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SmartStart Workshops To Assist Incoming High Schoolers

Jun 03, 2016 06:34PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Do you have or know a teenager who will be starting high school in the fall? The SmartStart workshop, new to Manhattan Beach this summer, is designed specifically to help incoming 9th graders identify strengths and set goals for their high school career and beyond.

"The SmartStart workshop will give incoming freshman students a solid foundation to start high school with confidence and a strong sense of self," said Shannon Philip, co-founder of Shinebright, a self-empowerment organization that runs the SmartStart workshops.

The workshop will be offered on four different Tuesday nights from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Joslyn Community Center; students may choose either July 19, July 26, August 2, or August 16. The early bird price of $150 per student is valid until June 21; after that registrants will pay $165 per student. Dinner is included.

The workshop will cover the Gallup StrengthsFinder Assessment; personalized academic and social tips and tools to help students navigate high school; skills to understand what motivates and energizes them and how to leverage that information to be successful; and a personalized guide to navigate their 9th grade year grounded in a better understanding of who they are, what motivates them, and how they best learn and study.

The SmartStart workshops and Shinebright were founded by two longtime friends came who together over a shared passion: tapping the potential of young people. Shannon Philip, an educator, business leader, and life coach; and Meike Hennon, a high school teacher, began to notice how many adults in the middle of their careers were still not confident in who they were, what their talents were, and how they could contribute those talents to their workplace and the world. They decided to find a way to bring Philip's organizational development knowledge and tools to the high school students with whom Hennon was working in the classroom. 

Together, Philip and Hennon developed the idea of administering Gallup’s Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, a tool initially created to help managers get a better sense of their employees’ strengths, to students. Their idea ignited something within the first groups of young people that they worked with, as the students lit up with the knowledge of their very own special talents and unique qualities.

Shinebright, now in its second year, has taken over 200 students through its Talent Finder curriculum and has expanded its product line to now include a Strengths Builder curriculum and one-on-one private coaching for teens. The organization has run workshops across California and most recently has worked in Los Angeles, Los Altos Hills, and Rancho Palos Verdes. 

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