Caroline McLain and her mother Micheline Etkin were inspired to start Shine Your Light Kids by Caroline’s children, Madilyn and Lucas.

By Sondra Barr

When three generations come together with a shared passion for helping children, inspiration strikes. For mother and daughter Micheline Etkin and Caroline McLain, creating a company to develop mindfulness tools for children came after the birth of Caroline’s children, Madilyn, 5, and Lucas, 3.

“At the best of times, the world can be a hectic place for us adults, so you can imagine how it might seem more intense for children,” says Micheline. “Madilyn is a spiritual and sensitive child who has a tremendous passion for art and writing affirmations. This is how Shine Your Light got started.”

A family run business, dreamt up by three generations, Shine Your Light is a series of mindfulness tools for children to help teach positivity, self-esteem, and confidence. The tools include a collection of artfully illustrated affirmation cards available in both English and Spanish, and My Feelings Matter conversation starter cards.

“Our affirmation cards feature a diverse range of illustrations accompanied by a series of positive affirmations carefully chosen to instill a positive foundation of self-belief in children,” says Caroline, who’s worked in children’s hospitals throughout the Valley and then got her nursing degree and became a school nurse.

After decades working with children’s charities and organizations, including being the global ambassador for the Elisabeth Kubler Ross Foundation, and honorary PANDA for the Steele Children’s Research Center, helping to create Shine Your Light was also a natural fit for Micheline.

“Kids who develop a strong inner-voice can overcome difficulties as they grow up,” says Micheline. Born in Lebanon and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, before moving to the Valley, Micheline instilled in her daughter, Caroline, a responsibility to give back and a respect for her heritage.

“We are a multicultural family and speak Portuguese and Spanish in our household. We had a difficult time finding bilingual affirmation flashcards for kids,” says Caroline. “My daughter said to me, ‘let’s make some mommy.’”

In addition to being available in English and Spanish, Shine Your Light affirmation cards feature watercolor artwork from different local and national freelance artists. The colorful visuals are whimsical and engaging. They’re designed to create self-esteem and seek to teach the younger generation the importance of character above appearances. Meanwhile, the My Feelings Matter series brings together a collection of emotion-based scenarios that serve as an aid to kickstart conversations with young children about their feelings and are designed to help parents and caregivers understand what children are feeling.

“We were driven to create Shine Your Light from our combined knowledge of childhood development and Madilyn’s love for affirmations,” says Caroline.

“Madilyn is very much the architect behind our affirmations,” says Micheline. “Her positivity is infectious, and we are so delighted to be able to share it with lots of other children just like her.”

“I want my friends to feel happy when they read the cards,” says Madilyn, who along with her brother, Lucas, serves as the inspiration behind every Shine Your Light affirmation.

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