While working at DoSomething, Naomi Hirabayashi met Marah Lidey, a New York-based nonprofit dedicated to creating positive change for young people, whose friendships and daily support were thriving. This inspired them to launch and co-found Shine, a self-care nonprofit, in 2016.
In 2014, Shine created a prototype for 50 people.
Later in 2016, it became a free text message for a few years “to help people get through the day,” Yonsei’s Hirabayashi told the Journal North in a phone interview. She added that they launched the subscription-based Shine app in 2018, available in the Apple App Store for iPhone and Apple Watch devices and Google Play for Android device users.
Shine offers daily meditations, weekly self-care classes and a library of more than 1,000 meditations, Hirabayashi said.
After graduating from James Madison University, Hirabayashi worked in advertising in New York and continued her career at Attention, a boutique social media marketing agency in New York. This led her to do something.
Identity is a key component of Shine. Hirabayashi is a Japanese-American woman and Lidey is a black woman in the U.S. “All of our identities affect how we experience the world and how the world sees us,” Hirabayashi explains.
Shine is for everyone, she says, adding, “It’s important to elevate historically marginalized voices.” Hirabayashi said the app’s team is 80 percent Black, Indigenous and people of color.
After the death of George Floyd, a black man murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis in June 2020, Shine produced new content that brought together key themes from the black community, including “racial battle fatigue” and “generational trauma.
Try the #1 BIPOC-owned self-care app.
Similarly, last February, Shine offered Asian-American content due to the rise of anti-Asian hate during the coronavirus pandemic. “We wanted to make sure we were finding and elevating AAPI voices in the community through content, meditations and community events that targeted the Asian American experience,” Hirabayashi said.
As the pandemic disrupted daily life for nearly two years, Shine saw organic growth in their app and a conversation around mental health that de-stigmatized.
Hirabayashi says the nonprofit conducted a survey from their community that showed that more people were starting to discuss their mental health issues due to “shared experiences. People are turning to Shine from other meditation apps because “being part of the origin story, part of the team and the whole content is more inclusive and representative,” Hirabayashi said.
Hundreds of companies contacted Shine in the summer of 2020 because employers wanted to “find more inclusive resources for their teams and mental health,” Hirabayashi shared. In the first quarter of 2021, the nonprofit launched “Shine At Work,” Hirabayashi said, as “a way for companies to develop an annual program for their employees that is rooted in (acceptance of) commitment therapy and mental health. ” Psychology Today defines commitment acceptance therapy as “a therapy based on positive thinking that theoretically leads to greater happiness by overcoming negative thoughts and feelings.”
Shine’s mission is to make taking care of your mental and emotional health easier, more representative and more inclusive – in all experiences. The Shine app makes it easy to create self-care rituals through daily meditation to help calm your anxiety.