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Gospel music hall of famer Bishop Hezekiah Walker to headline benefit concert for NYC Kids RISE at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in LIC

Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee Bishop Hezekiah Walker is performing at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in Long Island City in a benefit concert in support of NYC Kids RISE on Wednesday night. Photo courtesy of Bishop Hezekiah Walker

Feb. 6, 2024 By Bill Parry

Multi-Grammy-award winner Bishop Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Tabernacle Choir will headline the Concert for College 2024 at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center on Wednesday night to raise funds for the NYC Scholarship Accounts of students at nine Queens elementary schools through the Long Island City-based NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program, a community tool New Yorkers can use to build wealth in their neighborhoods and support the college and career dreams of their children.

Photo courtesy of NYC Kids RISE

Spearheaded by the Center of Hope International, the Concert for College 2024 will bring together faith, civic, business and community leaders and organizations, government and elected officials, school communities, and neighborhood residents to showcase support for Queens children and celebrate the fact that nearly every student in elementary school now has an NYC Scholarship Account.

The Concert for College 2024 at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center will raise funds for Long Island City-based NYC Kids RISE. Photo courtesy of NYC Kids RISE

“The Concert for College stands as evidence of the community’s dedication to nurturing the next generation,” said Bishop Mitchell Taylor, senior pastor of The Center of Hope International. “It communicates our unwavering belief in the potential of our youth and emphasizes the significant influence we wield as a community when we are united toward a common goal. We encourage all New Yorkers to come out on Wednesday to support our students.”

Photo courtesy of NYC Kids RISE

Building on the success of the inaugural 2019 Concert for College, the Concert for College 2024 is a prime example of one of the ways communities can utilize the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program as a tool to raise financial assets and reinforce expectations of success for the children of the community. Other performers include the Community School 111 Gospel Choir, Spirit in Motion dance and Center of Hope International Praise Team.

Photo courtesy of NYC Kids RISE

“The Concert for College sends a powerful message to our children that we believe in their future and the power of the Save for College Program,” NYC Kids RISE Founding Executive Director Debra-Ellen Glickstein said. “Launched seven years ago right here in our neighborhood, the Program is a tool for communities to come together to support their children.”

Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased here. All event proceeds will go to the NYC Scholarship Accounts of students at P.S. 17, P.S. 76, P.S. 111, P.S. 112, P.S. 151, P.S. 171, Growing Up Green Charter School, Our World Neighborhood Charter School and VOICE Charter School via donation through NYC Kids RISE.

“The Concert for College 2024 is a marquee example of this in action,” Glickstein said. “I am thrilled to join the celebration on Wednesday night and can’t wait to hear the Community School 111 Gospel Choir.”

The event gets underway at 7 p.m. at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center at 31-10 Thomson Ave. on Wednesday, Feb. 7. NYC Kids RISE spent January promoting its initiative across the city during NYC Scholarship Month that culminated at a celebration and workshop for parents and guardians of students in kindergarten, first and second grade at P.S. 123Q in South Jamaica.

More than 250 students at the school have NYC Scholarship Accounts with more than $32,000 invested in the college and career future. The event was supported by NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams.

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams welcomed parents and guardians to P.S. 123Q in South Jamaica as NYC Scholarship Month wrapped up on Jan. 25. Photo courtesy of NYC Kids RISE

“Preparing our children for their future is a herculean task. Our parents who are here know this, and as a mother and grandmother, I understand it well,” Adams said. “But it becomes a little easier when there’s a community supporting them and their success. When family members, friends and neighbors are all contributing to helping that child fulfill their dreams, it becomes a collective effort.”

City officials recently announced that over 200,000 students across the five boroughs, including 75,000 new students, now have NYC Scholarship Accounts with nearly $30 million invested for their future. Research has shown that a child in a low-income household with a college savings account of just $1 to $500 is three times more likely to go to college and more than four times more likely to graduate than a child without an account.

“I have been a longtime fan of NYC Kids RISE and the work that you do for students. In fact, bringing these scholarship accounts to the scholars in District 28 has been a personal goal of mine for years,” Adams said. “As this initiative continues to expand and reach even more young people in every neighborhood, even more parents and communities will be empowered to save for their children’s future.”

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