On Sunday, Sept. 20, Shine MSD, a nonprofit organization formed by Marjory Stoneman Douglas families, was recognized for their summer healing program, Camp Shine. The summer camp was invited to attend the Billion Acts of Peace at the World Summit Of Nobel Peace Laureates in Merida, Mexico.
Developed specifically for MSD students and the Parkland community, Camp Shine is a summer program designed and run by national creative arts therapists. They offer therapeutic activities such as storytelling, painting, songwriting, photography, drama, lyric analysis, graffiti and street art.
“Shine MSD was born to raise relief funds for victims and their families and provide mental health programs centered around the arts at Stoneman Douglas High School and Parkland,” the mission statement from shinemsd.org said. Their goal is to harness “the power of artistic expression to inspire hope and unity in the aftermath of tragedy.”
The camp was free, with the first session from June 17-27, the second session from July 8-18 and the third session from Jul. 27-Aug.1. Each day lasted from 9-12:30 pm.
“I just think what they’re [Camp Shine] doing is wonderful and innovative. And I hope they continue participating in Eagle Haven activities as well because we very much appreciate them,” Eagles’ Haven Program Director Julie Gordon said.
Shine MSD was co-founded by MSD students Andrea Peña and Sawyer Garrity. Their parents, friends, and friends’ parents talking about ways to give back to the community inspired the idea of Camp Shine.
“Camp Shine had such a successful launch in the first year. We got around 30-40 kids in the first session, which was way more than we were thinking we would receive, then we gained some more traction for the sessions to follow. I was so happy to hear how the students who have never shown interest in the arts before have found ways to incorporate the healing aspects in their everyday lives,” Andrea Peña said.
Shine MSD and Camp Shine were started as a way to give back to the community, not expecting anything in return. Camp Shine is a healing through the arts summer program whose hard work has led to recognition at the Nobel Peace Summit in Merida, Mexico.
“Sawyer and I were super honored to be one of the organizations receiving recognition at the Nobel Peace Summit. It was a very surreal moment,” Peña said. “Showing people the power of healing through the arts is something that everyone at Shine MSD is passionate about. I learned that even when it seems impossible you have to keep on fighting to conquer the fears of society that keep you up at night.”
In response to hearing about the recognition at the Nobel Peace Summit, Camp Shine is hoping to expand to other communities in Florida and across the country who have or continue to experience gun violence or any other form of trauma in their lives.
Their mission is to help and heal victims of violence. More information can be found on their website shinemsd.org or their Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @shinemsd.