photo credit Project SHINE
“When I first came to America, I only knew a couple letters. I couldn't communicate with anybody. And I learned about this program and I started (to learn English). I have been here for three years and now I have built a basic vocabulary that I can carry my daily life. It basically helped me to live in America." -Project SHINE participant
In the early 1980s, Nancy Henkin, founder and director of the Intergenerational Center at Temple University, was shocked by the news that loneliness and social isolation led an elderly Asian woman to commit suicide, at a time when it was commonly assumed that older immigrants were part of tight-knit and supportive communities. Henkin realized that older immigrants often struggle with language barriers, changes in customs, and differences in social roles more than their younger counterparts, and began working to establish a program that could support them. Project SHINE was launched in 1985, to reach out and provide aging immigrants with language and cultural resources to help them adapt in their new community.