Throughout communities of Belize woman are often undervalued. There are many broken families where women are left with multiple children, no income, and a need to provide.
This creates a very dangerous environment, where young girls are often left to fend for themselves. Their lives are left balancing open opportunities to abuse, drugs, prostitution, or even worse – trafficked. The lack of resources often leave youth and families stuck with no means or hope to get out of the cycle.
Our goal is to provide a way for education, skills, and hope, one woman at a time.
“Here at Shine I experienced many new things and new friends and I cherish every moment that I am with them.”
“I had fun and I learned a lot. I shouldn’t let anyone get me down I always keep my self-esteem. I thank you all for being so kind to me.”
“This was a really good experience and I got to meet people with really good hearts.”
“I want to thank you for always being with us and always giving us a lesson and having fun and laughing, most importantly.”
“I love it because every Saturday I have someone to talk to.”
“I made new friends, changed my ways, and learned to open myself up. I didn’t want to miss any of the classes.”
At age 14 Annie joined our Shine program as a timid high school girl. At the time she was living with her mom and 3 younger siblings as her dad was not in the picture. The following year, her mom starting drinking and soon became an alcoholic, abusing and neglecting the children. We brought Annie back into our Shine program for another semester so she could have a place to go and further mentoring. We worked with social services to intervene, the kids were placed at their aunt’s house while the mother went to AA classes and received counseling. The mom had certain requirements for attending the classes, but would seldom show up. It was heart-wrenching to see a mother lose her children. Meanwhile, Annie’s aunt didn’t like having 4 more children in her house and didn’t do much to care for them. Annie had to get a job to pay for food, cook meals, do laundry, and take care of her siblings. Once we found this out, social services came in again and the younger children were
sent to their grandmother’s house on the mainland while Annie stayed at her aunts to finish high school. Her mother continued to drink and Annie would go by to see her and do what she could to take care of her. She received a scholarship from a couple in the US covering her high school tuition and was 1 of 3 out of the sixteen kids who received scholarships to even complete high school. Not only that, Annie graduated high school with honors and a 3.78 GPA. We have partnered with others to provide her scholarships for college where she currently attending Belize University and studying to become a doctor. Annie is a beautiful young woman and is dedicated to excelling in all that she does. There are many girls like her who need the support, the time from people to walk alongside them, to help them succeed, and follow their dreams. From the timid young girl who we first met to the strong, confident and empowered woman she is becoming, this is what SHINE is all about!
At age 13, Natalie was having trouble with friends in high school, and decided to drop out. We met her recently at age 17 where she had spent the past 4 years hanging around with the wrong crowd and not making the best choices. When we met, she said that she would be attending a cosmetology program so that she could start working doing nails and hair. When asked if this was her dream, she initially said yes, but then through conversation, she let on to her real dream of finishing high school and going to college in the U.S. to study math. After some mentorship, we have secured scholarship money for Natalie to attend high school and will continue to support her through accountability. She is a delightful young lady and we pray for her to take up the challenge and become all she can be. She is one of many girls who do not finish high school, and one of many who do not follow their dreams because of lack of resources, encouragement and following the path of least resistance.