NYC Kids RISE and MetLife Foundation Announce $70,000 Investment in NYC Scholarship Accounts for K-3rd Graders in Queens
April 19, 2021
Community Scholarship Powered by MetLife Foundation Will Reach Over 1,900 Queens Students in Neighborhoods Hit Hard by COVID-19
MetLife Employees to Participate in “College & Career Sessions” At Queens Elementary Schools, Share Their Educational Journeys with Third Graders
Queens, NY – Today, NYC Kids RISE and MetLife Foundation announced a $70,000 investment in the educational futures of over 1,900 K-3rd graders enrolled in the Save for College Program across five schools in Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, and Corona, Queens — neighborhoods that have seen some of the deepest impacts from COVID-19. This financial investment in students’ NYC Scholarship Accounts is coupled with a series of virtual “College & Career Sessions” for third graders that will help children discover their own educational and professional aspirations, and provide a reminder that they have a community of support behind them, no matter the current circumstances.
The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is a universal community wealth-building platform designed to make college and career training more accessible and achievable for NYC public school students, regardless of their family’s income or immigration status. Community Scholarships — a core component of the platform — enable local organizations, businesses, neighbors, and other institutions and larger systems to direct funds and fundraise for students’ educational savings, leveraging local assets to build financial wealth in and with communities that have historically faced systemic barriers to wealth-building. These assets can meaningfully reduce the amount of student debt families take on, increasing long-term wealth-building potential and combatting trends that have contributed to wealth inequality and the racial wealth gap. By visibly and tangibly demonstrating community-wide support for every child’s future, Community Scholarships can also reinforce expectations of success throughout a neighborhood.
These 1900 students are part of the more than 13,000 students enrolled in the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program across New York City’s School District 30, which represents 95% of all eligible kindergarten, first-, second, and third-graders. To date, approximately $6M has been accumulated for their educational futures.
In addition to MetLife Foundation’s contribution toward Community Scholarships, MetLife employees will lead virtual “College and Career Sessions” with third graders to share their personal educational and career journeys and inspire students to envision their own. The five participating elementary schools include P.S. 329 East Elmhurst Community School, P.S. 92 The Harry T. Stewart Sr. School, P.S. 148 The Ruby G. Allen School, P.S. 149 The Christa McAuliffe School, and P.S. 280 The sessions will be an opportunity to increase student awareness of the diverse pathways and possibilities available to them. For example, a MetLife data scientist will show children how they can turn their interest in math and science into a future STEM career. Sessions will also help students make a connection between their NYC Scholarship Account and their future goals, and reinforce the idea that they are surrounded by a community of adults who believe in them and are rooting for their success.
The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program was created in 2017 in partnership with the NYC Department of Education and the City of New York, with founding support from the Gray Foundation.
“Like any parent, I want my child to know they have the support behind them to become whatever they want to be when they grow up,” said Margarita Garcia, Save for College Program Parent. “I’m grateful to be a part of the Save For College Program and to be part of a community that is investing in all of our children.”
“MetLife Foundation is empowering children to build stronger starts on their journey to financial health,” said April Hawkins, Assistant Vice President, MetLife Sustainability, who oversees the company’s global employee volunteerism and engagement programs. “The NYC Kids RISE Program has enabled us to not only make a meaningful financial contribution to the scholarship fund, but also tap into the pride and passion of MetLife employee volunteers, demonstrating to these students – and their families – that the community is invested in their long-term success.”
“The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program effectively brings entire neighborhoods together to support the college and career futures of our public school students. This work is breaking down systemic barriers to educational and economic attainment, helping our children dream big and create their own unique educational journeys,” said Councilmember Daniel Dromm who represents District 25 in Queens. “The financial contribution from the MetLife Foundation, coupled with their participation in virtual college and career sessions, both help to demonstrate the ways in which local institutions can become part of an ecosystem of support around our students and their families. I urge my colleagues at City Hall to support the expansion of this life-changing model across the five boroughs.”
“An investment in our children today is an investment in our future––and the NYC Kids RISE program creates that opportunity for the children in my district,” said Councilmember Francisco Moya who represents District 21 in Queens. “This financial investment and these college & career sessions will better equip hundreds of families to help their children realize their full potential and chart a path towards educational and professional success. This is how we support a community that has been hard hit by COVID-19.”
“We are extremely proud to be a founding NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program school. Working together with partners across the community, we now have another tool to help demonstrate to our students the many possibilities for their future,” said Principal Rachel Staroba-Hallenbeck, East Elmhurst Community School (P.S. 329). “Far too many children in our community grow up thinking that college and higher education just isn’t in the cards for them. The NYC Kids RISE community is doing important work to change that by helping to shift the conversation around who is able to save for college, excel in school, and become the leaders of tomorrow.”
“The Save For College Program opens up opportunities for our elementary school children to be having ongoing conversations about college and career development.” said Dr. Philip A. Composto Community Superintendent Community School District 30. “Our school district is proud to partner with NYC Kids RISE and we welcome MetLife Foundation in joining us on this journey in preparing all our children for future success.”
“Community Scholarships are a core component of the Save for College Program platform and we are excited to team up with MetLife Foundation to invest in the scholarship accounts of more than 1,900 Kindergarten-3rd grade students in Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, and Corona,” said Debra-Ellen Glickstein, Executive Director of NYC Kids RISE. “MetLife’s recent investment paired with College & Career Sessions for 3rd-graders is just the latest example of how we can show kids that adults from every corner of the community believe in them and are invested in their success.”