Plattsburgh parents gathered to listen to Shine On!’s panelists speak on “raising resilient kids” Thursday, April 27, at Olive Ridley’s.
By Jesse Taylor
Shine On! has not been able to host workshops since the beginning of COVID-19. However, that all changed April 27 and May 4, when Shine On! hosted two workshops for parents to attend at Olive Ridley’s.
Shine On! is a student club that works with children and parents to ensure that children growing up in today are resilient and ready to face any challenge that life throws their way.
Shine On! was founded by Colleen Lemza, current chair of the public relations department. She started the club after noticing that her own daughters began struggling with self-confidence at a young age. Shine On! is geared toward mostly young girls who are exposed to the internet at a young age, which can cause unrealistic expectations of body image and can create problems with self-confidence. Both workshops, held over two weeks, sought to provide insight to parents on how to raise resilient and successful children from a young age.
There were eight total speakers who were invited to participate in the event, covering topics from nutrition to monitoring screen time. Sarah Yandow, SUNY Plattsburgh’s dedicated campus dietician, opened with a presentation on how to introduce new foods to young children. Yandow explained understanding the division of responsibility between parents and their children is the best way to get children to try new foods.
“The child gets to decide whether or not they’re going to eat and how much they want to eat,” Yandow said.
She also pointed out that parents have to “decide what food is available, where food is going to be available and when food is going to be available.” Keeping these ideas in mind and exposing children to various types of foods is the best way to get children to try new foods.
Another speaker, Del Hart, chair of the computer science department, gave a presentation on how to monitor internet access and screen time. However, Hart was quick to point out during his presentation that he tries not to monitor exactly what websites his own children view. He instead has conversations with them about what is and is not acceptable.
In addition to holding workshops for parents, Shine On! also participates in student outreach throughout the school year, culminating in an overnight with participating students and Shine On! committee members. Additionally, the members of Shine On! are extremely dedicated to the club, putting hours of work into the club each week.
“We call it the Shine On! bug because it literally sucks you in like it takes over your whole life,” Molly Nelligan, a current Shine On! committee member, said.
While that may be off-putting for some, Nelligan enjoys the work that she does and the impact that she has on young girls’ lives. Although Shine On! is directed toward young girls, Nelligan said that they are open to making it more “gender-inclusive.”