Melinda Caroll, Founder/CEO
"When We Shine Foundation was born out of an epiphany in Rishikesh, India in the middle of the icey Ganges River as it surged from the Himalayas on April 4, 2016, my sixty-fourth birthday. There in the middle of that river, in the flash, a vision of music connecting us all, transforming lives and the planet, unfolded into a real plan to bring to life. I went back to my room and wrote for 6 hours straight about value-based music and song-writing projects that incorporate multi-media arts integration, education, environmental outreach & social artistry. A non-profit structure made perfect sense as a way to share this practical, healthy, community-building solution. I have been singing, playing music and writing songs, all of my life. I understand the power of Music to move people, to educate, to unite, heal and to bring community together. My role as CEO now, is to build connections with people who share this vision and want to help expand our reach. Itʻs for our children and our future."
Melinda served as Youth Education Coordinator for the ArtPlace America creative placemaking grant project on Maui called, Malamalama Maui, from January 2017 to July 2018. During that time, the nonprofit world and the arts merged together.
Singing professionally since the age of 18, Melinda has enjoyed a 35+ year career as a professional Singer/Song-writer, performer, National Song-leader for Girl Scouts of the USA and a 5-Rhythms Dance teacher. Her experience has taught her the value and need for Arts in our public school systems and in community settings as a way of up-leveling education and communication into cooperative, powerful forces for change.
Her extensive experience as a team-leader, event-organizer and collaborator for the 100ʻs of events and workshops across the United States and around the world, has provided a unique skill-set and insight into community engagement. That combined with her passion for Arts in our schools and communities, not only to grow budding artists, recognizes the natural development of individuals into tolerant, creative thinkers who are not afraid to tackle difficult challenges in life.
As a Record Label owner (Legend Productions Inc.) and producer, Melinda has written, recorded and produced 100’s of songs and over a dozen songbooks. She has performed in numerous concerts and facilitated world-wide song-writing and song leading workshops since 1989. She brings creativity, inspiration, and imagination to the music arts of singing, performing, collaborative song-writing and story telling and she loves sharing her passion with children and adults world-wide. A Hawai’i resident and life-long Hawaiian Cultural student, Melinda believes in ART as a catalyst for positive social and environmental change. For more, visit her website, MelindaCarollMusic.com.
Rae Takemoto, Creative Project Director
Rae is an advocate for whole child learning through arts education for 25+ years in Hawai'i and presently serves to facilitate vision leadership along with arts programs coordination and arts integration coaching in classrooms at Pomaika'i School, Hawaii's only public school to implement arts integration as a whole school, as well as for teachers of other schools in Hawai'i. She knows that when children are educated in and through the arts, they grow intellectually, socially, and emotionally-head, heart and hands learning! Rae believes great change can begin with one person at a time, one school at a time and that this shift needs to happen NOW!
Shelley Toon Lindberg, Multi-Media Visual Artist, Teaching Artist & Project Advisor
Based in Hood River, Oregon, Shelley teaches K-12 students, adults and trains teachers in arts integration practices in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Hawaii. She studied Fine Arts at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Interdisciplinary Studies in Arts, Education and Communications at Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon. Her visual art pieces appear in public and private collections throughout the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Shelley serves as the Executive Director of Arts in Education of the Gorge and is principal teaching artist for the Voices From the Land project.
Shelley's artist in the schools residencies are focused on climate science, writing personal stories, designing storyboards, painting with watercolors, and utilizing iStopmotion and iMovie on iPads to create animated film with the students and training for teachers.
For more of Shelley's Art, go to Arts Education of the Gorge Videos.
Donelle Sakuma, Hawaiian Cultural and Education Advisor
Donelle was born and raised on Maui with ʻohana, from the Uplands to Lahaina, the mountains to the sea. Her love for the ocean and as well as the high elevations inspires her understanding of how everything is connected, mauka to makai. This understanding, along with a kuleana, a responsibility to mālama, to take care of this ʻāina, is deeply rooted within Donelleʻs teaching and cultural understanding.
