The mission is simple but not so easily achieved: keep kids in Akron in school and on track to their life-changing educations. For the LeBron James Family Foundation’s I PROMISE students, that education includes the commitment of a college scholarship. But nothing is given, everything is earned, so these students – all of which started this race from behind as far back as 3rdgrade – will have to do their part to be scholarship eligible when they graduate from high school.
Enter Kent State University. Bringing decades of college education and experience to the table, Kent State has stepped in and offered to help get LeBron’s kids college-ready in any way they can. That commitment has materialized in a partnership that includes summer programming and increased mentorship opportunities for his oldest I PROMISE students.
“As our oldest I PROMISE students continue to find their footing in high school, they’re at that pivotal time where it’s critical they get all the support they need to stay on track,” said Michele Campbell, executive director of the LeBron James Family Foundation. “The team at Kent State has listened to their needs and immediately turned those conversations into action, recognizing that every single day is valuable when it comes to educating our kids and getting them college and career ready.”
Kent State has already kicked off its support with an exclusive three-week Flash P’ACT summer program – an on-campus, overnight collegiate immersion experience that will focus on rigorous ACT test preparation in math and reading, college readiness and personal development. The I PROMISE high school students live on Kent State’s Kent campus from Monday through Friday, and are exposed to the university experience through attending college courses, nightly university-sanctioned recreation and wellness opportunities, daily meals in the university’s dining facilities, on-campus volunteering, and hands-on, community-engaged learning. The all-encompassing camp is designed to expand the students’ vision to see themselves as successful college students and believe that their college success is not only possible, but necessary.
“We know that many students learn best with hands-on opportunities, so we are committed to providing these students with educational opportunities that will stay with them long after the camp has ended,” said Melody Tankersley, Kent State’s senior associate provost and dean of graduate studies. “By immersing these students in the college experience while simultaneously boosting their academic preparation, they will be set up for success to eventually transition from high school to college.”
Following the three-week summer program, the university’s proactive efforts with LJFF’s students will continue in the fall. Kent State students will join the I PROMISE Mentoring program that pairs I PROMISE students with trained, certified mentors for academic, social, and emotional support. Through this opportunity, LJFF’s 10thgraders will receive weekly one-on-one mentoring from Kent State student mentors who will lend support in setting and monitoring college and career goals. Mentors will help their mentees with weekly goal setting, technology literacy, study habits, social responsibility, real-world skills and applications, and developing an important post-high school roadmap. These personal relationships are intended to increase students’ confidence in their work and in their future aspirations as well as to help them achieve success in their daily lives.
“These relationships are key to ensuring these high school students can not only see themselves on a college campus some day, but that they also can see themselves succeeding and earning a degree,” added Tankersley.
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