What’s better than a day at America’s biggest amusement park? How about going with the greatest basketball player alive, and having him pay for you -- and 4,999 of your neighbors.
Lebron James brought five thousand kids and their families to Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio, as part of his “I Promise” foundation. The NPO works with children in the Akron Public School system who’ve fallen behind by encouraging them to perform well in school and their community, and should they deliver on their ‘promise’, the foundation will pay their entire way through college.
Lebron’s been heading the program since before he left for Miami in 2010, but back then it was just a once a year biking event. Nowadays, it’s a significantly grander affair – case in point, Aloe Blacc performed “I’m the Man” for the kids this year.
James spoke towards the end of the day, saying, “"It starts brick by brick, person by person, family by family, kid by kid, and just using our resources, using our strength, and everything that we've been able to do to just build up these communities.
"That's why I'm excited to be up here right now, because with the help of my foundation and with the help of just so many people who give us the leeway to do what we want to do, we're able to give back to these young kids. We all know that they're our future, and we need to understand that."
The program now includes 1,200 students in the Akron school system, grades 3 through 8. Besides the huge incentives to perform in school, Lebron will regularly write letters to the children enrolled, and has even been known to help their families with groceries.
And of course, once-a-year trips to Cedar Point don’t hurt. "This is always the greatest night for myself," said Lebron. "Another great night was in Golden State -- game 7. That night wasn't too bad, that was a pretty good night too. But this night trumps it all."