The Shine Project was founded by college senior Ashley LeMieux in 2011. During her student teaching rotation at an inner-city high school, Ashley observed many young people with great potential, but she quickly realized that these students never even considered college an option. Living under the crushing weight of poverty, many students could not fathom college and a career when they had no idea how they were going to find the resources to survive the next month, the next week, even the next day. Ashley decided to use her social media influence to raise funds for scholarships, and at the end of the year, she gave 7 scholarships to students.
Ashley quickly realized that a one-time effort wasn't enough, and she founded The Shine Project nonprofit to continue to raise scholarship funds for inner city youth. To date, more than 100 students have been given scholarships. But as she became more familiar with the students and beneficiaries of the program, Ashley quickly realized that a scholarship for tuition would not be enough. She decided to create a for-profit jewelry business that would employ the students who received scholarships. They would receive steady pay and benefits in a supportive work environment, and would also receive training in marketable skill areas, such as customer service, management, marketing, design, sales, and event planning. Ashley and her team could also continue to mentor, support, and cheer on these students, keeping them engaged and motivated to continue their studies. And profits from the store could be used to support The Shine Project.
Here's a video that explains more about the history and mission of Ashley and The Shine Project:
When you purchase jewelry from The Shine Project, you are employing a young adult who is working hard to overcome the cycle of poverty. You are enabling them to earn a living while pursuing their education and are directly investing in their future. And the jewelry these students make is beautiful! Here are a few of our favorites: