefully keep them on the right track to a bigger and brighter future for themselves and their families.”

Related: Photos: LeBron James through the years

More than $2 million went toward upgrading the school’s temporary home, a building owned by the district. Furniture, landscaping, classroom makeovers and staffing for smaller class sizes and technology were made possible with the funds. By 2022, Cassius reported, the school will have about 1,000 students in first through eighth grades.

“We’ve brought this amazing family of partners together to eliminate many of the barriers our students and families face, and we believe it’s truly going to change lives,” Michele Campbell, director of the LeBron James Family Foundation, told Akron Beacon Journal. “It’s all because of LeBron’s commitment to Akron and his ability to rally people around these kids and support them so they can have a better future.

“That’s how generational change is created, and LeBron, his foundation and our partners are in this for the long haul.”

ESPN reported that the school has longer hours than most -- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. -- and a longer school year, but James has a number of things in place to make things easier for students and their families -- some of which was a challenge for him as a student.

CNN reported that every student gets breakfast, lunch and snacks, a free bike and helmet, free uniforms, and free transportation for students who are more than 2 miles away. The school also has a food pantry for families.

Students who follow the program laid out by the foundation will have free college tuition at the University of Akron. The foundation also has a program that will allow parents will be able to earn their high school diplomas and other continuing education, according to ESPN.

“We want every kid who walks through this school to be inspired,” James told CNN. “To come away with something. Something where they can give back and it doesn’t matter -- it could be anything, but just for kids, in general, all they want to know is that someone cares. And when they walk through that door, I hope they know that someone cares.”


Reader Comments


Next Up in Nation & World

Skip Hop convertible high chairs recalled over fall, injury risks
Skip Hop convertible high chairs recalled over fall, injury risks

Parents of small children, take note. Skip Hop announced last week that it is recalling more than 32,000 of its Tuo convertible high chairs over potential fall and injury risks. According to the recall notice, "the legs on the high chair can detach from the seat."  The company said it has received 17 reports of the chairs' legs...
Boy, 15, killed after gun goes off in friend's home, police say
Boy, 15, killed after gun goes off in friend's home, police say

A 15-year-old Pennsylvania boy was killed in New Castle after a gun in the hand of a 19-year-old discharged, according to police.  Police were dispatched to the 400 block of Liberty Street around 1:36 a.m. Saturday for an unresponsive male. When they arrived, officers saw Zach Mulford, 15, lying on the ground with an apparent gunshot...
Philadelphia apartment fire: 180 firefighters battling massive blaze
Philadelphia apartment fire: 180 firefighters battling massive blaze

About 180 firefighters are working to extinguish a massive five-alarm blaze at a Philadelphia apartment building, WPVI reported early Monday. Officials said the fire broke out about 2:15 a.m. at the Overbrook Gardens apartments, according to KYW-TV. At least two firefighters suffered minor injuries, authorities said.  >> Read more...
5 children, including 1-year-old twins, killed in Ohio house fire
5 children, including 1-year-old twins, killed in Ohio house fire

Five children are dead after a fire broke out at a home in Youngstown, Ohio, late Sunday, multiple news outlets are reporting. According to WFMJ, firefighters responded to 434 Parkcliffe Ave. after a neighbor reported the fire about 11:30 p.m. Sunday. The children’s mother, who jumped from a window to escape the blaze, said five children were...
Massachusetts firefighter dies after battling 5-alarm blaze
Massachusetts firefighter dies after battling 5-alarm blaze

Massachusetts firefighter Christopher Roy, 36, died after battling a multi-alarm fire in Worcester on Sunday morning, the Worcester Fire Department announced.  A multi-alarm blaze broke out Sunday morning on Lowell Street in Worcester, prompting responses from the city’s fire department, as well as the fire rescue teams from Auburn...
More Stories