Jennifer, mother of Sophia who attends Wesley

Thank you very much for the wonderful three days that you had prepared for the girls. Sophia enjoyed the course thoroughly and has come home with some positive nuggets of learning. She has even been assisting my husband Steve and I to be much more polished in our communication!

Sophia is lucky to have had the opportunity to experience this unique and practical course. The course pack, the class photo and the post course notes are much appreciated.

With warmest regards,

Parents at St Joan of Arc PS, Brighton

Thank you Melissa for 3 wonderful days… Each afternoon Adele would come home beaming from the inside out and has shared some many anecdotes and great learning experiences with us.

We hope she will continue with a SHINE program again… potentially a weekly program for her early teenage years.  Thank you for your passion and energy, and for making it so much fun for her.  My husband and I are looking forward to continuing to revisit all the valuable wisdom with her.

Thanking you again,

Natalie Sgroi

I just wanted to say thank you very much for the course Chiara has just attended.  She hasn’t stopped talking about it and absolutely loved it.  I can see improvements in her manner, decorum and attitude already.  She has told me she has learnt new skills in how to handle certain difficult situations at school with friends, and especially enjoyed the role playing.  I can see that this program has really helped her to gain confidence in herself and build her resilience skills for everyday life.

Lee, Mark and Erin Atalla. Erin is home-schooled.

I had high expectations for SHINE Academy’s Girl’s Course.  My daughter, Erin, has now completed the course.  I can testify that not only did the course meet my expectations but it went far beyond my expectations; surpassing them, and, fulfilling many benefits I had not originally envisaged.

The transformation I have witnessed is amazing.  My 11 year old daughter has always had lovely manners, and been a kind and compassionate person.  During the course however, I saw a new person unfurling.  I have now seen a glimpse into the not-too-distant future.  Witnessing the strong, confident, incredible woman Erin is growing to be.  Quite literally, it brought tears to my eyes each afternoon as I collected her.  She was amazing.  Bright, glowing, brimming with all the confidence in the world; so happy.  It was like a dream to see the potential (I always knew she had) be realised.  I know all parents hold a hope that our children will grow up to enjoy all the possibilities we see in them.  It is always a concern that our own limitations, negative components from society and potentially hazardous situations or people may make it difficult for those hopes to come to fruition.  However, I now feel I can rest assured.  We are on the right path.  In addition, we now have a strong ally to strengthen our efforts and support us in role modelling and mentoring Erin towards her future.  This ally is SHINE Academy and Melissa.

In addition to this amazing gift, Erin has also gained many distinct, practical benefits.  I feel she will be able to confidently enter any social situation with the knowledge of appropriate behaviour.  In amongst a range of benefits including in her learning, she has been shown:

  • Traditional manners and social expectations at meals, parties and other social situations.
  • Fortification in trusting herself, staying true to her own values and being a fully self-respecting person.
  • How to handle various interpersonal relationships.  Being able to manage other people within her own comfort levels, while also treating them with the kindness and respect that all people deserve.
  • To contribute to society on a wider basis, with strength, integrity and passion.

Our daughter really feels that she can take on the world now.  We can see no limits to where she can take herself.  She has strong family support and her own conviction.  She also has the memory (and ongoing support) of a strong coach and mentor, Miss Anderson.  It is a name we have all heard a lot since the course commenced.  We are often reminded of what “Miss Anderson says”.  It is lovely that girls are benefitting from a real life hero that they can access and aspire towards.

Needless to say our daughter will be attending more courses at SHINE academy.  With this assistance our family feel Erin has a secured and glorious future ahead of her.

We cannot really express how grateful we are but would like to thank you so much Melissa!!

Eliza Motion, aged 11 years, Armadale PS

Dear Miss Anderson,

Thank you so much for an amazing three days at the Shine Academy Holiday Program.

When I arrived, I didn’t know what to expect and the program was the highlight of my summer holidays.

I walk away with my head held high knowing that I have learnt so many new skills and techniques to prepare me for grade 6 and beyond. I also met a group of wonderful new friends and I loved reading the warm fuzzies to mum on the way home.

