“Shine A Light saved my life has giving me the opportunity to have a better life coming from being homeless sleeping wherever I could eating out of trash can’s to having a roof over my head also Provided me with everything I needed clothing hygiene food counseling most important help me get set on the right path to being a productive citizen in Society I thank god for Shine A Light and the people who take the time to go out and help people like me I’m so grateful and appreciate Shine A Light with out there help I don’t know where I would be or if I would be still alive thank you for the life I never thought I would ever have my life is amazing today.”
“What does Shine A Light signify to me? It started almost four years ago when a friend of mine told me he started a homeless outreach program. I volunteer at the shelters and decided to check out what Paul was creating. From the very beginning, he had this idea that we were going to build relationships as a means of gaining trust within the homeless community. I was immediately impacted by the compassion of this approach, and the homeless community expressed a ton of gratitude for our kindness. That novel way of doing things has turned this little thing that started out as a couple of friends going down into the tunnels to try and do some good, into this massive army of loyal followers that go out every Saturday with the mission of trying to help people. I could never have believed that it would have grown as big and as fast as it has.
What does Shine A Light mean to me? It has become one of the most joyful experiences of my life getting to go out into the homeless camps of Las Vegas and try to help the people living there. I have developed an unbridled passion for doing what we do because I see the wonderful impact that we have on our community. I have even come up with an unofficial motto of “Just save one and then you will know.” Which of course I plagiarized from Batman. I truly enjoy getting the privilege of leading people down into the tunnels every weekend so that they too will understand the immensity of getting to be a part of someone being reborn from the ashes. I have come to believe that what we do is nothing short of miraculous, as we go down into the depths and bring hope to the hopeless, it is a truly beautiful spectacle to behold. Being a part of Shine A Light fills my soul with gratitude and tranquility, that I will always cherish.”
“My experience with Shine A Light started in August of 2018. I had heard of their organization through word of mouth from the others that lived in the tunnels. At that point in time, I was already homeless for 5 months and living in the tunnels underneath the streets of Las Vegas . Even though I wanted help, I did not take the help they offered at first. I had multiple warrants out for my arrest and I had heard through word of mouth that they worked closely with law enforcement. Paul Vautrinot and Robert Banghart were the first two faces I saw on that hot August morning. They had brought a team of about 8 individuals with them and they were offering supplies and help to get into treatment. I neglected to take the help at the time because I was afraid, but they told me “If you ever need anything, just call.” This went on for 2 years, them coming down, giving supplies, offering help and my subsequent rejection of services offered. Through my moving from place to place, every Saturday, like clockwork, there they were. November, 2020 I was brought to Crossroads of Southern Nevada by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and I was enrolled in their long term residency program. The first face I saw when I went upstairs after my detox off of Methamphetamines and Heroin was Paul Vautrinot. He greeted me with a “Hello, Friend” on that day and every time we saw each other after that. Many conversations were had between us. He provided everything he could, including good orderly direction and advice that can only be given from one addict to another. He had always told me to call when things were good, so he could help when things got bad. I was there 5 months, before graduating that program in April, 2021 but shortly after my completion of that program, my addiction got the best of me and I relapsed . It only took me three months this time to call and asked for the help I so desperately wanted. July 2021, I called the number on the Shine A Light bracelet I had been given earlier that weekend. Robert Banghart was at the place we had agreed on meeting at within 10 minutes. He took me to Crossroads and waited with me until I was taken into triage. I was moved to another treatment facility shortly after my detox, but before I left I had another memorable conversation with Paul. “Call me when things are good so we can help when things are bad. When I left that second treatment facility, Paul Vautrinot was the first person I called. I let him know how things were going, where I was staying and how I was doing. He told me I was still on their case load and if I ever needed anything, I can call. I kept in touch when things were good and they were going very well, until they weren’t. I called him as soon as I saw signs of impending doom and he came to my rescue once again. Shine A Light paid for my stay in the women’s sober living house that I currently reside in. I am thankful for this organization and all of the participants that willingly volunteer their time every single week. I am grateful to have the opportunity to now work side by side with these incredible men who saved my life, time and time again. I know I can call them at any time and they’ll drop everything to be of service. Paul Vautrinot has created an army of angels and he will always be my Higher Power in human form .I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it wasn’t for Shine A Light. I have gained so much back that I thought I had lost. I look forward to working with this organization every Saturday to show the people I used to cohabitate with that recovery is possible. ”
“”Hello, My name is Dominc M and I am an addict/alcoholic in recovery. I started using drugs and alcohol at the age of 15. By the time I was 17 I was smoking crack, drinking, and popping pills. I continued this road for 25 years. During that time I picked up 3 felonies and numerous bad habits. It wasn’t until the age of 40 years old that I had finally had enough. Looking at prison for the 3rd time, Judge Miley sentenced me to The Salvation Army Rehab on August 3, 2018. There I connected with AA/NA and a GOD of my understanding. That was the first time in my life that anybody cared enough to give me a chance. At least I thought that at the time. Part of the 12 Steps of AA/NA requires that I help the addict that is still struggling. Last year I noticed a #ShineALight post. I noticed that there were people that actually cared for those still struggling. I made that call. I went out with them in the tunnels. Seeing the faces of those still struggling was hard to digest. Seeing them smile when you hand them a bottle of water and a #ShineALight bracelet was priceless. There are people that care. I care. #ShineALight helps me give back to the community that I stole from for so many years. For that, I am grateful. Thank you #ShineALight for helping me be a better man, brother, and child of GOD. ”
“In 2014 my husband and I was living in a tunnel in the Rio Wash. One Saturday morning a group of young men came to visit us. They were passing out needed supplies. Each of them introduced themselves; Paul Vautrinot, Robert Banghart, Robert Stargel, Jason Mann and Joshua Needham. They told us that they were from an organization called, Shine A Light. These young men from Shine A Light would come to visit us every Saturday morning. We quickly made friends with all of them. From time to time they would ask us if we were ready to make the change to a better life. They would always remind us that when we were ready, they would be there and that we could call and they would be right there. Through the many years my husband and I would take the help they offered. But only for a few days at a time. We would get scared and run back to the tunnel. We did this routine 4-5 times throughout the years. Everytime we did, these friends from Shine A Light would be there the very next Saturday morning. On those Saturday mornings there were no lectures, no preaching, no judgements made, they were only loyal friends asking what happened. To let us know they were there to help. After all those years and after all those times that they gave us the help we needed, they never lost patience or gave up on us.
