For Students


The SHINE Team

Who Are We?

GLSEN Arizona’s SHINE Team empowerment program is a FREE year-long program for high school students (grades 9-12) that begins with a weekend Summer Intensive mid-July, which prepares LGBTQ+ youth and their allies to lead Gender Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) or advocacy campaigns. The team meets regularly throughout the whole school year (virtually and in person) to develop their skills and their network to positively impact local school communities, dedicating about 15 hours a month to team meetings and activities.

The SHINE Team's objective is to:

  • Expose and integrate LGBTQ+/allied students to GLSEN’s mission and work, including participating in planning student networking events; learning to lead and manage a student GSA; and advocating for LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirming school policies.

  • Expose and integrate LGBTQ+/allied students to the work of the local chapter GLSEN Arizona as it functions as a nonprofit, having an opportunity to: speak to LGBTQ+ student concerns in various committees and interview opportunities; network and collaborate with other local nonprofits; and raise awareness of the SHINE Team.

  • Empower LGBTQ+/allied students to advocate for themselves and others through building crucial skills like community organizing, public speaking, networking, fundraising, organizational management, project management, accountability, and responsibility.

  • Position LGTBQ+ students to take advantage of otherwise unknown opportunities.

How Do I Apply?

Potential SHINE Leaders must be high school students (Grades 9-12) within Maricopa County and Tucson for the entirety of the school year as the program begins in July and graduates in May.  Potential SHINE Leaders should expect to dedicate approximately 15 hours a month to the SHINE Team participating in weekly virtual meetings, events, and homework. And most importantly, potential SHINE Leaders should be open and eager to learn and grow in an affirming community of peers. If this sounds like you, we hope you'll apply! Simply fill out the application and wait for instructions on scheduling your 30-minute getting-to-know-you call.

Applications are now open!

Three students standing in front of photo of AZ State Senate.
GLSEN Phoenix SHINE Team logo on the back of a black t-shirt.

GLSEN Arizona and the SHINE program especially have inspired me to meaningfully and inclusively pursue leadership in my own GSA as well as LGBTG+ advocacy in my community as a whole. Not only that, but it's given me a sturdy, kind, and colorful group of peers I can always lean on and create with. GLSEN Arizona provides students with so much support and so many resources that we take with us throughout our whole lives.

GSA Resources

We've created a virtual GSA Kit for you to check out. You can download a PDF file of the 2021 Fall GSA Kit Here. In it, you'll find things like Pride Zoom and cell phone backgrounds, a Spotify playlist curated by the SHINE Team, book recommendations, and helpful resource guides for your GSA like:

And be sure to check out our Resources for Students & Families Guide for local resources and opportunities for LGBTQ+ youth.

You can find more articles and activities in the Student and GSA Resources section of the GLSEN National website here.

Group of GSA students smiling with teacher and two volunteers standing in front of a marker board.
Large ring of students holding hand in solidarity for Day of Silence in the middle of a high school campus.

My school’s GSA was the first place where I was able to immerse myself within the LGBTQ+ community and really understand my identity. Being able to educate myself and others, lend support to my peers, and bring awareness to important issues has had a profound impact on me. Starting a GSA Club is one of the most significant things you can do to provide a sense of security, community, and sanguinity for LGBTQ+ students at your school.


Student Events

GSA Meet-Up

Our annual GSA Meet-up takes place in late-January in preparation for GLSEN's No Name-Calling Week. This networking and social event is hosted entirely by the SHINE Team. In years past, we've done a pizza party screening of Love, Simon with a facilitated discussion, and most recently the SHINE Team has done a live Zoom dramatic reading of Ghostbusters: A Queer Reimagining, written by and starring the SHINE Team, followed by fun games like Kahoot and Scribl. It's a great way to connect with and learn from LGBTQ+ students from different schools while anticipating No Name-Calling Week.

Students and teacher holding up peace signs while sitting and eating.

Breaking the Silence

Our annual Breaking the Silence Dance takes place in late-April following GLSEN's Day of Silence. Planned by the SHINE Team, Breaking the Silence is a celebration of our pride! On this night, we speak to how we break the silence that oppressors force on LGBTQ+ students when LGBTQ+ students are harassed and bullied or don't have a voice or seat at the table. And then we break the silence together in unity, knowing that we are stronger as a community. We celebrate together knowing we can be our most authentic selves in this space.

2019 Breaking the Silence Dance large group photo of students in front of large pride flag and blow-up alien.