Tracy Mourning’s Honey Bugs get the “Shine” they deserve

College scholarships and more provided to underserved girls

Ashley Montgomery | 2/13/2014, 9 a.m.
The name of this supportive mentoring program, Honey Shine Inc., derived from a term of endearment that many Black women ...
Tracy Mourning and her honey bugs.

The name of this supportive mentoring program, Honey Shine Inc., derived from a term of endearment that many Black women can share and relate to . . . when greeting one another: “Hey, honey child!” or even the scandalous-yet-loving-filled, “Oooo, honey child, let me tell you!” Honey Shine, Inc. is a loving environment that makes all parties involved feel proud to be a part of such a passionate circle. 

Honey Shine, Inc. is an extension of the Mourning Family Foundation, which focuses on selecting socioeconomically disadvantaged young ladies from the ages of eight to 18 years. This guiding program is built on core values of knowledge, responsibility, community and faith. The program helps develop an “Aspire to Shine” mindset through mentorship, journaling, sisterhood and empowerment. 

Tracy Mourning started this program more than a dozen years ago, and affectionately refers to her mentees as “Honey Bugs with an eye for growing them into Lady Bugs.” 

“I remember going around the room and asking the girls to write in their journals about their dreams,” Mourning recalled.

Mourning says she is the first to admit her impatience at times and was wondering what was taking one particular Honey Bug so long to start her assignment after several requests. 

“And then it dawned on me that this little girl didn’t even know how to spell the word dream; that’s when I knew that Honey Shine had a lot of work to do,” Mourning said. 

Mourning lived in Miami as a child but moved away. She then returned once marrying her husband, former Miami Heat center, Alonzo Mourning. Once acclimated to the move, she was determined to help local young girls across the county. 

“Education is a big part of it,” she said. “We can show these girls the world . . . also, writing is a big part of my life, it’s important for them to get out what they are feeling and be able totalk about and think about things,” Mourning said. 

Mourning remembers her mother embedding in her mind that, “if they can keep you uneducated, they can control you.” Education undoubtedly changed her life and she is looking to do the same with her “Honey Bugs.”

Mourning, a very proud graduate of Howard University has provided dozens of scholarships to her Lady Bugs in the past. 

“At Honey Shine we expose them to so many different opportunities, like math and robotics,” Edlyn Griffith, executive director of Honey Shine said. 

Honey Shine, Inc.’s staff comprises volunteers and supporters, the majority of whom are successful businesswomen who embody the methodology and focus of the program. 

“We are looking for men to be a part of the program in order to show our young girls that there are great men out here and be that positive father-figure or big brother role model,” Griffith said.

The mentoring program is looking forward to expanding its staff so that there won’t be a waiting list. 

“It drives me crazy to have a waiting list,” Mourning said. 

Semi-monthly workshops are hosted which consist of “Aspire to Shine,” programming that focuses on education and personal growth. The community is invited to take a tour of Honey Shine, Inc. and Aspire to Shine workshops to find out more about the mentoring program. 

Mourning invites all to come out and support her Honey Bugs at their signature fundraiser invite, “Hats Off” Luncheon, that is on May 6th at Jungle Island. 

“This is one of our most highly anticipated event by the most progressive women and men in Miami,” Mourning said. 

For more information on Honey Shine, Inc. visit www.honeyshine.org.