2020 – a review
2020 was a hugely challenging year, and I suspect there are very few people who weren’t impacted by the pandemic in some way. The Shine From Within team also experienced a number of personal and family challenges mixed in too…talk about a huge year!
However, as challenging as it was, it’s been reassuring to take a moment to reflect on the year that was 2020 and all that our community accomplished.
Here’s are some of our highlights!
We launched our Online Academy – a virtual community connecting teens with international experts and youth mentors to build confidence, life skills, creativity and more! Watch this short video to get a sense of what it’s all about.
We launched it with a bang – a week of FREE live virtual classes (26 of them!) throughout the week, facilitated by many of our incredible youth mentors. It was such a fun week….we had 333 teens and tweens registered from 27 different countries!
Since the Online Academy launched, we’ve been growing the community and it’s honestly been one of the blessings to come out of a very challenging 2020. Now, every Sunday we get to check-in with a lovely group of teen members over Zoom, hear what’s going on in their world, celebrate the wins with them, talk through the challenges and share. Then there are the new live classes we host in the O.A. each month too. Depending on what the members are asking for, we organise classes on a huge range of topics. For example, a recent class was ‘stretching for self-compassion’ with our youth mentor in Canada. This month we’ve also had classes in natural health with a naturopath, veganism, Saturday morning movement and some study skills classes.
In 2020 we trained 84 new mentors in our award-winning Youth Mentor Training! We’ve now got 256 Youth Mentors in 19 countries (and counting!) including Zambia, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, France, UK, Belgium, Ireland, Canada, USA, Malaysia, China, Thailand, New Zealand, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Australia, Oman and Sweden.
New ways we supported our youth mentors in 2020:
- We launched our new Youth Mentor Coterie to support business development for mentors. Those who graduate from our Youth Mentor Training program move into this business development incubator which includes additional live masterclasses on topics such as branding, being an inclusive mentor and being trauma informed; lesson plans; co-working sessions and a marketplace to share/sell resources with each other.
- We grew the team with a new support coach for youth mentors, Adefolashade Fadeyi, who graduated from our Youth Mentor Training herself a couple of years ago and has built a flourishing business called Brighter Girls in Lagos, Nigeria. Fola now joins Leah Castle, who has been our support coach for mentors for the past few years.
- And we provided loads of opportunities for our youth mentors to facilitate their own classes in the new Online Academy.
Interest in our Shine From the Inside schools curriculum continued to grow and it’s now in many schools across Australia (and a couple overseas) supporting teachers to deliver a flexible 10-week wellbeing program for students who identify as girls in late primary through to middle school. Towards the end of 2020, we offered the curriculum at a discounted price (valid until 1 April 2021) in our commitment to getting the curriculum out to as many schools as possible, especially after such a challenging year!
- We still managed to speak to 200 teens live at various in-person events (surprisingly!).
- We released Season 2 of The Youth Mentor podcast. If you’re curious about supporting teens online and how the whole thing went (including the mistakes we’ve made along the way) have a listen here.
- We applied to become a certified B-Corporation (expect an announcement on this VERY soon!)
- We progressed and continued with our goals in relation to our social justice commitment. This included:
- Overhauling our Youth Mentor Training. While we teach our mentors to hold safe and inclusive spaces and had an anti-oppression masterclass scheduled to be included in our training, we realised we actually needed to overhaul the entire Youth Mentor Training and embed anti-racism, anti-oppression and true inclusion into the fabric of our training. We committed to another 6 months of consulting with our anti-oppression consultant, Sharyn Holmes, to keep us accountable and have been making good way with updates to the modules and new guest experts coming on board.
- We continued to donate and support important causes and charities in Australia who amplify and advocate for First Nations people, like IndigenousX, Sister’s Inside, and SeedMob. We donated to or supported other Patreons including Dominion, Brightside Farm Sanctuary, Genesis for Animals, Cathy Freeman Foundation, Aretha Brown, The Juice Media, etc.
- We reviewed our budget and identified areas where we can be working with BIPOC. Currently at least 80% of purchases and hiring of services are from businesses that are majority-owned by women or individuals from underrepresented populations.
- We continued to honour our commitment to providing Pay What You Can places in our training and ensuring it is a truly global program. In 2020, we provided 22% of places in our Youth Mentor Training to Pay What You Can applicants. Having a diverse mix of people in our community adds so much value and richness for everyone enrolled.
- We committed to ensuring that any youth mentors we promote and who teach in our Online Academy are dedicated to doing this work also. They must have completed implicit bias tests to even apply to be a facilitator in our Online Academy. We’re committed to providing further training for them and have already provided them with their own list of reading and resources.
- We committed to continuing to develop relationships and working to have more marginalised identities represented across our Online Academy and Youth Mentor Training so that all young people feel they are represented when they come to us and to ensure we have a variety of rich perspectives and wisdom to share.
- We committed to ensuring our digital spaces are safe and free from discrimination through detailed community guidelines that specify things like: refraining from using gendered language, refraining from using culturally appropriated language, zero tolerance for displays of white fragility, white supremacy, racism, etc and we provide swift feedback when breached (whether intentional or not).
We’ve had some fun this year and we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for being part of the Shine From Within community.
May 2021 be filled with peace, joy, immense gratitude and big dose of LOVE.
Amanda, Leah, Tash + the whole Shine From Within team xxx