LeBron James always remembers where he came from and he doesn't want Akron kids to fall through the cracks when it comes to education.
Through the LeBron James Family Foundation, the NBA giant found a new way to assist struggling APS students by launching LeBron's Hard Work Club.
The after school program, which focuses on reading and math, just wrapped up its first year and it helped about 300 kids in grades four through 8 in 28 Akron schools.
Part of a $200,000 gift from the foundation paid for computers, materials and teacher's overtime. The tutoring was 90 minutes per day, four days a week for nine weeks.
To help inspire the children, who are also part of LeBron's I Promise program, he provided wristbands, shirts and personalized video messages.
"He doesn't have to do any of this. Yet, he does," said McEbright teacher Amy Kaiser. "He doesn't have to give anything to Akron. Yet, he does. These kids, they mean something to him."
Bridget Casenhiser, another teacher with the program, said grades went up and kids felt more confident after receiving the extra help.
"He had his supporters. Look what they have. I mean, they have a mountain behind them" Casenhiser said as her eyes welled with tears.
The kids are well aware that LeBron is counting on them to do well in school and graduate. That serves as extra motivation for many of them, including 10-year-old Elijah Thornton.
"I couldn't do all my math problems. It was just surprising that he gave me an opportunity. Once I found that out, I was so happy," he said.