Who We Are
…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 and radio show.

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.

The True Star brand represents the voice and vision of urban youth. It is a platform for youth to inform, inspire, entertain, and educate their peers.  True Star offers an alternative to the negative images of urban youth in today’s media. Through various programming, the organization offers unique opportunities for youth to create and be the center of their own media. With this, they learn skills in advising and executing business strategy, advertising sales, marketing, and the conclusive direction of the brand and media.


True Star Foundation’s mission is to improve the lives of youth by exposing them to real-world experiences in the workforce through the development of their own media and being an intricate part of the strategic direction and overall business operations of the True Star organization.


To inspire dreams so that young people may find their voice, choose their path, and prepare for life.

DeAnna McLeary-Sherman
Na-Tae’ Thompson
DeShaun Adams
Special Projects Manager & Promotions Director
Marti Parham
Managing Editor
Angel D’Amico-Bauer
Art Direction & Design
Henry Collins
On-Line Assistant
Hector Daniels
Multi-Media Producer
True Star Journalism
Marti Parham
True Star Radio
Sharmon Jarmon
Trey White
True Star Super Team
Portia King
True Star Digital Media
Simeon Frierson
True Star Digital Photography
DeShaun Adams
True Star Digital Marketing
Trey White
True Star Jr.
Nykeya Woods
Portia King
True Star Promotions & Ambassador Program
DeShaun Adams
LaTonya Wilkens - President
Director, Talent Management University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Giuseppe Commodaro - Treasurer
Vice President Transformation, JM Swank, LLC
Allison Driscoll - Secretary
Strategic Marketing Specialist, Legal & General Investment Management America
Thomas McLeary
CEO, Endow Inc.
Michelle Cohen
Director Innovation & Acceleration, CME Group
Mia Nelson
Manager, Americas Compensation Cushman & Wakefield
David Nichols
Americas Leader, EY
Corey Richardson
Director, Fluent360
Steven Bayley
Associate Director of Account Planning, Burrell Communications