Shortly after LeBron James’ I Promise School opened in Akron, the school has partnered with Graduate Hotels to create transitional housing for families and students in need.
Michele Campbell, the executive director of James’ charitable foundation, identified a pressing need: transitional housing for students and their families who are going through traumatic experiences.
“Some are homeless, some live in shelters and we have a student who was the victim of a gun invasion in their home and watched his brother get shot and a cousin get shot and die and he had to go back in that home," Campbell said. "It was terrifying for him. I was unsure how we were going to provide housing. I knew we wanted to do it. I didn’t know how we would do it."
Campbell sees the impact these traumatic environments have on a student’s ability to learn.
“If you’re coming to school and you were on the street or in a shelter and coming to school and placed in a classroom to learn about math or read books, there is no way those children can focus on learning,” she said.
The LeBron James family foundation released an official statement announcing the goal of the I PROMISE Village by Graduate Hotels.
''This home will serve as transitional housing for our families who need a safe, comforting place to stay as they work through challenges they may be facing. Whether it be homelessness, domestic violence, or other unforeseen circumstances, the Village is intended to provide shelter, safety and support so that students are still able to attend school as the Foundation assists the family with a long-term plan for their future success.''
Graduate Hotels, which specializes in creating hotel space in college towns, will renovate and furnish the living units. The building will begin renovations immediately, and will be fully operational by the start of the I PROMISE School’s next school year in July 2020.