Shining Star Youth and Community Services was founded by Gicele Wray-Lindley in February 2004. Growing up, Gicele’s family lived in one of Chicago’s under-served community where violence, poverty, unemployment and the lack of quality early childhood education was prevalent. Determined to take her experiences and passion for bettering the lives of at-risk children, Gicele established the Shining Star Youth and Community Services to provide early literacy support to children.
As the need for early literacy grew, the demand for quality early learning education grew. This is when our visionary, Gicele Wray-Lindley launched Shining Star Child Development Institute. In July 2004, Shining Star opened our first location which serves the South Chicago/Deering community. Here we offer quality early childhood education and dual language services to children and families ages 6 weeks to 6 years old.
In 2007, Shining Star expanded our services to the Chatham/Grand Crossing community (one of Chicago’s most at-risk communities) with the purchase of our site at 854 East 79th Street Chicago, IL 60619. At this site, we currently provide quality early learning and comprehensive children and family services to 61 children ages 6 weeks to 6 years old. As the demands for quality early learning education for Latino-American families in our South Chicago and Chatham/Avalon Park location started to grow, the need for Shining Star’s expansion grew. In July 2009, Shining Star Early Learning Academy (338-348 E. 103rd Street) was launched and currently serves the Roseland/Rosemoor community.
In July 2012, Shining Star expanded our services to the East Side Community with the purchase of (the former East Side Chicago Public Library). This center located at 10540-44 S. Ewing Chicago IL 60617 is a brand new construction, state-of the art facility furnished with open floor plans, high end early learning equipment and contemporary interior designs. Here we provide quality early learning education and family support services to 102 predominantly Spanish speaking children (ages 6 weeks to 6 years old).
In 2013 Shining Star expanded our services from providing traditional quality early learning to children to providing both early education and family support services. We call this taking a holistic approach to child development. Our partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Family Support Services, and the Office of Head Start, Shining Star now offer a full array of comprehensive services through Head Start. Shining Star Youth and Community Services currently offers Head Start & Early Head Start services for children ages Birth to Five.