By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
AKRON, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James understands what it’s like being a kid on the outside looking for hope.
He’s giving them some.
James, who has been committed to helping kids in his hometown through a variety of educational programs, is teaming up with Akron public schools to open the “I Promise School” dedicated to aiding at-risk children who might otherwise be left behind.
“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. “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.”
The school, which will be backed by James’ family foundation, will open in the fall of 2018 and focus on children in third and fourth grades. By 2022, the school will expand to accommodate students in grades one through eight.
It’s the latest initiative by the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar, whose programs have supported 1,100 kids over the past six years. Details are still being finalized on the new school by committees comprised of area leaders, educators, parents and other experts.
“We are excited about the potential of the I Promise School to provide specialized programming and invaluable resources for our students,” said David James, superintendent of Akron’s Public Schools. “We’ve seen the positive influence of the LeBron James Family Foundation on our students and we look forward to continuing to do everything we can to put our students in a position to be successful.”
James grew up in a single-parent home raised by his mother, Gloria, who was helped by other families in raising her now-famous son. James has previously partnered with the University of Akron to provide a guaranteed four-year scholarship to the school for students in his program who qualify.
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