Shine A Light: transforming the lives of street kids
Brazil-based nonprofit turns to Decisions Decisions
D2 helped Brazil-based, Shine A Light, evaluate their work teaching digital media to marginalized children. When the leaders of the nonprofit Shine A Light wanted to evaluate their work over the past 10 years, Decisions Decisions helped them design an evaluation process and present their findings.
Shine A Light has created a network of more than 300 nonprofits in 49 cities in 16 countries throughout Central and South America that work with street kids. Through the network, groups collaborate and share knowledge with their peers. Shine A Light has conducted 19 major projects with some of the best of these organizations over the past decade. Its digital media programs – film, music, design, and literature – have made it possible for street kids to share their knowledge and inspiration with other organizations and activists. Shine A Light wanted to more deeply understand its impact on these kids.
During its evaluation, Shine A Light learned that its programs have had transformational impacts on the children who participated. Many of them are now making a living as artists or serving as arts educators. Two-thirds became leaders in their communities. Thirty-eight percent have gone on to college – a higher percentage than their peers in the United States. A Bolivian leader described it this way: “Poor kids have to face a million brutal hierarchies. So when they get a real chance to practice democracy, they shine.”
A surprising – and unintended – result of Shine A Light’s work is the impact that the organization has had on the nonprofits in the collaborative network. Because of Shine A Light, significant percentages of collaborating nonprofits received new funding, expanded their services, and changed public policy.
A Brazilian program director said it well: “You catch these kids at their best, as they show what they want to be. And then years later, at a tough time, they look at these films, or hear the music, and it reminds them. Film is like a commitment to yourself, and when there are so many temptations of drugs and gangs all around, that’s important.”
We were excited to partner with Shine A Light and to support their incredibly important work. Want to learn more? Check out www.shinealight.org. You can read their evaluation at http://www.shinealight.org/Texts/Evaluation2011.pdf