Thank you for being so kind, friendly and caring and I hope to see you again soon.

Love from,

Anna (surname withheld)

I was really interested in and impressed by the parents’ booklet that you sent home on Friday after the holiday program. The content you covered is so relevant for everyone in daily life, and I love the no-nonsense, empowering approach that you manage to mix with fun and information that is pitched at just the right level for the girls. In my daughter’s case it seems to really help for her to hear these kinds of things from a respected adult who is not a parent, I’ve noticed a marked change in her behaviour in general since Friday, in terms of how she is communicating and listening and also in politeness and calmness.  I wish someone had given me these kind of tools when I was her age!

Roslyn Gunn, East Malvern, mum of Lorri, aged 10, Mount Scopus, East Burwood

Lorri thoroughly enjoyed her time at the Shine Academy school holiday program.

The lessons that Lorri learnt, were invaluable and we all had a great time at home, learning from Lorri!

Lorri loved Melissa and bonded beautifully with all the other girls in the program.

I look forward to sending my other 3 children to the program as well in the future!

Massive thank you to Melissa for providing a safe, comfortable and fun environment for Lorri to learn in!

MailysPerfrement Age 13, Glen Eira College

At SHINE Academy I learnt many new techniques about how to manage my anger. Also how to properly act like a lady. We also learned many skills and tricks about public speaking and how to catch the public’s attention. It was an experience of a lifetime that I would recommend to anyone.

At SHINE Academy I made many new friends that were interesting. The course lasted for three days and every day was a new experience. We played a lot of games – this involved self-truths and being able to own up to the mistakes we had previously done.

They showed us how to behave in a proper manner, and if we didn’t there would be consequences, I mean having to pay. At the start of each day, we were given $200 and if we didn’t sit properly, or spoke without permission or out of context or even if we said words like “Um”, “ah”, “well” or “like”, we would have to pay $5 to the bank. At the end of each day we would have to count our money, and at the end of the three-day course Ms. Anderson would tally up all our money and the person who had lost the least would be the winner. This technique was a great one since it made us all realise how much we didn’t realise that we had such bad habits. At SHINE Academy we learnt how to get along with everyone, and to appreciate what we had. We also learnt not to concentrate on bad things but to concentrate on good things and to accept things as they were. To accept the fact, that we can’t always get everything we wish for, but to be grateful for what we have.

At SHINE Academy we played many games such as Chinese Whispers or Shake murder. Chinese Whispers was to show us how something can get changed if it goes through everyone, kind of like rumours. Shake murder was to teach us to take in every detail. If the murderer was to touch your hand differently you had to be honest and die in the game.

Finally, we learnt that us girls are much more than what we see in the mirror and beyond all our cracks and breaks, we are all the same and we feel the same things, but also unique in our own ways.

I learnt so much, made so many friends and I have taken in so many new techniques about life. I enjoyed every bit of SHINE Academy.

Toni, mother of Tristeace, 8, Carnegie Primary School

We would like to thank you once again for the opportunity for Tristeace to participate. This is the third time Tristeace has attended Shine classes and once again, she has come away with a renewed attitude and confidence.

Tristeace will tell you that she really loves the games and the food but I know that she also knows that what she is learning in your classes is helping to make her path through life a much smoother and happier one.

Tristeace has enormous fun testing out her assertiveness and other skills on her friends and family, but the one thing I have noticed which has really left an impression, is Tristeace’s increasing ability to hold her emotions in check, gauge the likely reaction, and responding more appropriately to emotive situations. Tristeace has much more self-appreciation too. She can say with confidence that she is a good person and believe it. This, for me, is probably one of the most valuable tools a child can have on their side. Self-Belief. Without it, a person can spend their whole life comparing themselves to others and always being disappointed. For teaching Tristeace that tool, we will both be forever grateful.

Thank you Melissa!

