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Guidance Center and National Grid Join to Help Students Think Big!

by | Feb 21, 2019 | Press Releases

New partnership includes inspirational talk on setting future career goals

Roslyn Heights, NY, February 21, 2019 — On February 12, 2019, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center and National Grid launched their new partnership with a Career Day talk at the Center for Community Adjustment (CCA), part of Nassau B.O.C.E.S. in Wantagh.

The speaker was Juan Santiago, National Grid Customer and Community Manager, who quickly won over the students with his engaging tale about his life and career journey, from his beginnings as a kid in Brooklyn who shared three pairs of jeans and a bed with his brother and was admittedly not all that interested in school. But he always dreamed big and went for what he called “stretch goals,” and it shows: Santiago’s career trajectory took him from a grocery store bagger to a successful Navy career to a National Grid meter reader and ultimately his current high-level role with National Grid, all while getting his degree online.

He told the students that there are many paths to success, and if they put their hearts and minds to it, they could reach the highest levels. “Just because someone doesn’t take a traditional route doesn’t mean they are any less motivated,” said Santiago.

When he asked the students what they liked to do, many shared their interests, and he encouraged them to take those passions, make far-reaching goals, and then take the steps needed so that one day, they’d have terrific careers that they’d love.

Assistant Principal Easton Hazell; Kathleen Wisnewski, National Grid Customer and Community Manager; Lauren McGowan, Director of Development at the Guidance Center; Juan Santiago, National Grid Customer and Community Manager; Dena Papadopoulos, Mental Health Counselor at the Guidance Center; and Suzanne Martin, Youth Employment Specialist at the Guidance Center.

For example, one student shared that he was good at fixing things, and Santiago told him that his skill could take him to new heights: “Think big! One day you can design and help build a bridge, or maybe you will go to Japan someday and help build the tallest skyscraper. If you can dream it, you can do it!”

Kathleen Wisnewski, National Grid Customer and Community Manager, said that Santiago’s enthusiasm “pulled the kids in and got them engaged from the very beginning.” The kids were “all smiles” by the end of the talk, she added, and many were eager to pull Santiago aside to ask questions and share their own stories.

“While we encourage the exploration and discussion of various tracks to success within the Guidance Center and Nassau B.O.C.E.S., to hear and connect with someone who has navigated the ‘non-traditional’ route to success often leaves more of a lasting impact with our population of students,” said Dena Papadopoulos, Mental Health Counselor at the Center for Community Adjustment (CCA), Nassau B.O.C.E.S, which is one of three B.O.C.E.S schools at which the Guidance Center runs the Intensive Support Program, or ISP. At each school, students who come from all 56 Nassau districts receive intensive mental health services on site.

Suzanne Martin, Youth Employment Counselor at ISP, added, “All the students responded well and enjoyed hearing Juan’s path to success. They found it encouraging and relatable.” She added, “We’re very grateful to Juan and the National Grid team for bringing us this very special program.”

The event was the first of several that the Guidance Center has planned in partnership with National Grid. “We work with organizations all over Long Island and the city to promote STEM  [science, technology, engineering and math],” explained Wisnewski. “We are excited about our new partnership with the Guidance Center, and we look forward to our future events.”

About North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center:

As the preeminent not-for-profit children’s mental health agency on Long Island, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center is dedicated to restoring and strengthening the emotional well-being of children (from birth – age 24) and their families. Our highly trained staff of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, vocational rehabilitation counselors and other mental health professionals lead the way in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, training, parent education, research and advocacy. The Guidance Center helps children and families address issues such as depression and anxiety; developmental delays; bullying; teen pregnancy; sexual abuse; teen drug

and alcohol abuse; and family crises stemming from illness, death, trauma and divorce. For more than 65 years, the Guidance Center has been a place of hope and healing, providing innovative and compassionate treatment to

all who enter our doors, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information about the Guidance Center, visit or call (516) 626-1971.

About National Grid:

National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE: NGG) is an electricity, natural gas and clean energy delivery company serving more than 20 million people through our networks in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We are the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates the systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain.  National Grid is transforming our electricity and natural gas networks with smarter, cleaner and more resilient energy solutions to meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Our Northeast 80×50 Pathway is an industry leading analysis for how to reach that goal in the states we serve, focusing on the power generation, heat and transportation sectors. 

Read more about the innovative projects across our footprint in The Democratization of Energy, an eBook written by National Grid’s U.S. president, Dean Seavers. For more information, please visit our website, follow us on Twitter, watch us on YouTube, friend us on Facebook and find our photos on Instagram

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