NBA superstar LeBron James has proved he’s a role model both on and off the basketball court by opening I Promise school for underprivileged children.
The I Promise School will house 240 at-risk third and fourth-grade students in James’ hometown Akron, Ohio.
The school is a joint venture between the LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron Public Schools.
“We just want everything for them,” the three-time NBA champion said. “Everything and more. So it’s going to mean a lot to me.”
James will serve as primary donor to help form the extra-curricular goals of the school. The school’s board will oversee the curriculum development.
The 33-year-old, who recently moved from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year contract worth $154 million (£116 million), hopes the school will help kids who are falling behind in education and struggling at home.
The former Cavs star missed 83 days of school in the fourth grade because his family did not have a car.
Several other families offered care and support, and the following year he started playing basketball.
“School didn’t mean anything to me,” he said. “There were just a lot of empty days, empty nights and just kind of a no-future thought process.
“It was mentally challenging. No kid at eight, nine should have that stress… so I know exactly what a lot of these kids are going through.”
James says having a bike was a huge factor in his childhood as it offered him an escape from dangerous parts of his neighbourhood and the freedom to explore. Because of that, every student will receive a bicycle when they arrive at the school.
Students will also be provided with meals during the day, as well as services to help them deal with stress, or parents who are struggling to make ends meet.
The school will also provide services to families, which include job placement assistance for parents and an on-site food bank from which parents can take food to prepare at home.