Lisa, mother of Isabella, 11, Doncaster Gardens Primary School

Isabella has gained so much from the Shine Holiday Program experience and we have already seen positive changes in the manner in which she handles difficult situations. Her confidence has grown and she is showing more maturity and ability to problem solve in a positive manner when things don’t go her way. Her relationship with her siblings has improved and she is showing more tolerance and patience with her younger sisters who can be quite difficult. More importantly she appears happier. She eagerly tried new activities over the holidays and seemed more confident to “give it a go” when something new was presented to her.

Warm regards

Julie Ferres, mother of Tori Brighton Primary School

The SHINE holiday program gave Tori the skills to express herself and be true to herself.

She thoroughly enjoyed the program and it was fantastic to see her come home at the end of every day with so much to talk to me about.

Melissa provided a warm and caring environment, which gave the girls the opportunity to be themselves and truly Shine!

I really like how it questioned her thinking and still continues to, even though the course has finished.

Renae Wilkinson, mother of Paris and Lucia St Leonards College, Brighton

My two daughters attended the Shine Academy school holiday program and really enjoyed learning how to be confident, caring girls. They enjoyed interacting with girls of their own ages and getting positive feedback when they gave things a go! My girls are still talking about the things they learnt, correcting each other if they slip up, and being kinder to each other. Thank you Melissa for giving us this unique opportunity in our local area.

Natasha Ride, mother of Jessica, aged 10, attending Firbank

Shine has the perfect balance that is required for a modern etiquette course. Jessica loved the focus on poise, grace and manners as well as developing her confidence and ability to express herself assertively. I would recommend Shine to any parent that wants to provide their daughter with strategies to help them navigate successfully through life.

Vikki Davis, mother of Keira, aged 7, Caulfield South Primary School

Thank you for an outstanding three days. Our daughter truly loved every minute of it – and that is saying A LOT! She is an exceptionally shy and reserved little girl, and this program was exactly what she needed – and everything we hoped for. On the second day, she voluntarily got up to speak in front of a group for the very first time, and that is a gift for which we will be forever grateful.

Lindan Robertson, mother of Hope, Kunyung Primary School, Mount Eliza

Hope [7 years old] was initially reluctant to attend the holiday program because she didn’t know anybody. However, when I picked her up at the end of the first day, she was bubbling and excited about her new friend, and what a fun day she’d had. Because of her age, I thought that 3 comprehensive days might possibly be too much for her, but she truly did gain.  In my opinion, the effect of the SHINE experience on Hope is that she is more aware of her surroundings in general, and confident within herself and in her dealings with others. I think this program is beneficial to all girls – and I would definitely recommend it.

Mary Akritidis, mother of Danah, aged 10 years of age, Firbank

Over the three-day holiday program, Danah found the program very informative, engaging, inviting and caring. She has hopefully made lots of new life long friends and was very impressed with the catering throughout the course. She has already informed me that she would like to attend the next three-day program.

Thank you for all your time and care with the girls Melissa.

Sarah White, mother of Alex, aged 9, Firbank

Alex had a great time at your seminar last week. She fought me tooth and nail about going, but at the end of the first day she couldn’t stop talking about her day. She has since put her newly acquired skills to good use, in one example, tackling her speech to her year group for an elected position with enthusiasm and confidence, and, more importantly, clear speech. Alex loved it, gained lots of self-confidence and she loves that she can choose not to be a passive doormat.

Cathy Cooper, mother of Maya, 7, St Josephs Primary School, Warragul

Initially, Maya was very apprehensive about attending as she was quite worried about not knowing anyone else however, after the first day this was no longer a problem. When Maya finished on the first day the look on her face was enough to tell me she had had a great day, she was happy, relaxed and asked me how many hours until she could go back the next day.  Maya made friends with the other girls and felt supported by Ms Anderson and her classmates right away.

Since finishing the program Maya has spoken of many things that she learnt and we have seen this in the way she is doing things differently as well. Before we eat at night Maya waits for everyone to be at the table before starting, she is more confident and talks about never giving up and looking at people from the inside out rather than the outside in.   These are lessons we teach at home, however, having them reinforced in such a positive environment has made all the difference.  I have also noticed that Maya looks people in the eye when she speaks to them now rather than looking shyly at the ground.  If I ask Maya what she thought of Shine she says she loved it.

