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LeBron James continues tradition of bringing 23 students to All-Star weekend

The LeBron James Family Foundation continued an annual tradition of bringing 23 students who are part of their 330 Ambassador program to the All-Star city for community service and career development activities, as well as a visit with James.

On Friday morning, the students worked with the charity Samaritan’s Feet, which washes feet and provides shoes to people who need them, donating 400 pairs of shoes to local students.

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“It made me think about my little sisters,” said Lulu Montes, a high school senior in Akron who has been a 330 Ambassador for three years. “There’s this one girl, her name was Lyric. She said she wanted to be Wonder Woman. I think it’s great that all these kids have big dreams.

“As a student who has also been in their shoes I think it’s great that we can say words of encouragement to them. It was a very, very powerful moment.”

It’s exactly what James hopes the program provides for the kids who participate in all of his foundation’s programs.

“I don’t know who will be able to be an NBA player or be a professional athlete but every kid has a dream and every kid has ‘that,’” James said. “And what ‘that’ is, they have to tap into that. … Me having my school and me having the 240 kids to be able to see them every single day and figure out a way how we can tap into what that is to make them successful in life.

“And I’m not even talking from a money standpoint, [I mean] where they feel like they’ve done something that means something in their lives and they’re able to give back to that’s what it’s all about.”

The group spent the afternoon with the Carolina Panthers to learn about various career opportunities.

The 330 Ambassadors (330 is Akron’s area code) are mentors to students in James’ I Promise program, which includes the I Promise School that opened in July.

This year marks the third season Montes has participated in the group’s All-Star weekend trip. She met her best friend through the program, Aaron Brown, a student from a different Akron High School, who has also been to three All-Star weekends as a 330 Ambassador.

“The foundation itself really transformed me because not only did it make me feel more professionally prepared and personally a higher self-esteem, coming into the foundation I felt like I had many talents but didn’t have an organized way of using them properly,” said Brown, a high school senior who plans to attend Ohio State next year.

Brown likes to treat the weekend as a vacation.

“I feel like it had the best of both words,” Brown said. “Professional development and also community service. … When we change this community and bring it back to Akron, it also changes me and makes me want to do more.”

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