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A Champion of Change, LeBron's Foundation Invites Others to See How I PROMISE Program is Working

Gloria James on stage with Dave Lieberth and Wheaties box
Sarah Taylor
Gloria James shows off the new Wheaties cereal box that features her NBA star son, LeBron, along with LeBron James Family Foundation advisory board member Dave Lieberth.

Two Akron mothers say they have hope thanks to the I Promise School, the Akron Public School for at-risk students started with the LeBron James Family Foundation two years ago. They shared their stories Wednesday at an event that aims to spread the word about what’s working in Akron.

It included an appearance by the mother whose son started it all.

“I see so much of LeBron and myself in their situations,” Gloria James told the crowd at the Hilton Akron Fairlawn hotel, which hosted the first everI Promise Huddle.

Just before unveiling a Wheaties cereal box that features her son and I Promise School students, Gloria James reflected on her journey with LeBron.

"We’re living proof of the importance of community," she said.

She says that’s what got them through the hard times, when cereal was sometimes all she could afford.

LeBron’s foundation lives by the motto: "We Are Family." Ciara Debruce sees the impact on her daughter LaRiyah, a fifth-grader at the I Promise School.

“Beforehand, she was very reserved. It was easy for her to quit, give up, walk away. After, she was more determined than ever just not to quit," Debruce said. "So even when she knows she's having a hard time, sometimes she'll step away, but she'll always get back to it. And her scores went up tremendously."

Parent Latoya Taylor, whose family is the first to live at the I Promise Village, has seen a similar change in her son, Henry, also a fifth-grader at the I Promise School.

"He wants to go to school. Before, he hated it," she said.

The foundation is hosting the Huddle with Stand Together as they work to share efforts to help not only students, but families, put their lives on a new path.

A Northeast Ohio native, Sarah Taylor graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she worked at her first NPR station, WMUB. She began her professional career at WCKY-AM in Cincinnati and spent two decades in television news, the bulk of them at WKBN in Youngstown (as Sarah Eisler). For the past three years, Sarah has taught a variety of courses in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State, where she is also pursuing a Master’s degree. Sarah and her husband Scott, have two children. They live in Tallmadge.