I would highly recommend the program to parents and I will definitely be sending my younger daughter when she is old enough to attend.

Emily Vains, aged 9, Antonio Park PS, Mitcham

Emily thoroughly enjoyed her three days at the Shine Academy for Girls. I noticed a huge difference in her by the end of the second day in both her confidence and the way she spoke to both us and her brother. We were eager to find out what the theme colour of the morning tea was each day, and Emily enjoyed the catering very much. Emily has made some good friends and is in contact via phone and email with the girls and looking forward to catching up in person soon.

Kathryn Cason, mother of Chloe, Girton Grammar, Bendigo

As a mother, I just want to say from the deepest part of my heart and soul, ‘thank you’. Chloe had a wonderful time and has returned to Bendigo full of confidence and has a new-found sense-of-self. She has been sharing with me some of the different things that were taught to her and how she has been using them in her day-to-day life. She is especially keen to perfect her clarity of speech. Due to some initial trepidation on the first day, I let her take her phone so that she could call me if she wished. As the end of the first day drew closer, I knew she had loved it because I hadn’t heard peep! She was then up and about getting herself all organised to get to class on time the next morning. I wish more than anything that we could have Chloe attend your weekly classes, but this intensive has been truly wonderful for my little one. I cannot speak highly enough of it and I have been sharing it with everyone I know. Thank you xxx

All the very best for your future with this wonderful endeavour.

Rachael Thomson, mum of Maddi, Korowa

Thank you for the gorgeous class photo. Maddi really loved your course and learnt a lot of very practical tips that she is already applying to social situations. I have been delighted to watch her confidently greet our friends and family and engage in small talk over the weekend. Her face lights up when she retells stories from the course and explains the morning tea/afternoon tea themes.

We wish you all the best and look forward to seeing you at a future event.

Marina, mother of Iris, aged 8, Glenhuntly Primary School

Three days of the holiday program at Shine Academy was a very significant experience for Iris. From the very first day Iris just couldn’t stop talking about the things she learnt during the workshop, about the role games she participated in and about her new friends. As a parent, I was impressed with the way the Program was organised. I got an impression that my daughter was participating in a prestigious international conference with nametags, working folders and delicious catering. It gave Iris a wonderful experience of mature behaviour in an atmosphere of respect, creativity and openness.

I am happy my daughter had an opportunity to participate in this wonderful program.

Helen Handrinos, mother of Terri, aged 8, Sussex Heights Primary School

Terri thoroughly enjoyed the Shine Holiday program. She was a little apprehensive on the first day as she was not sure what to expect and did not know anyone. After the first day however, she was beaming and chatting constantly about all the fun she was having and how much she enjoyed the activities and role-playing. I was surprised at how quickly she had adjusted, as she is usually slow to warm up to changes. I am so glad I signed her up. Her face lit up when reading the warm fuzzies and it was so encouraging to hear her tell me she was proud of herself. In a world where the strong, externally beautiful or physically adept are held in high esteem or even envied, it was so refreshing to expose my daughter to an environment, other than her home, where kindness, compassion and inner beauty are celebrated. The values and life-long skills that you teach should be compulsory in all schools. Thank you so much. My younger daughter is desperate to attend but she’ll have to wait a couple of years!

Yours faithfully,

Tess Wearing, mother of Olivia Wearing – 8 Years old – Chatham Primary School – Surrey Hills

“I had contemplated putting my daughter forward for the SHINE program for quite sometime, if I’d known what a positive experience it was going to be I would not have hesitated. On the last day I was so surprised to see my shy girl confidently walk up to the microphone and thank Ms Anderson for the previous three days and then announce in the car on the way home “that was the best holiday program EVER!”

Olivia reflected on the course over the next few days at home discussing what she had learned, the role playing exercises, the friends she made and wishing that the course ran over a longer period of time so she could continue with what she had learnt.

