Project SHINE

(Students Helping In the Naturalization of Elders)

What is SHINE?
Shine is a collaborative service-learning project that links students from City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University with older immigrants and refugees seeking to learn English and navigate the complex path to U.S. citizenship. In citizenship and ESL classes in CCSF’s noncredit program and in community sites, students coach elders, helping them become more actively engaged in their communities and teaching the U.S. history and civics needed to pass the citizenship exam.

Who participates in SHINE?
Students from CCSF and SFSU who are enrolled in courses in Political Science, American Government, Sociology, Health and Aging, Latin American Studies, Asian American Studies, Spanish language, and in the Masters program in Teaching English as a Second Language, to name a few. These students take concepts they've learned in the lectures and readings they do for their courses to reflect on their experience coaching for SHINE. As part of the project they write papers and journals or give presentations to their fellow classmates. Some CCSF coaches get paid through a work-study allocation, or through lab aide funding.

How did SHINE start?
The 1996 Welfare Reform legislation placed approximately 8.5 million immigrants and refugees in jeopardy of losing their benefits.
Particularly vulnerable are elders who are legal permanent residents but who have not obtained citizenship. Without citizenship, these elders face loss of housing, income, food stamps, and access to health care, among other basic needs. For elderly immigrants applying for citizenship, the INS naturalization exam can present a daunting obstacle. Many have few years of formal schooling and struggle to learn English. SHINE was started in 1997 as a collaboration between City College and San Francisco State University to address the needs of these elderly immigrant students, and to help build intergenerational relationships. These older students have told us that the encouragement and individual attention they get from SHINE coaches can make all the difference. SHINE now involves over 200 credit students placed in about 80 non-credit classes per year...


What is SAIL?
Project SAIL, Students Assisting with Immigrant Literacies, is an extension of SHINE, in which SFSU and CCSF students are placed in literacy, ESL or in family literacy classes
in other community settings.


Linda O'Roke, Coordinator, Project SHINE

For information on the SHINE National Project at Temple University please visit: SHINE