Fast forward to 2020. My husband and I had just moved back to LaPhil, in the drains from 2001-201s Vegas after being at home in Hawaii for a year. We were living in an apartment with a friend, we were there for about a week. In August 27 2020 my husband what shot in the chest and died in my arms. I found myself back down in the tunnel, lost, alone, terrified. Not knowing who or where to turn to for help. I found out later that when Paul Vautrinot and Robert Banghart found out what happened to my husband and found out that I was back in the tunnel they were very worried for me. They personally came out the very next Saturday morning to find me. When Paul found me, I was sitting covered up in my blanket in the dark tunnel. He told me again that I could call him anytime and that he would be there. In that conversation he told me that whether or not I believed him, he and Rob were very worried about me. Especially being back in the tunnel by myself. He made it a point to let me know that they really did care and that they really did want to help me. Without me saying anything to Paul, he knew exactly what I needed. He let me know that he understood the things and the feelings I was going through. He knew how terrified and lost I was without my husband. After all these years, I finally listened to Paul and went to him for help. I went to Crossroads to detox, while I was there Paul would come to see me to make certain I was OK. I didn’t know that at the time cause all I did was sleep. After detoxing I entered the residency program at Crossroads. Paul made sure that I knew that he would always be available if I ever needed him. He made sure I knew where his office was and he told me that I could come see him everyday if I wanted to.
After a few days, I was grateful to learn that Joshua Needham also worked there. Josh told me that whenever I wanted to could come talk to him… good, bad, day or night. Paul told me that Robert Stargel would be there to help me. Robert would help me with getting the things u needed to restart my life. Things like my ID, birth certificate, social security card, etc. Robert Banghart and Jason Mann came to visit me to let me know again that they were there for anything I needed.
These young men of Shine A Light, (Paul Vautrinot, Robert Banghart, Robert Stargel Jason Mann and Joshua Needham) have been my angels here on earth. They have been there to take care of me and look after me above and beyond any and all of my expectations. Today I know in my heart that any problem, any situation, good, bad, happy, sad or indifferent, I can always call any one of them and they will always be there for me. These wonderful men from Shine A Light are honored heroes and greatly loved by many people, especially me. Aloha”
“10 months ago I was in a jail cell kicking heroin, completely lost, and completely broken. I had nowhere to go and nowhere to turn. I showed up to crossroads just as confused if not more than I ever was. About a month in I was invited to participate in shine a light. Little did I know the impact it would come to have on my life. I found people in similar situations as I had been in and In a lot of cases worse. I’ve been able to use every bad thing I’ve been through to communicate and reach out to these people on levels most would not understand. Through Shine A Light we are able to speak and reach out to them from a place of compassion, love, and understanding. We show them there is a way out and there are people who truly care. Shine a light continues to change my life every week and the lives of countless others who have been reached and helped through them.”
“I spent 4 years in and out of the tunnels and when I heard about shine a light and the good it was doing I wanted to get involved. My life looks way different today due to the fact that I took advantage of a program similar to the one offered through shine a light and I wanted to share my experience with those who are still in a state of hopelessness that I suffered from for so many years. There have been many times now that I have run into people I was on the street with and volunteering with shine a light has allowed me to show them that we all have a chance to come back from a hopeless situation.”
“My experience with Shine A Light Foundation has shown me there is a solution for homelessness. No matter how much compassion has made me want to do something for a largely overlooked community, I never knew how to make a difference. I have watched reaching out and showing people we care make as small of an impact as a smile and as big as someone taking their first step on a new path. It’s beautiful to have the opportunity to take action in the community with like-minded individuals and see results.”
“I reached out to the outreach director for Shine A Light in the beginning of 2020 after spending close to 3 years Homeless and addicted on the streets and tunnels of Las Vegas NV. Shine a light scholarshipped me into treatment and housing which allowed me to make my beginning into the journey of recovery. Shine a light followed me every step of the way. They connected me to a fellowship in recovery. They referred me to job development and job readiness. I have recently celebrated 2 years of sobriety and Shine a light was there to celebrate with me. In the past 2 years, I have been able to reconnect with family, make a host of friends in recovery, gain employment with the same job for the past year and a half in a field I really enjoy. I often reflect on the life I have today and am in disbelief and it is all because of the chance I was afforded through Shine a light. Shine a light is family to me. I will forever be grateful for what Shine a light has done for me.”