The Star 2-5-19
J.E. Ober Elementary School students learn about air pressure at Ivy Tech’s School of Technology during the 2018 DeKalb County Promise Walk Into My Future event.
AUBURN — The communitywide DeKalb County Promise initiative is announcing open enrollment for families ready to start saving for their children’s learning beyond high school.
Parents, guardians and grandparents soon will have opportunities to ask questions, learn the benefits of 529 Career Savings accounts and enroll their children or grandchildren with on-site help at family events happening in all of DeKalb County’s elementary schools.
Just for enrolling, families with children from age 4 to third grade automatically will receive a $25 deposit per account. Families matching the initial $25 incentive with $25 from “champions” in their children’s lives automatically will receive an additional community gift of $75, resulting in a minimum balance of $125 per 529 Career Savings account.
By enrolling when a child is young, the tax-free account has time to grow, DeKalb County Promise leaders said.
Upcoming enrollment opportunities include J.E. Ober Elementary School’s Math Night on Thursday and its Feb. 12 KARE Night for children planning to enroll in kindergarten at J.E. Ober for fall 2019.
Riverdale Elementary School will be hosting on-site Promise enrollment at the Feb. 23 Family Fun Night being held at Butler Elementary School.
Families with children attending Waterloo Elementary School will have an opportunity to enroll Feb. 28 at another fun evening event for families.
“There is tremendous power in the DeKalb County community coming together to support the hopes and aspirations of our youth. I encourage all families to look for on-site enrollment opportunities where, in just a few minutes, families can ensure their child has the assets, champions, and community support to pursue their dreams,” said Tonya Weaver, Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools superintendent, who is Promise Task Force member.
DeKalb County Promise is a countywide collaboration of local and regional organizations helping to rally the community, families and children’s “champions” to help families take a first step toward a bright future, while also integrating college and career discovery activities in classrooms countywide, the organization said.
Champions are the people in each child’s life who believe in that child’s future, such as parents, grandparents, other relatives, teachers, friends and neighbors, etc. Champions may offer support financially or by or simply offering a child words of support and encouragement.
Participating elementary schools partnering in DeKalb County Promise are Butler, Country Meadow, J.E. Ober, J.R. Watson, Lakewood Park, McKenney-Harrison, Riverdale, St. Joseph Catholic and Waterloo.
Nearly 30 local and regional organizations are engaged, including Ambassador Enterprises, Community Foundation DeKalb County, DeKalb Health, Eckhart Public Library, Garrett Public Library, Impact Institute, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne, Junior Achievement, Purdue Extension, The James Foundation, United Way, YMCA of DeKalb County, local governments, businesses, faith-based organizations and individual funders.
“Families with children who are age 4 to third grade and live or attend school in DeKalb County may enroll now at DeKalbCountyPromise.org. You’ll want to have your child’s Social Security number and your own handy,” said Judy Sorg, director of Learning Link, the Community Foundation’s education initiative.
For more information, parents may like and share @DeKalbCountyPromise, e-mail their names and e-mail addresses to Promise@CFDeKalb.org for the Promise newsletter, or contact Promise coordinator Melanie Beer at Community Foundation DeKalb County, 925-0311.
According to findings reported by Promise Indiana, if a child has between $1 and $499 in a 529 Career Savings account, she or he is three times more likely to complete high school and attend some post-high school training or education, and four times more likely to complete that career training or education. More information is available at PromiseIndiana.org.