Logan Gillen, co-owner of Shine, visited the CPA Feb. 25 to speak about her experiences recovering from an eating disorder and her desire to further Shine, a program designed to help women overcome eating disorders. Shine has existed for about two years and is located in Bristol, Tennessee.

Shine was founded by Gillen and Kimberly Brown. Gillen met Brown while attending a structured eating disorder treatment program called Tapestry.

Gillen attended Tapestry in hopes that the program would fix her anorexia, help her feel free and live a happier life, she said.

“Honestly, I knew if I continued not eating, I was not going to live much longer,” Gillen said.

Gillen said she encountered a few challenges at Tapestry, one of which was gaining weight. The program placed her on a meal plan, which eventually became permanent. Other challenges were dealing with critical thoughts and associating and making new friends.

“The staff there were very patient with me and sat with me as I ate — trying to make it easier — and allowed me space to talk about things when I was upset or experiencing critical thoughts,” Gillen said.

As a part of the Tapestry program, participants are placed with three to six roommates.

Gillen and Brown became friends during the program because of their mutual passion for music. Gillen said that they composed songs together and that the name Shine came about as a result of the two composing a song.

“The first week there was OK for me, but the second week, I really struggled,” Gillen said. “I didn’t think I could work through personal issues and learn to eat the food I was supposed to.”

According to Shinelikegold.org, the Shine programs website, Gillen majored in music and minored in psychology at King University and obtained a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy at ETSU.

Brown is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, New Jersey. After she graduates, she hopes to obtain a graduate degree in clinical psychology and conduct research on mental disorders.

In addition to Gillen and Brown, Shine works with numerous volunteers, one of whom is Cynthia Dillow, an undergraduate student in youth ministry at King University.

Dillow helps with certain program activities and manages Shine’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Dillow hopes to obtain a master’s degree in counseling and eventually use her degrees to help adolescent girls.

Gillen said her short-term goals are to fill out the paperwork to have Shine considered a non-profit organization and conduct more fundraisers.