Peoria girl receives college savings start

Peoria’s Anastasia Phares, 5, was one of two kids honored by the Arizona Family College Savings Program. [Submitted photo]

AZ 529 donates through Phoenix Children’s Museum giveaway


The Arizona Family College Savings Program (AZ 529) presented two giant checks in the amount of $529 to the latest young recipients of future college savings plans, including one from Peoria.

The event took place at the Phoenix Children’s Museum to celebrate the occasion and highlight national 529 Day (held annually on May 29) for friends and family of the winners, along with the general public and media.

The first prize recipient is Peoria resident Anastasia Phares, a 5-year-old with plans to become a doctor when she gets older. Anastasia’s prize was sponsored by the College Savings Bank, one of the financial providers for the AZ 529. The next winner is Izak Campos a 7-year-old boy from Mesa who aspires to be a Major League Baseball player after receiving an education from Arizona State University.

The youth were honored with photos with the 529 mascot “Penny,” and a complimentary day filled with fun and festivities at the Phoenix Children’s Museum.

Recent survey findings, conducted by the College Savings Plans Network, note that only 20 percent of Americans understand how a 529 college savings plan works. AZ 529 wanted to shed some light on its program by hosting the event and awarding these two children $529 head starts to their college savings plans on 529 Day.

“Knowing that we have a chance to give her the opportunity to go to college when she gets older means everything.” Sonya Ramos, Anastasia’s mom stated. “I want to be able to give her the world and every opportunity to reach any goal she has. So, winning the $529 gives us hope that we will be able to provide our daughter with the education she needs to accomplish any goal her heart desires.”

The AZ 529 is a state-managed program, offering a tax-advantaged way to put money aside for college. Participants of the program receive a dollar-for-dollar tax deduction, up to $2,000 or $4,000 depending on filing status. Money earned over time will be tax-free if used for a variety of educational expenses and can be used at accredited schools around the country. Funds can be used for all levels of education, from vocational and trade schools, to community colleges to traditional four-year colleges and universities.

“This $529 head start into Izak’s college savings means so much to our family because we have six boys, so sending everyone to college is definitely going to be tough.” Andrea Saavedra explained. “We are a one-income family, so we definitely need help with it comes to funding college educations. We want to thank AZ 529 for this amazing gift!”

In addition to the check presentation for Anastasia and Izak, AZ 529 announced the winners of its annual coloring contest. Three more $529 college savings plans were awarded to children across the Valley based on their winning “Picture Yourself After College” artwork entries – and three additional honorable mentions received $200 each in AZ 529 college savings plans to boot.



What: Sane-P Training

About: This course provides 40 didactic contact hours and an opportunity to work in the growing field of forensic nursing.

When: July 29-Aug. 2

Where: Phoenix Children’s Conference Center, 2632 N. 20th St., Phoenix

Tickets: $625

More Information: 602-933-1000

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