From the time you’re a small child, you’ve likely been encouraged that doing well in school will lead to success. For most, the educational journey begins very early. And while many students have access to education – every student does not have access to the same educational resources.

Charter schools are a neighborhood option to balance the inequity in education. Former NBA star Jalen Rose opened a school to be a part of helping that balance in his hometown.

The Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (JRLA) is a tuition-free charter high school serving over 400 students between grades nine through twelve.

During a conversation on the “Earn Your Leisure Podcast,” Rose sat down with the host to discuss the school he founded and its mission, purpose, and community impact.

Founded in 2011, Jalen Rose thought about the immense pressure he felt as a student-athlete and role model. Because he understood what it takes to maintain good grades to remain eligible for sports play, Rose wanted to create an opportunity that supports young people that grew up like him.

“I feel like the eight most important years of a young person’s life are the four that they’re in high school or the four that they could be in college,” Rose said in the interview.

Because Rose strongly feels post-high school support is essential, JRLA is positioned to support students after graduation, a concept known as the 9-16 model. This educational model provides academic and cultural support to students through their college careers via JRLA’s College Success platform.

“We gone support you – community college, university, trade school military, police academy. Whatever you decide to do, we’re going to be there and help nurture you.

In addition to having a non-traditional model for student support, JRLA also stays in session for 11 months, noting how other countries require students to attend school more days than the average American school. Rose describes this part of his school’s model as a way to provide opportunities for people to have a fair chance of competing in the global economy.

Jalen Rose admits that in the beginning, he started the school with very little support. However, as the school began to grow – he was able to secure partnerships and sponsors as the school’s outputs were realized.

And although the school sees success, Rose is honest that challenges exist.

“There have been a lot of challenges, trying to fundraise, trying to expand the facility. There’s been a lot frustration by me that I need to stay encouraged,” Rose passionately expressed.

Despite any challenge, Rose is consistent and steadfast in his mission to ensure that his school remains “the charity that makes it to the hood.”