Since its inception in September of 2011, the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (JRLA) has been focused on changing the future of all the scholars who attend. While others may have looked at the city of Detroit with despair and hopelessness, Jalen Rose, along with his team, saw beautiful Black scholars with bright futures who just needed an opportunity and access.
The mission of the JRLA says it all. It reads, “Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (“Academy”) will empower all students to develop the strength of character, skills, and knowledge needed to matriculate, be great in and graduate from college so that they have opportunities to be successful in the competitive world and to take care of themselves and the people that they love.”
As passionate as Rose is about basketball, he’s even more passionate about the future of JRLA and all the families and scholars who he has had the privilege to encounter. “We converted an abandoned elementary school into JRLA and opened our doors officially in 2011 with 120 students,” Rose recalls in a video for BET’s Offseason celebrating Black History Month in partnership with Facebook. “We graduated our first class in 2015 and now have 420 “scholars” enrolled. It’s been such a thrill to see it grow.”
One alumnus of JRLA, affectionately nicknamed “A. Boogie” by Rose said, “What you don’t realize is just how resourceful the school really is. Each teacher, each staff member knows somebody that can help you get into school. If you can’t, they have alternatives for you. They are there to help.”
The Jalen Rose Leadership Academy is more than just another charter school. JRLA has built a culture where Black children can learn about the greatness within themselves and the endless possibilities that the future holds for their lives. Through education, empowerment, and mentorship, JRLA is launching scholars on the path to their destinies, succeeding against the systematic evils of racism, sexism, and classism.
Rose has put his blood, sweat, and tears into JRLA and the impact that he and his team have had is just the tip of the iceberg. The future of JRLA is bright and it’s still being written every day.
As a basketball player and ESPN/ABC commentator, Rose discovered his talent, but within the walls of JRLA and its students and staff, he has truly found his calling.