LeBron James opened his I Promise school in Akron, Ohio, over a year ago and now plans to provide transitional housing for students and families in need of safe shelter.
The LeBron James Family Foundation and Graduate Hotels announced plans for the I Promise Village by Graduate Hotels to help I Promise students whose families might be fighting challenges such as homelessness, domestic violence or other traumatic or unsafe situations.
"Initially, our work was focused on helping these kids earn an education," James said in a statement. "But we've found that it is impossible to help them learn if they are struggling to survive -- if they are hungry, if they have no heat in the freezing winter, if they live in fear for their safety. We want this place to be their home where they feel safe, supported, and loved, knowing we are right there with them every step of the way as they get back on their feet."
James expanded on those comments during Lakers practice Monday in Chicago.
"You can have all the support in the world while you're at school or while you're at basketball and while you're playing sports or anything, but if you go home and it's not stable and you don't have any stability there, you can resort back to the negative things or the bad habits that you might have. And, sometimes it's not even the kids' fault on why the situation is the way they are, so for us to be able to provide that for our kids and for the families and adults, as well, the parents, it's a pretty cool things."
The Village, located in a historic Akron apartment building that will be renovated and furnished, is slated to be ready by July 2020.
"Being able to offer this safe haven for our families is transformational in every sense of the word," said Michele Campbell, the LeBron James Family Foundation executive director. "This is about more than just getting kids to school. This is about keeping them alive. We're seeing families struggling every day with very real and oftentimes unexpected issues that turn their worlds upside down. This will allow the family time and opportunities to grow while not worrying if they'll have a roof over their head."
The I Promise school has nearly 350 at-risk third- through fifth-graders, with plans to expand through eighth grade in 2022.
"The I Promise Village by Graduate Hotels will be a monumental next step for us and LeBron and his foundation's commitment to the future of the students and their families," Graduate Hotels founder and CEO Ben Weprin said. "It's humbling to see the change they are [effecting] on a daily basis, and we're honored to be a part of the journey."
ESPN's Eric Woodyard contributed to this report.