Children at Queens NYCHA development get $1K each for college fund

Monica Makes It Happen
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QUEENS — Hundreds of young students who live at the Astoria Houses will get an investment in their future thanks to their tenant president.

Bella Deleonard, is one of those students. She might only be 9 years old, but she already knows what she wants for her future. Her mom says she always been driven.

“She’s a shoot forward kinda girl,” said Samantha Deleonard.

Now she and hundreds of other children who live at the Astoria Houses are getting a thousand dollars added to a college fund, making that future look a whole lot brighter

Claudia Coger, 85, the Astoria Houses tenant president helped make it happen. It was Coger’s idea to add the money to a community scholarship program already in place, with the help of a nonprofit called NYC Kids RISE.

It’s an idea that really took off.

Fundraising launched in June, and they’ve already raised $184,000.

“Money makes a difference, not just for purchases, but where these children can go,” said Coger.

Enough funds have been raised to contribute $1,000 dollars to every kindergartner, first grader, second grader and third grader at the NYCHA development.

“We’ve had more than 160 donors who have donated. Thanks to leadership of Ms. Coger,” said Debra-Ellen Glickstein, the founding executive director of NYC Kids RISE.

It’s the first community scholarship effort led by a NYCHA residents association.

Coger said she hopes others will follow their lead. The goal is to have this program across the city within the next five years.

Astoria Houses residents will host a virtual celebration of the scholarship campaign on Feb. 6 here.

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