Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is the recipient of the Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente in recognition of creating the I Promise School and providing educational resources for youth and families in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
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James will be presented with the award during an on-court ceremony at Staples Center before tipoff against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night. In addition, Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate $10,000 on James’ behalf to the LeBron James Family Foundation.
“Opening the I Promise School is one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of because I know how important those resources are to these kids and families in Akron,” James said.
“To be able to create a place where they’re excited about going to school and where they feel safe and supported – that changes everything for them. And for my Foundation, this is just the beginning for the I Promise School. We’re still building and will continue to do everything we can to help these families with the challenges they face every day.”
James’ school opened to 240 at-risk third- or fourth-grade students from Akron. The plan is to expand to a school that houses roughly 1,000 kids, grades first through eight. School days run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., July through May, with the extended hours aimed at teaching and protecting students from possibly falling victim to their environment.
Every student is provided breakfast, lunch and a snack each day. Busing is provided for those who live more than two miles from the I Promise campus, tuition is free, uniforms are provided at no cost, students receive a free bike and helmet, and various support systems are in place for families.
Additionally, students who are in the I Promise program and meet set criteria when they graduate from high school, are guaranteed a four-year scholarship to the University of Akron.