Senior Ashley Hudson believes it is important to have a mentor. That is why her new campus organization, Shine Bright, seeks to connect younger and older generations of women to create a safe place to share struggles and encourage one another.
Hudson was inspired to begin the group after talking with her mentor, campus counselor Briana Cunningham.
“She inspired me to create Shine Bright by encouraging me and uplifting me to believe that I have the ability to do something like this,” Hudson said. “She assured me that I should believe in myself, and that I should follow God’s instruction through the process and just trust in him.”
Now Shine Bright’s president, Hudson, said she created the group to connect younger and older women. After realizing the impact her mentor had on her, Hudson wanted to create opportunities for other women to connect through mentorship.
“I wanted a group that hits kind of every part of a woman’s life,” Hudson said. “I felt like Harding needed a safe place for girls to come and to just relieve some stress that they might have over things that they’re going through.”
The organization currently has about 20 student members and three adult mentors.
Briana Byers, sponsor for the group and close friend of Hudson’s, said Shine Bright gives her a way to connect and be a listening ear for younger girls as they wade through challenges in life such as self-image, relationships, faith and finding their true purpose in a world full of messages about what beauty is.
“You tell them what they need to hear with love,” Byers said. “It’s going to take some time to build that trust up with the girls who are involved with Shine Bright.”
Lauren Lee, a junior and the public relations officer for Shine Bright, said she has been involved with the organization since December. According to Lee, this semester, the group’s focus is on helping women find their purpose in God, in his word and in their everyday lives.
“We wanted to create an environment where you can come as you are,” Lee said. “To lift each other up in a way with not taking yourself down. So, seeing beauty in others and in yourself but not making it a comparison game.”
Shine Bright is designed to be a place for women to form connections that go deeper than the classroom and to be a safe place for people with different backgrounds to share their thoughts and opinions, Lee said.
On March 24, Shine Bright will host a workshop that is open to the public, Hudson said. The workshop features Cunningham and Hudson as speakers as well as activities themed around finding purpose as a woman.
Shine Bright is open to all Harding women and can be found on Facebook as “Shine Bright” or on Instagram as @_shinebright17_, Hudson said.
Byers said she is looking forward to being involved with the organization as it grows and develops out of its infant stage.
“It’s so much bigger than us; it’s so much bigger than Harding,” Byers said. “I just want it to grow and blossom and be a beacon of light to help other girls all over the world shine bright.”