Her passion and years as a student of Hula, oli, and ʻōlelo (Hawaiian dance, chant and language), Donelleʻs love for cultural connection is brought into every class she teaches and woven into the lessons and class study with her haumāna, her students. Her dream is that every school and classroom in Hawaiʻiʻs public school system incorporate these cultural components, values and connections.
A 4th grade teacher at Pōmaikaʻi Elementary for 13 years, Donelle trained and taught arts integration methods throughout that time. For the last 2 years she has been teaching at Iao Middle School. When We Shine Foundation is proud to be working with this talented arts integration teacher and Hawaiian Cultural Education advocate!
Susana Browne, Advisor for Education and The Arts
Susana Browne was an elementary education teacher for ten years before becoming the education director at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC) in 1998. In that position, she had the opportunity to work statewide and nationally to promote arts education, provide professional development for teachers and teaching artists, and research the impact of an arts education on children. Her most cherished accomplishment was helping to start and sustain the only fully arts-integrated school in Hawai‘i, Pomaika’i Elementary. Susana retired from MACC in 2016 and began her work with the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa, supervising teacher candidates in the Statewide Elementary Education program. In 2018, Susana became a commissioner for the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. She is also on the board of directors of Adaptations Dance Theater.
Lily Diamond, Board President
President Lily Diamond is a writer and advocate harnessing the power of digital media to democratize wellness and empower women through storytelling, accessible practices for inner and outer nourishment, and revolutionary acts of self-care within our earth and human communities. She is the creator of internationally beloved blog Kale & Caramel and author of bestselling memoir-cookbook Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table, celebrated as one of the top cookbooks of 2017 by the New York Times, The Independent, Cooking Light, mindbodygreen, and more.
Lily’s writing has been featured in VICE, Healthyish, the Huffington Post, Refinery29, and more. Her work is informed by two decades of study, certification, and teaching in the art and practice of meditation and psychosomatic therapies. She is a devoted co-conspirator to organizations decolonizing food and wellness for all. Lily was educated at Yale University and lives in Maui, Hawai‘i, where she grew up, on occupied native Hawaiian land.
Check out Lilyʻs latest book, co-authored with Rebecca Walker! A Journal For Everyday Evolution, released on December 8, 2020 from Sounds True, transformational writing prompts for personal and global change, Whatʻs Your Story?
David Kauahikaua, Board Vice-President
David Kauahikaua serves as Vice-President of When WE Shine. He brings a rich and experienced background as a producer/arranger/engineer/keyboard player who has been involved in the recording industry in Hawaii since the early 80’s. One of the first in Hawaiʻi to use computers to enhance music production. David has worked as a musical director for numerous well- known Hawaiian performers and musicians including Don Ho, Loyal Garner, Frank De Lima.
David was honored with the 2017 Nā Hōkū Hanohano award for “Engineering / General Category” and his original composition “Kailua Rain” was a final ballot nominee for “Instrumental of the Year” in 2018. He was awarded “Outstanding Arranger” in the 1981 First Hawaiian Music competition for his orchestral arrangement of Loyal Garner’s “I Donʻt Want to Go Away.”
David and Melinda Caroll have produced over 40 music projects and albums together, including 16 CD’s for Girl Scouts of the USA, plus they have co-produced numerous other children’s original music, including Songs for Change in 2018 and Keiki Songs for Change, 2019. Currently, David helps people realize their musical visions through programming, arranging and producing their songs. Check out his discography.
Reneʻ Ruch, Board Secretary/Treasurer
Born in Switzerland, Reneʻ has resided the last 30 years in Hawaiʻi on the beautiful island of Maui, about 4,000 feet up Haleakala. He has been a practicing Tax Accountant, Tax Preparer and an Enrolled Agent for the last 20 years and continues actively with his profession.
Reneʻ is an avid enthusiast of The Arts and arts education. He believes in the long-term benefits of arts integration in our schools as an innovative way to support childrenʻs creative problem solving and emotional and social well-being. He understands the long-term effects of these benefits spreading out and into families and our island communities. He is an enthusiastic supporter of When We Shine Foundationʻs work in these areas and happily shares his skills and expertise!