Sept. 5, 2019 – Jackson Heights, NEW YORK
By Murray Abeles, Chief of Administration and Finance, NYC Kids RISE
P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights, Queens, is where I started my educational journey and a source of my fondest memories to this day. At six years old, I remember wanting to be an international defense attorney as I prepared for my kindergarten graduation. I could always count on my mother’s love and support for my lofty aspirations. As a second generation immigrant, much of how to navigate the U.S. education system was left up to me. Fast forward to June 2019 – I am not an international defense attorney, I am the Chief of Administration and Finance for NYC Kids RISE, a role that brought me back home to P.S. 69.
This past June, during the stepping up ceremony at P.S. 69, I had the privilege of serving as the commencement speaker to kindergartners and their families. Joined by the District Superintendent, executives from Seamless, and the Principal, I shared with the utmost joy and pride that every kindergartner and first-grader in public schools in District 30, including at P.S. 69, had received a new deposit in their NYC Scholarship Account. These NYC Scholarship Accounts are part of the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program, which launched in 2017 to provide families, schools, and communities with a way to work together to save for their children’s education.
Through Seamless’ “Donate the Change” campaign, throughout the month of February, New Yorkers made small contributions with a significant impact – a more than $300,000 collective impact – to make college and career training more achievable for so many public school students.
Thanks to this partnership with Seamless, more than 6,000 NYC public schools students in the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program received $48.89 more in funding for their college and career training education. This is on top of an initial $100 seed investment and additional rewards families can earn, which taps into the power of compound interest to grow over time.
As the students sang their graduation songs, I could see the pride in their parents eyes – reminding me of the way my mother looked at me when I was a child, and now, the way I look at my own daughters. I am so proud that these now first-graders, no matter their background or family’s income, will have financial information and support to navigate their future college and career decisions. And, that every time these students and their families view their NYC Scholarship Accounts, the “Seamless 2019 Community Scholarship” will be a reminder that college and career training is for them, and that New Yorkers are already invested in their future success.