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College savings program launched for Atlanta kindergarteners

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Kindergarten students in Atlanta Public Schools are learning firsthand about financial literacy and saving for college. Parents and students joined school officials at Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy to celebrate the launching of the Operation HOPE child savings account program, which will provide them with a one-time deposit of $50 to build on and educational tools that will follow them until graduation.

The Kindergarteners won't graduate from high school for a while, but APS officials announced they'll have a financial head start when they start college, because of the investments they will have made in the Operation HOPE savings program. All kindergarten participants are getting $50 to start.

"This is a beautiful opportunity for us to take advantage of. For birthday parties, instead of giving all those gifts, put it in the account for my baby's future," said one parent, Jatisha McCoy.

She said her daughter, Kasie-Jay, says she plans to go to college and start her own business.

"I put my money in a piggy bank, My parents put my money in a bank account to grow bigger and bigger and bigger," said Kasie-Jay.

Kindergartener Jeremiah Farrell has plans of his own.

"Saving money in my piggy bank so I can build a school like TAG Academy," he said.

The savings program is a partnership between the City of Atlanta, Operation HOPE, and Citibank.

"We want our young people to start thinking about the language of money," said HOPE Programs EVP and President Lance Triggs.

The students will get incentives to build their savings and can't withdraw the funds until they graduate from an APS high school. They can then spend it on tuition and other college expenses. The program offers parental matches. Every dollar a parent puts in will be matched, up to $25.

"This is a testament of our belief in our babies, in our scholars and their life's journey," said APS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring.

Mayor Andre Dickens quoted Nelson Mandela, saying, "The way a society treats its children is a revelation of our soul." Dickens said the city is looking to the future. "We are investing in our children's future, so the soul of the city is revealing a lot at this very moment."

The program is the vision of Atlanta's former mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms.

"This Dickens Administration has accepted this baton and will lay a foundation with Citibank and Operation HOPE to create a future for our children that they otherwise may not have," Bottoms said.

The Operation HOPE program also includes financial literacy workshops for students, parents, and caregivers.

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