P.S. 148Q in East Elmhurst launches new community scholarship supported by alum and NYC Kids RISE

P.S. 148Q Alum Carolina Valencia and P.S. 148Q first graders.
Photo by Sarah Momen for NYC Kids RISE

P.S. 148Q The Ruby G. Allen School in East Elmhurst announced the launch of a new community scholarship program designed to bolster the college and career prospects of its young students in first and second grades on Wednesday, May 29.

The initiative, named “P.S. 148Q The Ruby G. Allen School Alumni Community Scholarship 2023,” is part of the broader NYC Public School Alumni Community Scholarships program. This innovative program encourages alumni from NYC public schools to give back by establishing scholarships at the elementary schools they attended.

Spearheaded by P.S. 148Q alumna Carolina Valencia, Director of Partnerships and Communications for Epicenter NYC, the scholarship aims to support students who are beneficiaries of the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program. This city-wide effort is designed to make higher education and career training more attainable for public school students across New York City, ensuring they have the financial support necessary to reach their full potential.

P.S. 148Q Alum Carolina Valencia and P.S. 148Q second graders. Photo by Sarah Momen for NYC Kids RISE

This community scholarship is one of NYC Kids RISE’s Inaugural NYC Public School Alumni Community Scholarships, which raised a total of almost $400,000 for over 7,400 New York City students between kindergarten and second grade.

(Left to right) P.S. 148Q Alum Carolina Valencia, P.S. 148Q Principal Harvey and New York City Council Member Shekar Krishnan. Photo by Sarah Momen for NYC Kids RISE

With the support of the New York City nonprofit the Gray Foundation, NYC Kids RISE, the New York City Department of Education and the City of New York partnered to launch the Save for College Program in 2017 within Queens School District 30. Since the 2021-2022 school year, students in eligible grades enrolled in a New York City public elementary school (including participating charter schools) have automatically received an NYC Scholarship Account invested in a 529 Account with an initial $100 and opportunities to earn more through early rewards, unless their families choose not to participate.

Over $240,000 was invested in the scholarship accounts of 581 students between kindergarten and fifth grade at P.S. 148Q. This also includes over $147,000 invested through a previous community scholarship, the Koeppel Kares Community Scholarship.

P.S. 148Q Alum Carolina Valencia reconnects with former fifth-grade teacher Ms. Gabrielle Minassian. Photo by Sarah Momen for NYC Kids RISE

“P.S. 148 gave me the best of friends, an extended family, one of the best teachers in the world and a community who showed me that no matter the circumstances, I could do whatever I set my mind to,” Valencia said. “I wanted to do my part to not only bring my community but be that community for P.S. 148 students –- and the best way to do so is to show them that we are all invested in their future with a community scholarship like this one and by sharing the journey of this Queens girl who immigrated from Guayaquil, Ecuador. A heartfelt thank you to all who contributed and to my beloved P.S. 148, NYC Kids RISE, the Gray Foundation and Coleman Family Ventures for helping me do my little part.”

P.S. 148Q Alum Carolina Valencia shares her educational and career pathways with second graders at her former elementary school. Photo by Sarah Momen for NYC Kids RISE

The announcement came as the school celebrated 529 Day, which is named after the 529 account, a type of investment account meant to assist families in saving money for college and career training. This holiday is meant to raise awareness about the ways in which communities are building strong financial foundations for the college and career aspirations of younger students.

Through the Save for College Program, funds from the children’s NYC Scholarship Accounts are invested into a 529 account by the nonprofit NYC Kids RISE. Across New York City, almost every student from kindergarten to second grade has a free NYC Scholarship Account, with $100 already added to it. Opportunities for additional rewards and Community Scholarships can be added by families over time for these children.

Families needing assistance in activating their child’s account can contact to their school, attend a virtual workshop held by NYC Kids RISE or contact NYC Kids RISE by email at info@nyckidsrise.org or phone at 833-543-7473.