This has been such a positive and powerful program I think every child would benefit from the chance to experience such a first class learning opportunity. I’m surprised that schools don’t offer the principles of the SHINE program as part of the curriculum.”

Joanne, Charlotte’s mum. Charlotte is aged 11 and goes to Haileybury

My daughter attended Shine Masterclass Holiday Program. She thoroughly enjoyed her time there and raved about the food. I was grateful for one less lunch to pack! I noticed immediately that she was making better eye contact with strangers and after the last session she pinned all the lovely comments from the other girls about her on her notice board as a daily reminder that she is truly a wonderful human being! A lovely touch and a great boost to her self esteem.

Thank you Melissa.

Kindest regards, Kelli & Dugald

Your thoughtful acknowledgement of our daughter’s strengths over the course of the 3 days has reinforced what we have been sharing with her at home – her sensitivity is not a weakness, rather it is her superpower. Thank you for taking such good care of her and providing her with insights and skills to navigate the very complex social dynamic of girls. I am certain your paths will cross again in the future.

Josette DeGabriele, mother of Nadege, aged 10, Caulfield Junior College

Nadege walked away from Day 1 saying “Mum, I totally love it. I had a beautiful day.” Needless to say the ensuing two days were just as rewarding and fulfilling. While Nadege is a very sociable and outgoing individual, your course helped to solidify some of the topics we had previously discussed when confronted by certain issues at school and in her private life. Your interactive approach and the fun games that you played made the consolidation of what she was learning that much stronger. At all stages of our lives we often need reinforcement, encouragement, and an appreciation of just how special and valuable we all are. Certainly, to be able to instil these beliefs at a younger age, when experiencing the trials and tribulations of growing up, really works to benefit the child and helps to make the transition to the teenage years and thereafter adulthood, that much smoother.

Nadege walked away from the class full of newfound confidence. She was overwhelmed when reading her “warm fuzzies” because she did not think she was so likeable. She was also very proud to have won a gift for her good manners, and overall she walked away understanding just how lucky she was to have participated in such a warm and caring learning environment.

It was evident to me as a parent that during the ceremony at the end of the course, just how happy and proud all the girls were, and this I believe was reciprocated by all the attending parents. I was so proud of Nadege that a tear came to my eye when she spoke.

Melissa, I honestly believe that you have offered Nadege and all of the girls a valuable life experience. I have already spoken to a couple of my friends about your course. I would recommend it to all parents. What you teach is rarely taught in a conventional school, setting, and in our increasingly busy world we often neglect the basics that set us up to be honourable social citizens.

Congratulations, and again, on behalf of Nadege and I, thank you so very much.

Shelly Harris, mum of Ashleigh, aged 11, Caulfield South PS

Thank you so much for the wonderful opportunity for Ashleigh to be involved in the Shine Academy for Girls Holiday Programme.

The difference we have seen in 3 days within your expert care has been incredible. We have been struggling for some time to find support for Ashleigh that would give her the self-confidence and self-assurance needed to face the worlds many challenges, even at 11 years of age.

She has emerged from the 3 days a brighter, more confident child armed with specific strategies she uses and explains to her father, sister and I with delight. We are all learning as Ashleigh continues to put into practice what she has learnt during 3 jam-packed days of fun and activity.

When I asked Ashleigh about her thoughts regarding the programme, this was her response :

“I really liked it. It was really helpful in learning how to stick up for myself. It was lots of fun and you got to meet and make new friends. I also learnt how to be polite, how to speak in a chest voice and much much more. I also learnt how to be a people magnet.

The class was very welcoming and enjoyable. It felt really friendly, happy and safe. The food was very yummy. Thank you so much to Miss Anderson for teaching me.”

Nicole and Mark George, parents of Chloe, aged 9, Elsternwick PS

We have had incredible feedback from your recent holiday program.  Our daughter when asked, has described it as being “amazing”.  She explains that she learnt so many things to help her life now and her life going forward.  The practical activities in the classroom were clever and “extremely fun”, the food was met with eagerness as a different theme was created at each session….Well done on finding the right triggers to create such a stimulating learning environment which our daughter wanted to come back to each day. Chloe feels liberated and confident within herself and as her parents we are delighted to see this but also happy to have detailed curriculum notes to support our daughter’s journey.

