By Susan MacLaury, Co-Founder and Executive Director
It occurs to me that milestones in life prompt reflection and often change. So it is for us at Shine Global as we acknowledge our first 10 years as a non-profit organization dedicated to making films about children at risk. We look back at the choices we’ve made, our films and their impact, and we consider our growth along the way.
In 2005, my husband Albie Hecht and I decided to form Shine Global to produce our first film, War/Dance. Since it told the story of three young teens brutalized by civil war and the Lord’s Resistance Army, Shine’s mission statement reflected their stark, dangerous world: “Shine Global is dedicated to ending the exploitation and abuse of children worldwide through the production of films and media that raise awareness, promote action, and inspire change.”
Since then, we’ve gone on to address a number of issues affecting children: The lack of legislative protection for child farm workers; the numbers of homeless children in the US and special problems encountered by those who are also undocumented; the need for funding for arts programs for kids; the importance of sports as a vehicle for self-definition; the impact of parental incarceration on children; how child “enemies” can partner together; and how young girls can defy local customs that would deny them their rightful place in the world.
As our films increased in number and scope we began to look hard at our original mission statement and to ask ourselves if it wasn’t time to change it. One point we heard ourselves make internally and when describing Shine to others was that the children in our films always demonstrate great resilience, courage, and grace. We also emphasized that it was our goal to give voice to children who might otherwise remain unheard, but that we tried to do this through the words of the kids we profiled themselves.
After months of discussion, we decided to broaden our mission statement in anticipation of the documentary, narrative, and animated films, cable series, and web series we intend to make. I’m very happy to share it publicly here for the first time:
Shine Global gives voice to children by telling their stories of resilience to raise awareness, promote action and inspire change.
We hope you agree that this captures our essence and our passion to make films that will transform children’s lives.