The long-term impact LeBron James returning to Ohio has become bigger than basketball, as he announced his foundation and the University of Akron are working together to provide inner-city kids from Akron the opportunity to go to college for free. Per the Associated Press:
“It’s the reason I do what I do,” said James, who announced the program Thursday while hosting an event for students at Cedar Point Amusement Park. “These students have big dreams, and I’m happy to do everything I can to help them get there. They’re going to have to earn it, but I’m excited to see what these kids can accomplish knowing that college is in their futures.”
The “I Promise” program will give Akron public high school students a four-year scholarship to the University of Akron as long as they graduate from their respective school and achieve standard testing requirements as well as fulfill a community service obligation.
James reflected on his own childhood when discussing why this program means so much to him as he is able to relate to these children in a way that not many others in his position can.
“It means so much because, as a kid growing up in the inner city and a lot of African-American kids, you don’t really think past high school,” said James, who bypassed college to jump to the NBA. “You don’t really know your future. You hear high school all the time, and you graduate high school and then you never think past that because either it’s not possible or your family’s not financially stable to even be able to support a kid going to college.”
The 1,100 students ranging from third to seventh grade that are currently in the “I Promise” program will be eligible for the scholarship starting in 2021.”