Frequently Asked Questions (http://www.hamilton.edu/levitt/shine/faqs.html)
What is Project SHINE?
What will I do?
What preparation will I receive before I begin SHINE?
Who participates in SHINE?
How did SHINE start?
When and where do student coaches volunteer?
Can you give examples of what coaches do?
What is the coaching time commitment?
What if I don't speak my learners' language and can't communicate with the elders?
How does Project SHINE relate to coursework at Utica College and Hamilton College?
Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to participate in Project SHINE?
How can I find out more about Project SHINE?
SHINE stands for "Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders." It is a national service-learning initiative that builds partnerships among colleges, universities and community-based organizations to benefit older immigrants, refugees and college students.
SHINE links college students with older refugees and immigrants (50 and older) seeking to learn English and navigate the complex path to U.S. citizenship. In community centers, temples, churches, senior housing and classrooms, students coach or tutor elders in English, helping them become more actively engaged in their communities and teaching the U.S. history and civics needed to pass the citizenship exam.
SHINE currently exists in 9 U.S. cities and 19 colleges and universities. Here in Central New York, Utica College and Hamilton College partner with the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees (MVRCR), the BOCES Utica Access Site, Matt Apartments, Mohawk Valley Latino Association (MVLA) *classroom located at the Refugee Center.
You will work as a "coach" assisting in ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) or citizenship classes in the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees (MVRCR), the BOCES Utica Access Site, or Matt Apartments or a MLVA classroom. In most cases, you will work with the same elder or group of elders throughout the semester.
If you´re involved in the Project SHINE-MetLife Health Literacy Initiative you might run workshops to provide health screenings and advise learners about beneficial exercises and other health strategies. You will also coach and hold presentations to learners on healthcare topics. You may also be involved in developing printed materials that will include information about leisure and transportation opportunities in the Utica area and participate in a health fair each spring semester.
You´ll attend a training session at the beginning of each semester. This training will orient you to the program, help you to understand older immigrants, provide an overview of the citizenship process and introduce skills and tools for coaching and tutoring. You may also attend ESOL Extra Help Sessions throughoutin the semester to gain more ESOL tutoring skills.
Students from Utica College and Hamilton College who are enrolled in certain courses in Women´s Studies, Philosophy, Asian Studies, Psychology, Sociology and Sophomore Seminar, English and Spanish to name a few. These students connect concepts in their course´s lectures, readings and discussions to their coaching experience with SHINE through reflection. As part of the project they write papers and journals or give presentations to their fellow classmates. Students may also participate in SHINE as volunteers, and some Utica College coaches participate as work study students.
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.
Student coaches volunteer during a day and time that is convenient for them, in one of our four sites. Coaches may help in classes from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm Monday through Friday.
There are now specific times for those students who need transportation. Please make note of the times available to students each semester.
Most coaches will volunteer in an ESOL classroom where the ESOL instructor prepares the lesson plan for you and your learner. You might practice the alphabet, the long and short vowel sounds, certain vocabulary, telling time or idioms with worksheets provided by the ESOL instructor. You will also hold conversations with your learners to help them practice their English-speaking skills.
Coaches helping in citizenship classes may practice the citizenship interview as a role-play exercise; help learners memorize answers to the "100 questions" asked by the Immigration and Naturalization Service; explain the importance of eye contact, a firm handshake and other appropriate cultural gestures; review citizenship material taught in class; and talk with learners about their lives. Coaches will usually work one-on-one or in small groups with elders.
Coaches spend two hours per week coaching or tutoring ESOL or citizenship in Utica for 10-12 weeks during the semester for a total commitment of 20 hours/semester.
Health Literacy courses and some others take the option of only requiring 10 hours of coaching per semester. If become invovled through an academic course please refer to the course syllabus.
It's helpful to be able to use the elder's native language to explain difficult concepts, but it's not necessary. You must be creative in your attempts to convey meaning to your learner by using gestures, drawings, acting, etc. if the learner doesn´t understand. The best way for anyone to learn a language is to be immersed in it and learn through conversation, so continue talking with your learner and encouraging him or her to practice speaking.
Coaches write journals and papers and prepare presentations that link theoretical knowledge from a class with their real-world coaching experience. Your professor will usually suggest an appropriate project for you.
No, that's not necessary. In fact, as an added benefit, while participating in SHINE, coaches learn enough to prepare themselves and family members to pass the naturalization exam.