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Thousands of educational kits and about $500,000 more in Oakland Promise scholarships were given out this past fall to Oakland kindergartners to get them started early toward a promising career.

The 2,400 “Keep On Moving” kits were given out at more than 35 schools and about 5,000 scholarships of $100 each were distributed to get families thinking about getting their child to college.

The kits the children received and embraced contained pencils, a sharpener, white board and markers, crayons, a piggy bank, and a book.

“The OP Scholarship and support my kindergartner receives from the scholarships and kits help me to explain to my child that college is more than just a dream for our family … it’s a tangible goal for him,” said Bukola Ajana, a parent participating in the Oakland Promise program, which has four programs to support Oakland youth from cradle to career.

Since Oakland Promise began in 2016, more than $3 million has been awarded to 30,000 kindergartners in public charter and Oakland Unified School District schools. The $100 each child gets can grow to $500 by the time they become a high school senior.

“Our K2C program is part of our whole cradle-to-college and career mission to create more equity for our Oakland students, especially for prospective first generation college students and BIPOC families.”

Rachel Westmoreland, Oakland Promise

It’s a little money for college that children can add to through a college savings account, for example.

“Our goal is to have Oakland students see themselves as college- and career-bound and their families have the resources needed to successfully navigate their child’s journey to post-secondary education beginning in kindergarten,” Veena Pawloski, director of Oakland Promise’s Kindergarten to College program, said in a statement.

K2C program staff have also helped and continue to help families start family-owned college savings accounts for their children.

Results from one study show that children from low-income families may be more likely to go to college and graduate when they have college savings accounts, even with fewer than $500. The study was published in 2013, by the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis.

“Our K2C program is part of our whole cradle-to-college and career mission to create more equity for our Oakland students, especially for prospective first generation college students and BIPOC families.” said Rachel Westmoreland, interim CEO of Oakland Promise, in a statement.

“By providing more opportunities and possibilities through funding, resources and positive support for Oakland’s families, we can continue to help turn their career dreams to reality for generations of young people in this great city,” Westmoreland added. “This is even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The K2C program is one of four Oakland Promise programs that aim to help children go to college, get through college, and embark on a rewarding career.