NEW YORK - Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James has received the Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente in recognition of his efforts to create the I PROMISE School and provide lasting educational resources for youth and families in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, the NBA announced today. This is the second year of the offseason honour since the program's inception in 2001. The award recognizes an NBA player for his exceptional work and its impact from the end of the regular season to the start of the following season.
Kaiser Permanente and the NBA are honoring James for his commitment to creating long-term, generational change throughout Northeast Ohio by providing both youth and their parents with year-round educational and wellness resources.
James and the LeBron James Family Foundation opened the I PROMISE School on July 30 and welcomed its first class of more than 240 third- and fourth-grade students. Designed to help kids navigate many of the challenges James and his family faced during his youth, the school provides meals, busing, supplies, bikes, uniforms and an innovative curriculum focused on STEM studies, social-emotional support and experiential learning. For students' parents and families, the school's onsite Family Resource Center offers job placement services, GED classes, legal support, counseling, a food pantry and other vital resources.
The I PROMISE School, opened in partnership with Akron Public Schools, is part of the LeBron James Family Foundation's I PROMISE program, which began providing support and mentorship services to Akron youth in 2011 to improve graduation rates. The program now serves more than 1,300 students. Since 2015, the I PROMISE program has partnered with the University of Akron to guarantee four-year college scholarships to all eligible students who graduate from high school. The I PROMISE School will gradually add grade levels each year until it reaches full capacity of first through eighth grades by 2022.
"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," said James. "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."
Before the Lakers' home game against the Denver Nuggets, NBA President of Social Responsibility and Player Programs Kathy Behrens will present the award to James during an oncourt ceremony. In addition, Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate $10,000 on James' behalf to the LeBron James Family Foundation.
The NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities. It honors the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson, who improved the community piece by piece. At the end of the 2018-19 regular season, the Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award winner will be announced at the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia. To learn more, please visit http://www.nba.com/communityassist/.
About NBA Cares
NBA Cares is the league's global social responsibility program that builds on the NBA's mission of addressing important social issues. NBA Cares programs and participants have provided more than 4.5 million hours of hands-on service and created more than 1,210 places where kids and families can live, learn or play in communities around the world.
The NBA also engages more than 26 million youth annually, inspiring play and teaching the values of the game.
NBA Cares works with internationally recognized youth-serving programs that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes, including: Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Special Olympics, YMCA of the USA, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, UNICEF, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Share Our Strength and GLSEN.