“We will prosper”

By Wendy Ladd

National Grid is a proud sponsor of The Viscardi Center’s PROSPER (People Reaching for Opportunities to Succeed Personally, Educationally and Realistically) program. The vocational high school program is for “at risk” students. This year Juan Santiago was asked to be the keynote speaker at the graduation to inspire students about their future.

Juan Santiago

“This is the second year that I have been involved with the program and to hear the stories of where these students have come from, what hurdles they have overcome and to see them filled with hopes and optimism is extremely inspiring,” said Juan Santiago, Customer and Community Management, National Grid. “It is great program that National Grid is very involved in, bringing students to the office and the power stations to open their eyes to careers they never imagined.” 

It was an emotional graduation as teachers, graduates, and some mothers all spoke through tears of their growth and transformation through this program. Many students expressed that they didn’t care about school or think about their future until this program. Throughout the year long, half-day program junior and seniors students from across Long Island visit companies like National Grid to discuss career paths, and to broaden their horizons.

One graduate, Christopher Burgos, visited a National Grid office and said he wanted to work there. His mother spoke about how much he has grown, he has already been offered a job, but declined it because he is hoping to work in an office like National Grids.

PROSPER students also visit college campuses; they learn about dressing professionally and explore all the career and educational opportunities available to them. The program helps students improve attendance/self-esteem and encourages them to gain an understanding of the relevancy of education as it relates to the world of work. Their motto is “we will prosper!”

“There are opportunities everywhere,” said Dejuan Desani, PROSPER graduate. “I have learned respect and about various business opportunities.”

Students visited the Barret Power Station, a picture of the students at the plant is on their website, where they learned about career paths in energy. Other local corporations participate in the program such as Jet Blue and the Veteran’s Memorial Nassau Coliseum.

“I’d like to thank PROSPER. It is about exposure and it has changed my thinking and increased my chances for success, now we have to show up,” said Arsaan Ethridge, PROSPER graduate.

Congratulations class of 2018!

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