Jan. 20, 2019 – Jackson Heights, NEW YORK
By Marina Mrazovic
They came, they dined, they played! They even danced!
Tuesday evening, October 23rd, parents and students from three Jackson Heights neighborhood schools – PS 69, PS 212 and The Renaissance Charter School – gathered together for an evening of camaraderie, education and saving. PS 69, the host school, welcomed them to a Back-to-School Building Block Party, supported by NYC Kids RISE. The event marked the launch of the new Savings Match reward and gave the parents an opportunity to complete the 3 Building Blocks of the Save for College Program.
In the relaxed atmosphere of friendship and fun, everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner, chatted and got to know each other a little better. In this time of rising education costs, they shared advice on saving for college and career training. They recorded their best tips on the Savings Tips Wall, a banner to be preserved and shared at future events with more parents who will add to this collection of experience and wisdom.
Meanwhile, the children enjoyed coloring college-themed pages together at their own table, showing their artistic talents and talking to each other under the watchful eye of Ms. Gong, a first grade teacher at PS 69. Contributing to the ambiance was a terrific playlist of background music, inspiring some parents and staff members to dance. After all, it was a celebration!
Amid all the fun, staff from NYC Kids RISE worked one-on-one with families to take the next steps to save for college and career training. 17 families from these schools completed at least one of the 3 Building Blocks at the event, immediately giving their children an advantage for the future. Families also learned how saving for college fits into their overall budgets and financial goals. Staff from The Financial Clinic provided information about financial planning, including individual financial coaching, budgeting, setting goals, and tax preparation. Families were able to make appointments with The Financial Clinic for free, one-on-one financial counseling.
By all accounts, the evening was a success. We all had fun, learned from each other, and achieved our goal – to inform parents about the Save for College Program and help them make progress in completing the Building Blocks. Principal Vázquez, the PS 69 secretaries and kindergarten and first grade teachers, and I were proud to work together to make this party a success and share it with our colleagues and collaborators from PS 212, The Renaissance Charter School, and NYC Kids RISE.
It’s gratifying to know that the families who attended this Building Block Party are now ready to take advantage of the Savings Match. With their own college savings accounts in place and initial deposits made, NYC Kids RISE will be able to match the next $100 dollars they save by depositing an equal amount into their children’s NYC Scholarship Accounts!
We’re so excited to be working with all the kindergarten and first grade families at PS 69 and our neighboring schools to start planning and saving for college together. You can learn more about opening your own college savings account so that your family can receive the Savings Match by visiting nyckidsrise.org/options. And remember, if you need support, we are all here for you!
Marina Mrazovic is the Parent Coordinator at PS 69 Jackson Heights