It all started during Ashley's Senior year of College. She noticed while working as an aid for inner city youth in Phoenix that most of the students didn't think college was an option for them. They lacked financial resources and proper mentorship that would allow them to be the first in their families to consider college. Ashley started raising money via social media and her blog, The Shine Project, and was able to give 7 scholarships. But she didn't quit there. She founded a non-profit organization, The Shine Scholarship Project, to be able to continue receiving donations for scholarships for these students.
Again, this was only the beginning. After learning of one of her students' living conditions which she writes,
"The entire family was sleeping on their tile floor, without blankets or pillows, and the kids were missing school frequently because of a lack of money for bus tickets. Their fridge was empty, their plumbing hadn't been working, and there was nowhere for the kids to turn for help. Ashley realized that it was hard for a lot of the students to dream about their futures when they were unsure how they would live through the day."
She then created a for profit business so that she could employ them, teach them important business and life skills, and would be able to continue guiding them along their college journey. Ashley wanted to create a product that people could wear, that would always remind them of the impact they made on someone's life.
Since then, The Shine Project has created a headquarters in Phoenix that the students can come to 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."
Here at jb and me, we are beyond thrilled to be able to carry this gorgeous jewelry line that is not only beautiful on the outside, but has a beautiful mission as well. Pick up one at either boutique and know that you are helping to create a first generation college student!