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Project SHINE (Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders) is a community service-learning program that links college students with immigrants and refugees seeking to learn English and navigate the complex path to U.S. citizenship. Project SHINE began at Temple University in Philadelphia in 1997 in response to legislation that jeopardized the public benefits of legally immigrated non-citizens. Today, SHINE is operating at 25 colleges and universities in nine urban centers across the nation to the benefit of adult learners of all ages. In Minnesota, Project SHINE is a joint effort of Metropolitan State University and Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Locally, approximately 20 courses and 150 students are involved in Project SHINE each year.
As social safety nets for non-citizens remain tenuous, the naturalization of elderly immigrants continues to be an urgent concern. Older immigrants face particular obstacles in their quest for citizenship. Elder learners may experience difficulties learning English because of changes in memory, vision, hearing and mobility that are not easily accommodated in crowded ESL or citizenship classes. Without a basic knowledge of English, adult immigrants experience barriers to full participation as citizens.
Project SHINE also helps faculty members create links between classroom teaching and relevant field experience. It provides an opportunity to deepen students' theoretical understanding in a broad range of disciplines, including urban studies, anthropology, communications, ethnic studies, English, sociology, criminal justice studies, public policy, political science and history. Students gain knowledge of diverse cultures and life experiences, develop skills beyond the textbook, and find a powerful way to reinforce their academic studies.
Community Service-Learning Students
Find out more here.
Twin Cities Community Partners
Metropolitan State University Faculty
Project SHINE Staff