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.
Each year students have a different capstone project to give back to their community. The class of 2018 hosted Yuma’s First International Peace Conference. Students prepared for ten months and demonstrated their knowledge in transferable communication skills that are essential in promoting peace. Yuma and San Luis Rio Colorado Sonora, Mexico students shared messages of Peace during the conference, showcased their peace-inspired artwork, and encouraged the community to be Peace Ambassadors for both cities and countries. City of Yuma Mayor, Douglas J. Nicholls, proclaimed the day of the event May 12, 2018 as the city’s “Day of Peace” and local press attested to the success of the event.
The Mentor Program is the first of its kind in the City of Yuma 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.