This past fall, Ashley Lemieux of @theshineproject visited L’Auberge and documented her stay. Ashley owns The Shine Project – a non-profit jewelry company that employs inner city youth, raising money to provide scholarships to first-generation college students. She visited L’Auberge in November with her mother, sister and niece.
Ashley was an aid at an inner city high school in Phoenix during her senior year at Arizona State University. She was involved in a program called AVID which prepares students to enter college after high school graduation. The problem she noticed, was that most of the students didn’t feel like college was on option for them. Many of the students Ashley began to mentor and grew close to would be the first in their families to consider college, had no financial resources, and didn’t have adequate mentorship to help them get to the next level in their lives. Frustrated, Ashley turned to her social media influence to raise money to send a group of seniors to college.
For those of you who feel like you are hanging on for dear life right now, and who’s burdens are heavy, I want to tell you something that a friend told me this week. I ask you to give hope and happiness a chance. Just give it a shot to have a place in your life and then see where it takes you. Happiness can exist while you battle through your trials. This photo is proof. (@laubergesedona is beautiful PS)
After giving 7 scholarships away, Ashley knew that raising money for these inner city youth needed to be more than a one time thing. She founded a non-profit organization, The Shine Scholarship Project, to be able to keep getting donations for the students.
In May 2012, Ashley taught herself how to make bracelets. Her goal was to be able to employ the first few students that had received scholarships so they could keep earning money to stay in school, and have real life job experience that could set them up for success in the future.
The Shine Project
Since then, The Shine Project opened their headquarters in downtown Phoenix and students come after school to hand make the jewelry. They are involved in running everything from customer service, shipping, jewelry design, t shirt design, new product design, sales, and events. The students who are given scholarships through the non profit are then given jobs through Threads, so they can be mentored and guided every step of the way.
Over 40 scholarships have been given since 2011, and 100% of donations given to the non profit go directly to the students.
Threads by The Shine Project currently employees 11 inner city students.