Project SHINE and Student Learning at CUH
One project that Dr. Bryan Man has been involved with since it’s inception has been Project SHINE. Run by our Service Learning Office (Candice Sakuda) this project has been a fantastic opportunity for our Behavioral Science students to experience what we present in courses–cultural variation and assimilation.
Project SHINE started in response to federal policy changes that increased strain on immigrant communities, a citizenship tutorial program was born in Honolulu in 1996. A grassroots community organization, the Chinese Community Action Coalition, was at the helm, engaging faculty and students from Chaminade, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and Kapi‘olani Community College. Today, the program thrives as part of a national service-learning initiative called Project SHINE, “Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders.” This program involves students assisting elderly and resource-limited permanent residents through the United States citizenship process. Chaminade trains students from all three campuses to assume the role of tutors, providing civics and English-language acquisition assistance to learners, no matter what their level of English proficiency may be. Our students find the program very meaningful, not only for those whom they help and build relationships with through the tutorial, but also for themselves. Giving back to the community and making an impact on other people’s lives give students a sense of fulfillment that often brings them back to service in future semesters. Students also develop leadership skills. SHINE’s built-in leadership opportunities enable our best tutors to return to the program as experienced mentors for new volunteers and managers of the program. For example, one of our coordinators mentioned that SHINE “facilitates a safe and beneficial relationship between learners and tutors as they share cross-cultural experiences and learn about each other.” When asked how the program influenced her life, the student said that the program improved her Cantonese-speaking skills and, more importantly, transformed her from a shy person to someone who is willing to reach out and engage with others. She feels accomplishment and joy every time she sees the people she tutors finally understand and be able to utilize the new skills learned in their everyday lives. Project SHINE has received the prestigious E Pluribus Unum Prize for its work in promoting immigrant integration and building stronger communities that define the future of our country.