Jacqui Taylor, mother of Madison and Eliza Stella Maris Primary School, Beaumaris

Thank you for a wonderful program.

Initially, Madison was reluctant to take time out from the school holidays to attend however I asked her to make the most of the experience and to have a positive attitude. After the first day, she was pleasantly surprised and said the third day was the “best ever!” Eliza on the other hand quietly took it all in and was constantly sharing small bits of information she had learnt along the way, often using day to day experiences to highlight a point. For example, we were all travelling home in the car and Eliza said “Dad did you know that you sometimes speak over people. It is better if you let them finish before talking” During dinner that night Madison said “Can I please leave the table I’m finished now and you will know that because I have placed my knife and fork together in the centre of the plate.” I did know I’d only been telling her that for years! I was most impressed with the 5 rules of a good handshake and we also continue to practice the word watch with each member of the family accumulating money.

I do believe in good manners however it seems it took an outside influence to finally get through what I had been saying every day for years.

The course isn’t just about good manners. I particularly liked the social awareness element as well as the social skills required to face life. I have been trying to teach my children these things by example and also by constantly saying “Look people in the eye when you’re talking, stand confidently and smile and you will soon have a friend, see that girl playing on her own ask her if she wants to play with you.” but by showing a video, doing role-play, seeing examples and discussing it, the girls have developed a better understanding.

We all want our children to be confident human beings who feel comfortable in social situations and show kindness to people who aren’t. This involves skills that need to be learnt and practised. The Shine course reinforced what I have been trying to teach my children, but did it in a fun, obvious way that really hit home. I have just invested in my children’s future; my children have just spent 3 days learning skills they will use for the rest of their lives. I am extremely happy with the choice to send my girls to Shine. I have already seen the benefits.


Julie Iannazzone, mum of Allegra, St James PS

I would like to say thank you for being such a wonderful coach and role model these past three days for my daughter Allegra. She has absolutely loved her three days at Shine Academy and you have reinforced so many new skills and strategies which will stay with her for her lifetime. Whilst we try to instil in our children certain values, good manners, kindness and resilience, our job has been made so much easier with your assistance! I was so relieved when I picked up Allegra after the first day at Shine. She came bouncing down the stairs with a huge smile on her face and the conversation on our drive back to Mitcham was full of exciting information she had learnt from you. The catering sounded so scrumptious and I was so envious when she described, each day the delicious food on the menu! Thank you all to the ladies who provided the catering. Allegra has already said she will miss “Miss Anderson!!” Thank you once again for sharing such valuable lessons with the girls. They are all so privileged to have spent the past three days with you. I only wish all children had the opportunity to learn these basic life skills!

Sandra Turner (Grandmother of Sophie, aged 12, attends Kilvington)

Thank you very much for the gorgeous class photo. Sophie absolutely loved the Masterclass. Each morning she was anxious to get moving so she would not be late, (a great indication of her enjoyment and anticipation). We enrolled Sophie in the SHINE Masterclass as a gift for her birthday, hoping she would enjoy the experience and learn some life skills to deal with the often difficult teenage years and beyond. We are confident from her excited conversation, that she has certainly achieved that. Thank you again and every good wish.

Julia Yeuong, mother of Claire, aged 10

Claire has enjoyed your holiday program immensely. She felt very safe in your care, especially when she was allowed to make mistakes and fail. (She mentioned that all teachers should attend a class by Miss Anderson on how not to lose their cool and be very poised, just like Miss Anderson :)) She had learnt much and is constantly applying what she has learnt from the Shine Program in her school and home routine. Claire will definitely be back for another class next year. Thank you once again for your time and patience and for making the Shine Program such an enjoyable and valuable time for Claire. We greatly appreciated all that you do and your dedication to helping girls develop a strong, positive self-esteem and giving them the much-needed skills they need.