True Star is a media company that provides real world work experience to youth through the development of their own media.


True Star goes beyond telling youth what success looks like, it shows them. Students learn from actually doing, making mistakes, and resolving errors.


True Star youth earn the skills to compete in the digital age and emerge as leaders in their community and industry.

A Unique Model For Youth

True Star Foundation operates a unique model that holds weekly after-school, in-school and summer programming in which students are educated about a variety of disciplines in the media industry. Students not only learn about the profession, they actually work cooperatively to produce, professional-quality work in each area.

What We Do
Digital Media
Radio Broadcasting
True Star Jr.
Digital Marketing
Graphic Design

By investing charitable money, we are able to provide on-the-job training to more youth, so they can build 21st century job skills.

Bring a True Star program to your school to build students technical and communication skills, as well as overall confidence.

True Star Media reaches over 1.2 million youth per year. Advertise on our media platforms.

Become a small business member and our senior youth staff will execute marketing and promotions for your company.

2019 Impact Summary


job training opportunities provided.


of True Star students graduated high school.


hours of training provided.


of True Star students come from underserved communities.


of True Star students enroll in higher education.

250,000 +

paid in stipends and youth pay.

Meet Our Leadership
DeAnna McLeary-Sherman
Na-Tae’ Thompson

True Star Foundation (TSF) was founded in 2004 by DeAnna McLeary-Sherman and Na-Tae’ Thompson. Driven by their desire to improve the lives of Chicago youth, and fueled by the tremendous needs of young people living in underserved communities, Thompson and McLeary-Sherman developed a multi-media organization with youth at the helm.

True Star started as one simple journalism program serving 17 students. In its first year, students came up with the name True Star, designed the logo, created the editorial philosophy and developed the content for a four-page newsletter.

Since that initial program True Star Foundation has grown to eight programs, providing over 500 Chicago youth with after-school and summer apprenticeship programs annually. The media produced has also grown from a newsletter into two quarterly magazines, a blog, a youtube channel, radio show and podcasts. In 2018, True Star ceased printing True Star Magazine and launched the digital platform truestar.life where youth create digital media content. But not only do youth create the media, they advise and execute business strategy, conduct market research, develop marketing campaigns, and are the ultimate decision makers of the brand and direction of the organization. True Star youth also develop digital content for external clients.

What’s New
Join Us
Get Our Email Newsletter

    Follow Us On Twitter!

    Like Us On Facebook!

    Like Us On Instagram!