Nicole Shine is an Alabama Bright Light taking PRIDE in helping others

Nicole Shine is an Alabama Bright Light taking PRIDE in helping others
PRIDE of Tuscaloosa facilitates a drug prevention lesson on addiction. (contributed)

As the interim director of PRIDE of Tuscaloosa, Nicole Shine lives to help prevent substance abuse among young people. PRIDE of Tuscaloosa stands for Parent Resource Institute for Drug Education.

“Our mission is to reach out to and educate people who are exposed, so they have the tools and resources not to engage in substance abuse,” Shine said. “We achieve this mission through a variety of programs ranging from elementary to high school.”

PRIDE of Tuscaloosa begins early with students in elementary school. The program, Have a Little Pride, teaches students about tobacco use.

“We also have a program for the middle school age, where we educate those students about the harmful drug results and addiction,” Shine said. “Then in high school, we offer a more in-depth program. These students are going to college and will be exposed to drugs, so we give them the tools to stay away from substance abuse.”

Nicole Shine is an Alabama Bright Light with PRIDE of Tuscaloosa from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

PRIDE of Tuscaloosa educates the community through participating in health fairs and other community activities. This past fall, PRIDE held its first Back to School Bash and a Parent Summit.

“Our Parent Summit covered all topics related to substance abuse, from exposure to drugs and how to fight substance abuse, to social media and the dark web on the internet. Young folks are vulnerable to the internet. We also hit on how the pandemic affected our communities,” Shine said.

COVID-19 impacted the operations of PRIDE of Tuscaloosa, which shut down for a few months last year.

“We were closed for a while, but we still reached our students via Zoom, YouTube and other social media outlets,” Shine said. “One time we had over 300 students on a Zoom conference; that was a terrific turnout. Things are slowing down again with the omicron surge, but we will always reach out to our community.”

Shine insists that substance abuse has no color.

“We service all communities, black or white, and no matter of their economic status. We have always regarded social justice as high among our principles. We open our arms to everyone,” Shine said.

To achieve its goals, Shine at PRIDE of Tuscaloosa depends on grants from organizations, such as the Alabama Power Foundation.

“We have applied to a grant, and the Alabama Power Foundation accepted and were very generous,” Shine said. “They also invited me to participate in their leadership program. We used the money from the grant to offer diversity training to our staff. We want to help everyone.”

Shine regards her work with the PRIDE of Tuscaloosa close to her heart.

“Anyone can suffer from substance abuse. When I see people learn from our programs, it’s hard to describe. It’s very rewarding,” Shine said. “I will continue doing this because I have a servant’s heart, and I’m passionate about helping people.”

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