It takes a village …

By Connie Clouston

Recently, Kamona Ayres, a lead engineer at Northport Power Station and several other National Grid employees, attended the Girls, Inc. 2017 New York annual luncheon, along with two girls from the Long Island chapter of the non-profit organization.  National Grid is a corporate sponsor and supporter of Girls, Inc., which inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through direct service and advocacy. Their comprehensive approach to “whole girl development” equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.  The event host was Elizabeth Vargas, anchor of ABC News 20/20, and The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton was presented the Champion for Girls Award.

According to Kamona, this annual event is an opportunity to celebrate the successes of the past year.

“These are girls with limited access to successful role models who have taken non-traditional career paths. Volunteers act as mentors and show the girls what other options they may have and support them in all aspects of their lives.”

She talked about a young girl whose mother had a stroke.  The girl became her caregiver until her mother passed away.  Because she was involved in Girls Inc., she was given the support she needed to transition to foster care successfully and is now attending college. The story highlighted the fact that it really does “take a village” to raise a child.

Kamona initially became involved with Girls Inc. a few years ago when Kathy Wisnewski, community and customer manager and co-chair of the board of Girls, Inc. of Long Island, approached her about leading a tour through the Northport Power Station for a group of the girls.

“Kamona has shared her story with the girls, getting them engaged and involved in discussions about the technical side of what we do. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to observe a woman in a non-traditional role,” Kathy said. “It’s important for these girls, who may not otherwise have exposure to all the career choices available to them.”

Kamona added, “It’s a worthwhile organization that gives girls support they wouldn’t normally get. They have a safe atmosphere in which to grow and thrive, knowing that people really care about them and by getting to know women who are successful in traditional and non-traditional roles, they learn that they can do and be anything they want.”

From left to right: Eileen Cifone, Lauren Perry, Kathy Wisnewski (Co-chair of the board), Kamona Ayres, Renee McClure and Mauri Myers-Solages

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