OUR STORY

Celebrating the journey and the hope

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Sharing Hope in Neighborhoods Everywhere (S.H.I.N.E) was born from the stories and experiences of young people whom I have had the honor to get to know in our community of Tri-Cities, WA. They helped to teach me that when caring adults help create opportunities for our youth to explore their identity and understand their purpose, then we can strive for success together. S.H.I.NE. envisions harnessing the strengths and improving the weaknesses of our local youth in order to aid them in envisioning a purpose and fulfilling their dreams.


In listening to our young leaders, we have heard stories of despair, hurt, and recycled trauma. Our youth are faced with the stress of economic disparity, substance abuse, exposure to violence (physical and sexual), pregnancy at an early age, diminished sense of self-worth and many more challenges that are far too often suffered in silence. Our belief is that, if we combine a nurturing environment with the transferable skills needed in the employable industry, we can begin to see our youth transform the pain of present circumstances into fuel for goal setting and recognize value within their lives. Some might say, why a restaurant?: Well food brings us together while providing a space to share stories and build community. Learning the skills associated with this type of social enterprise along with a focus on self-development can prove to be invaluable in our youth's life. Also, our nutritional health is an aspect of wellness that many of our young people are struggling with as well.

Simply said: we aim to facilitate their own belief that they matter, are significant and they each have a unique purpose in our community/society.

We have discovered through several open mic nights, that our young people are inspired by the various skills learned in the kitchen and service industry, along with music/arts. Through fostering strong mentoring relationships with our youth and the building blocks of a social enterprise, we have the opportunity to help young people develop a foundation to grow and flourish. In other words: they can SHINE and reach new heights!!

Everyone deserves to be launched towards the path of their desire.

 

HIGHLIGHT STORY

Evelyn Vega

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Hi my name is Evelyn, I am 19 years old and I have 2 boys and a girl on the way. I didn’t graduate but I am planning on getting my G.E.D. I have had ups in downs in life but life is life. To begin with shine started by Deleon. He first got some teens to meet, then through time nobody would show up to the meetings then Deleon got us back to meeting. Not a lot of the teens went or go because of many reasons but some still manage to show up . Shine to me means Family, motivation etc,. Shine is to inspire hope within our youth, especially those faced with the most challenging circumstances, to thrive as purposeful, healthy, and responsive bings.
Shine is important to me because I feel like if we make it to where we want shine to be we will be able to help teens, help our community, help others feel welcomed. Shine can change many things and many lives . My future goal is to make shine, SHINE. Another goal is to achieve what we started and to make it happen.

 

Founder- DeLeon Gause

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Navigating the inner city area of Miami, FL is a long way from the campus of Boston College, of which I am proud to call my alma mater. Along the way a collection of family members, coaches, and mentors helped me find my voice and my path. This network of support helped me overcome barriers despite growing up in a community that was economically disadvantaged, eperiencing high unemployment rates, suffering from violence and despair. Those who helped me believe in myself, as well as work towards my goal, served as a beacon of light in my life.


Fast forward to my time working with youth as a teen coordinator for the Boys and Girls club in Pasco, WA. This role gave me the same opportunity to be a beacon of light for others. The opportunity to become re-inspired by young people who are extraordinarily resilient and amazingly talented, but have lost their ability to dream through many adverse situations. These young people informally adopted me as family and allowed me to be a part of their journey through difficult circumstances. Being able to share experiences with young people who volunteered at homeless shelters or rallied to organize and staff open mic nights, helped me to see the immense potential that they possessed. However, we soon recognized that there is a gap in skill building, vocational training, and life coaching for our young people 16-22, which is why S.H.I.N.E was created. Creating opportunities for young people to grasp onto hope as they become equipped with tangible tools to overcome life's challenges. Or in the words of our young world changers, "We all S.H.I.N.E together".