Help for Students in Need of Housing

LeBron James Delivers Again for APS
Posted on 11/05/2019
Shortly after LeBron James’ I Promise School opened in Akron, Ohio, 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."

Enter Graduate Hotels and CEO Ben Weprin. He knows James and his business partners Maverick Carter and Randy Mims and took a tour of the I Promise School in May.

“I met Michele and her team and was incredibly inspired and blown away by the mission and the execution – just the overall vision of the I Promise School,” Weprin said. “It was an eye-opener in their ability to dream something so big and then do it and will it to life.”

Weprin’s wife, Mary Ann, visited the school two weeks later, and they wanted to know how they could help. Campbell's answer? Housing. Weprin got to work and partnered with the I Promise School to purchase an historic Akron apartment building and create the I Promise Village by Graduate Hotels.

“Initially, our work was focused on helping these kids earn an education. 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,” James said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports and other outlets. “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.”
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