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by Erika Sunshyne Deans


During her senior year in HS, Erika realized her vision wasn’t as strong as it used to be and she had a sensitivity to light, from that point on Erika had to wear prescription glasses. Sunglasses became part of Erika’s wardrobe and her need for prescription glasses wasn’t going to hinder her from her fashion accessory. Erika wanted to continue to match her shades with her outfits so she began tinting her glasses to wear as shades, you can only imagine the excitement she had when transitional lens came out. About five years ago, Erika thought she would be able to get 20/20 vision and wear her array of sunglasses more often but to her disappointment she didn’t medically qualify for laser surgery, so she opted to wear contact lenses instead. Erika’s desire to wear a diverse set of sunglasses, became a reality again, like her hair, nails and clothes, Erika loves to switch it up.

Erika “Sunshyne” is a practicing licensed master’s social worker who decided during the

pandemic of 2020 to turn her love for sunglasses into an entrepreneurial opportunity. About 20 years ago Erika’s fellow colleagues affectionately called her Sunshyne and she has been living up to that name ever since. From her love of sunglasses, history of being a hustler and sunshine spirit, Sunshyne Diva Shades was born!

Sunshyne and Social Work

Erika’s social work career is focused on shinning a light on the injustices within the juvenile

justice system, particularly advocating for racial and ethnic disparities reform. Erika earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Molly College and her MSW from Fordham University.

Erika also earned an Executive Certificate and became a fellow of Georgetown University’s

McCourt Policy Center for Juvenile Justice Reform for Racial and Ethnic Disparities.

Erika’s specialized expertise includes networking, collaboration, strategic planning, board

development, written and oral communication with diverse populations; the development and

facilitation of workshops and groupwork while displaying immense strength in staff support,

leadership, management, organizational skills, and cultural humility.

Erika saw a need to do more and decided to return to the college of Education, Information & Technology, and Interdisciplinary Educational studies Doctoral Program at LIU. Erika’s future career goals are to provide an inclusive, adequate, culturally relative education too hard to reach, system involved youth who can benefit from trauma informed social and emotional instruction.

Find me on:

Facebook- Sunshyne Diva Shades & Instagram @sunshyne_divashades

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