Tracy Wilson Mourning and Honey Shine
“It’s very important for young women to know who they are and to be comfortable in that truth,” says Tracy Mourning, founder of the Honey Shine Mentoring Program, a program of the Alonzo Mourning Charities.
Founded in 2002, the Honey Shine Mentoring Program provides positive experiences that nurture the mind, body and soul of young women in at-risk situations by enlightening their paths and creating balance in their young lives.
“I have been blessed with so much,” says Tracy, “And it is my responsibility to make a difference. If I didn’t have the proper guidance as a child, I could have found myself in some of the situations that many of these girls find themselves.”
There are several major issues with which the Honey Shine girls are forced to deal. Low self-esteem is one of the biggest obstacles. “Many of the girls have never received a compliment,” explains Tracy, “And when a man finally gives them praise, the girls often misinterpret that praise as love. The results can be life changing. We have girls in Honey Shine that are in Foster Care and are already mothers – babies having babies.”
A remedy for low-esteem is education, an attribute that Tracy learned from her mother. “I was fortunate to have a strong mother who understood the value of learning,” says Tracy, a graduate of Howard University. “Now I try to instill those same values in the girls of Honey Shine. We tell the girls that if they can keep you uneducated, they can control you. We teach the girls the power of words and to be mindful of the ones they choose. If they speak about positive subjects like going to college, the results can be dramatic.”
Tracy views many of the negative issues in education as institutional problems. “Tons of kids are being left behind,” she says. “Only 2 out of 12 kids in Overtown graduate from high school.” And Tracy is clearly not in favor of a grading scale for schools. “It has a negative effect on children when they go to a school that is labeled C, D or F. Why should they strive for an A or B when their school can’t make the grade? It all goes back to self-esteem.”
Tracy is clearly a passionate woman. Her words and actions demonstrate an individual of great character who is aware of a higher power. “My spirituality gives me peace and empowerment,” she says. “And I strive for this to be reflected in the ideologies of Honey Shine.”
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Aaron Glickman is a writer, actor and filmmaker. Through his contributions to SocialMiami, he has had opportunities to document many fascinating people and organizations in the fields of philanthropy, the arts, fashion, design and real estate including Carolina Herrera, James Rosenquist, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, Russell Simmons, Nicole Miller, Christian Louboutin, Lin Arison and many more. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Miami Theater Center (MTC) and is on the Executive Committee of the National YoungArts Foundation.