by Anna B. Vassalotti
It all started with a kid from Akron. A young boy who came from little to nothing. With hope, love, and determination LeBron James became one of the greatest professional basketball players on and off the court. From the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat and now back playing with the Cavs, LeBron has never forgotten where he came from. His philanthropy has received local and national news continuously through the years. In 2006 LeBron and his team came up with the LeBron James Family Foundation. “Through his foundation that James developed a mentoring program, called Wheels For Education to help kids beginning in the third grade — identified as at risk of dropping out — through their graduation from high school.” (Vardon, 2015).
LeBron’s campaign to promote success and hard work through out the urban areas of Akron, Ohio through social media has been nothing but a win. According to the LeBron James Family Foundation homepage LeBron is constantly promoting his motto, “I PROMISE.” (lbj family foundation 2013). The PROMISE motto is a brief, 13 lines saying that LeBron says with Akron Public School students when visiting them. LeBron himself promotes this in his own personal twitter. He will hash tag, #IPROMISE and #JUSTAKIDFROMAKRON frequently. This campaign has been an on going favorable outcome for nine years and his slogan I PROMISE for five years now. LeBron also posts weekly shout outs to his fans through his foundation website.
On January 29, 2015 a super fan by the name of Yousef Smidi, age 10 from Detroit held up a sign that said, “I PROMISE” at the Pistons-Cavaliers game. LeBron noticed the young boy during warm ups and after the game posted on his Facebook wall about it. Yousef’s mother was in shock about the post. Smidi (2015), stated “The recognition from James and his generosity, inspired our family to perform 23 acts of kindness.” (Dungjen, 2015).
The summer of 2014, LeBron and his foundation teamed up with Rehab Addict from HGTV and renovated a home for a needy family in Akron. Overseeing the James foundation is Michele Campbell who serves as chief operating officer for James’ LRMR marketing. “I would love to see this as a yearly event,” Campbell said. (Breckenridge, 2014). Both the foundation and Rehab Addict supported this cause through tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram pictures. This renovation was a campaign in itself. Through out the community, the foundation received hundreds of volunteers to help clean out the house and do other miscellaneous chores for the project. All participants wore a LJFF t-shirt, (LeBron James Family Foundation) as well as an I PROMISE wristband while working on site.
LeBron and his foundation have made progress. The reading scores of third graders grew 6.7 percent more than the students who did not participate in LeBron’s after school program (Vardon, 2015). LeBron congradulates his students when they succeed on his Facebook, Twitter, and foundation home page. Although this campaign is an ongoing success, I would suggest to simplify their foundation home page. It’s a great problem to have an abundant of information but it took some time to find out information and statistics through their website.
Something so significant and special is put into LeBron and his foundation. He is there in support for his Akron students, their families, and the community. The LeBron James Family Foundation continues to grow and do what they do because there is an immensely close and united feeling in the city of Akron. “His impact is so extensive with our kids,” says Desiree Bolden, who works for Akron Public Schools and is on the foundation’s board. (Zillgitt, USA Today).
Breckenridge, M. (2014, August 25). Hoop star LeBron helps renovate Akron home. Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved from http://www.mercurynews.com/home-garden/ci_26405578/hoops-star-lebron-helps-renovate-akron-home
Dungjen, T. (2015, January 1). LeBron James fan catches his hero’s eye during basketball game in Detroit. The Blade. Retrieved from http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2015/01/31/LeBron-fan-catches-his-hero-s-eye.html
The LeBron James Family Foundation. (2013, January 1). Retrieved from http://www.lebronjamesfamilyfoundation.org/
Vardon, J. (2014, October 30). How LeBron and his foundation are rescuing urban schools when they need it the most. The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Retrieved from http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2014/10/lebron_james_changin
Zillgitt, J. (2014, January 1). LeBron James builds on his kingdom. Retrieved February 9, 2015, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/cavaliers/2014/12/25/lebron-james-cleveland-cavaliers-miami-heat-2014/20894297/