WE ARE FAMILY!
Another amazing family reunion has come and gone. It was known that it was going to be tough to come close to the spectacle that was last year’s reunion, but the surprise Mr. LeBron would have in-store for all his kids this year would put it over the top! During this event, our partners showed up like never before. One would think that transporting 6,000 people to an amusement park two hours away and keeping track of them all would be a real struggle, one that may be too difficult to handle. But, we can always count on our partners to find a way.
Thomas Limo was one of a few charter busing companies that helped transport everyone who did not drive themselves to the park. Goodyear took on the task of tracking everyone’s location and ensured we left with the same amount of people we arrived with. They developed an app that could track each person by scanning a wristband at each destination. Goodyear employee volunteers rode the buses to the park to scan each passenger’s band. It was truly amazing how they were able to come up with the technology to make this a BE BEST experience for all of our families. As our families arrived at Cedar Point from Akron, they were greeted by Foundation & JPMorgan Chase & Co. team members and sent to the numerous check-in tables. There they received their green t-shirts that were emblazoned with the phrase that summed up the day, “WE ARE FAMILY”. This is where you could find the majority of our partner volunteers. Check-in was flooded with a blue army of personnel from JPMorgan & Chase & Co., who staffed the station throughout the day.
Once the students and their families were checked in and received their shirts, they made their way into the park, faces beaming with excitement to embark on their day.
The students’ mission was to ride as many rides as they could before four o’clock, when they were told to be at the stage near the entrance where Mr. LeBron would address them and a major announcement would be made. Once that time came around, the families started to file into the area in front of the stage. A band played before the festivities got started and entertained the crowd. They were joined by the 330 Ambassadors who provided a little background dancing. Then, it was time to begin the main event.
After a performance by some of the Cedar Point employees and a welcome statement from Cedar Point Vice President and General Manager Jason McClure, Ahmaad Crump, Cavs hype man and the emcee for the night, introduced the main man in the only way that seemed appropriate, a variation of his pre-game introduction. Suddenly, “LeBrooooooon Jaaaaaamesss” resonated like it was a home game at the Q.
LeBron walked out on stage, addressed the students and their families, and recited the PROMISE statements for the Wheels for Education and Akron I PROMISE Network students. The program didn’t end with the PROMISE; it was now time for the BIG announcements from JPMorgan Chase and The University of Akron. The families learned that: JPMorgan Chase will be dedicating a technology team to develop a software to track the academic progress of Foundation students, the College of Education at The University of Akron will be renamed the LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education, and, most significantly, in conjunction with the Foundation and its partners, The University of Akron will be providing Foundation students (who meet a certain set of requirements and graduate from Akron Public Schools) with a tuition and fees scholarship to The University of Akron.
The families were elated at this incredible news. LeBron reappeared to express his excitement to be able to provide this opportunity and how appreciative he was of The University of Akron and University President, Dr. Scott Scarborough, for making this happen. A colorful fireworks display put the icing on the cake of the amazing event. The families were able to re-enter the park for more fun on the rides before they departed back to the 330.
It was a jam-packed day that ushered in a new era for the WFE and AIPN programs, the Foundation’s partnerships with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and The University of Akron, and the I PROMISE Family Reunion, as this was the first of five years that our reunion will be held at Cedar Point. This year’s reunion will certainly be one that will never be forgotten.