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About Us

Shine On! is an organization of SUNY Plattsburgh women dedicated to raising resilient, confident girls by teaching media literacy, communication skills and character strengths. These tools will better equip them to resist the negative societal pressures they may face throughout life.


Studies show that 75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in destructive behaviors such as eating disorders, cutting, bullying, smoking, and drinking when feeling bad about themselves. Our curriculum is designed to decrease participation in such negative behaviors by engaging with young girls before they reach middle school. We're not looking to fix statistics; we’re aiming to prevent them.

Our Founder


Prior to her career as a public relations professor at SUNY Plattsburgh, Colleen Lemza witnessed the struggle of dozens of young children as a crisis mental health counselor in an emergency room setting . Teens- especially girls- were more likely to experience anxiety and engage in negative behaviors associated with lack of self confidence, much of which could be attributed to social media influence.  At the time Colleen was a crisis mental health counselor, she was also a mom to twin girls.  When one of her 7-year old twin daughters began asking if her “butt looked big” or the other was picked up from school crying because a girl at school said her new sparkly sneakers weren’t "real Sketchers", she wanted to nip it and ensure her daughters had more confidence than the girls she was seeing in the ER. 


She started a program involving her college students to help younger girls in the local community. Based on these professional observations, Shine On! aims to reduce anxiety and negative behaviors in pre-middle school youth, as it shows to be a promising window of opportunity to help them develop resilience and confidence before negative behaviors and beliefs become concrete. For 15 years now, Shine On! has very proudly been serving the communities of Northern New York by raising resilient, confident youth by teaching media and marketing literacy, character strengths, and communication skills.

How Shine On! Combats These Issues

Has your daughter asked you if she can wear makeup? Have you seen her looking at herself longer and longer in the mirror? Have you overheard her talking about a thigh gap? Then click here to learn more about media and marking literacy.

Does your daughter know how to stand up to a bully? Or does she tend to bully others? Learn more about being an up-stander and communication skills here.

Does your daughter show gratitude or know how to be optimistic? Does she like to be curious and zesty, but doesn't have enough social intelligence to show it? Learn more about character strengths here.


Education Outreach



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