The SHINE Program was created in 2009 in Yuma, Arizona to promote citizenship, sportsmanship, and build youth of strong moral character during critically unsupervised hours. SHINE has served over one thousand elementary students through after school activities, youth leadership programs, and community clubs. Sports Helping Influence Neighborhood Excellence (SHINE) has evolved, but our commitment to improve our community through youth services remains.
Originally, SHINE was an after school program for G.W. Carver Elementary, Salida Del Sol Elementary, and Gila Vista Junior High schools. Staff from Housing Authority City of Yuma (HACY), volunteered as coaches and facilitated four-to-five activities once a week, to teach the fundamentals of sports and character education.
After outgrowing the after school program, middle school and high school students wanted to continue participating in SHINE, but did not have a specific role in the activities. In 2015, the after-school Program added a Mentor and Leadership Training component for high school students that, beginning in 2017, provides college credit at no cost. Students are eligible to continue participating in the program throughout their high school career where they will earn college credit in a different course each year. The Mentor Program is the first of its kind in the city that provides both leadership training and college credit. The Program was a recipient of a National Award of Merit and Excellence by NAHRO for its innovation and community impact in 2019.
In 2020, SHINE was asked to take over the local Boys and Girls Center. For two years, SHINE offered the most affordable childcare option in Yuma County, provided COVID-19 relief to essential workers, and was recognized by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development as a Best Practices Program nationwide. In 2022, we made the unfortunate, but necessary decision to step away from the Center to serve our most vulnerable community, low-income youth in public housing.
Currently, SHINE facilitates the after school program at various Housing Authority City of Yuma (HACY) apartment complexes. Enrollment is only available to neighborhood residents participating in HACY's Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD). The after school program offers arts and crafts, STEM projects, sports, field trips, character education, and free snacks, to children ages five through twelve.