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Shining Star Youth and Community Services in partnership with it takes a village and the City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services currently offers the Chicago Young Parents Program.

The Chicago Young Parents Program is an intensive employment and education opportunity for young mothers, ages 16-24, who have at least one child enrolled in Head Start or Early Head Start. The program will support young mothers in achieving their education, career, and parenting goals. The 20 hour per week program includes a paid, part-time job in a Head Start Center as a Literacy Coach; job, parenting, and personal development training; and mentoring. Participants will work for 14 hours a week in a Head Start Classroom and spend 6 hours a week in job, parenting, and personal development training. Participants will earn $10.25 an hour, or as much as $820 a month.

Program Eligibility

  • Young Mothers between the ages of 16-24
  • One Child enrolled in Head Start or Early Head Start

Program Requirements

  • Pass a Background Check
  • Get a Physical and TB test
  • Work as a Literary Coach up to 14 hours of work per week
  • Attend weekly 6 hour training
  • Attend an education program
  • Participate in home-visits two times a month
  • Program Components
  • Employment: Participants will work as Literacy Coaches at Head Start Centers and assist Head Start teachers in daily classroom activities, focusing on early literacy development in 3-5 year olds. They will receive intensive training during program orientation, and ongoing training throughout the year.

Literacy Coaches will report to mentor team leaders, and be supervised on site by staff of the Head Start site to which they are assigned. Participants will earn $10.25 an hour.

Weekly Training: Participants will attend weekly, six hour training sessions. Weekly training sessions will include circles of support with their mentors and their cohort. Training will cover a variety of topics from early child development to personal development, soft skills job training to training tailored for Literacy Coaches.
Other topics will include family nutrition, financial literacy, healthy relationships, education and career planning. Participants will also help determine the schedule of training. Once per month training will include a socialization session in which participants will bring their child/ren with them for group activities. Participants will get paid ($10.25 per hour) for attending training.

Home-Visits: Participants will participate in two home-visits a month with their mentors. Home-visits are an opportunity for participants to practice new parenting skills,

Education: Participants will enroll/ maintain enrollment in an education program suited to their current educational achievement. High School Students will be expected to stay on track for graduation; participants without a high school diploma will be enrolled in a GED program; and participants with a high school diploma/GED will be enrolled in a Child Development Associate Certificate which will prepare them for full time employment in a Head Start Center. Students who have some degree credits will have the option of continuing in their program of study. Mentors will support participants in enrolling, submitting financial aid documents, and in maintaining attendance. Some financial support will be available to participants to help offset costs.

Mentoring: All participants will have a mentor and be part of a 10 to 15 person cohort. Mentors will work closely with participants, supporting them at their work sites, in their development as parents and young women, and in reaching their educational goals.

Evaluation: Participants between the ages of 18-24 will be encouraged to participate in the program evaluation. The evaluation will include pre-and post-program surveys and interviews. Some applicants will be assigned to the control group, and receive incentives for participating in the evaluation.


Job Summary:
Literacy Coaches assist Head Start teachers in daily classroom activities, focusing on early literacy development in 3-5 year olds. Literacy Coaches report directly to mentor-team leaders. They are also supervised by staff of the Head Start site to which they are assigned.


  • Assist Head Start teacher in daily classroom activities
  • Participate with children during free play in small groups, or one on one, indoors and outdoors, finding opportunities to make regular activities into literacy activities
  • Conduct early literacy activities such as storytelling, reading books with children, teaching letters, numbers, colors, shapes, and rhymes
  • Assist with art activities
  • Encourage children to return toys and equipment to proper storage areas
  • Assist with children on field trips and outings
  • Share responsibility for regular daily clean-up after classroom activities
  • Participate in assigned trainings and meetings with team leaders
  • Make written entries in a journal of reflections on experiences
  • Prepare a portfolio of significant work projects
  • Complete evaluations, action plans and other written work as assigned
  • Complete other duties as assigned


Participant must

  • Be a between the ages of 16 and 24 Have at least one child who is under age 6 enrolled in Head Start or Early Head Start;
  • Take and pass a physical and TB skin test;
  • Agree to participate in home visits, socializations, and weekly trainings.
  • Applicants should be energetic, motivated and willing to learn!

For additional information about this program please email Mrs. Ivaco Clarke-McCall Director of Social & Family Support Services at

Chicago Young Parents Program