SANDUSKY, OH (WOIO) - The LeBron James Family Foundation brought smiles and tears of joy to more than 5,000 of its students and their families at its annual Family Reunion event at Cedar Point on Thursday.
''It's the reason I do what I do,'' said James. ''These students have big dreams, and I'm happy to do everything I can to help them get there. They're going to have to earn it, but I'm excited to see what these kids can accomplish knowing that college is in their futures.''
The scholarship will cover tuition and the university's general service fee. The university will fundraise on behalf of the LJFF over the next six years.
"I think it's one of the best things I've ever been a part of," said James.
The LJFF also announced the expansion of its long-time partnership with JPMorgan Chase & Co. Under this renewed commitment, JPMorgan Chase will provide technology resources to develop a program that will enable progress reporting for Akron I Promise Network (AIPN) students' measurable data to ensure they are on track to meet the scholarship requirements.
"JPMorgan Chase is proud to contribute to this innovative collaboration between the LeBron James Family Foundation and the University of Akron," said Jim Geuther, chair of JPMorgan Chase's Northeast Ohio Leadership Team. "Our volunteers are inspired by LeBron's extraordinary personal commitment to Akron's kids, and the important work of LJFF. Together, we can truly be a 'Force for Good.'"
Thursday's announcements were made at LJFF's annual I Promise Family Reunion event at Cedar Point, where the Cleveland Cavalier welcomed a new class of third graders -- the program's largest class to date -- into the Wheels For Education (WFE) program and kicked off a new school year with more than 1,000 WFE and AIPN students.
The event was held at Cedar Point for the first time as part of a new, long-term partnership between LJFF and the amusement park. As an official partner, Cedar Point will host the annual family reunion event for five years.
Earlier this year, LJFF students were among the first to ride the park's brand new "Rougarou" roller coaster, as a reward for their hard work in the classroom.
"Our partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation has grown into something even bigger than we could have imagined, and it's all been to the benefit of the foundation's students and the entire northeast Ohio community," said Jason McClure, vice president and general manager of Cedar Point. "We're honored to host the foundation's annual Family Reunion event for the students and their families because we believe in LJFF's mission to give them experiences they might not otherwise be able to have. And we specialize in creating fun, memorable experiences, so it's a great day for all of us."
The new class of WFE third graders was required to complete a two-week I Promise tech camp to enter the program. AIPN students attended I Promise training camp for the first time, preparing them for the hard work ahead in the coming school year.
The first students from the program will show up on campus come 2021.