True Star programs are hosted in conjunction with our core partners After School Matters and Chicago Public Schools. We are a nonprofit multimedia organization that offers Chicago teens innovative out-of-school activities.
True Star Media programs are designed to teach valuable skills that are transferable to the workplace and ultimately raise the bar for future expectations. True Star serves a minimal of 150 students during each 10-week session throughout all its programs. Sessions include fall, spring and summer, which are six weeks long. Students commit to one out of the seven programs per session. Each program has a student teacher ratio of 15/1. On average True Star serves 30 students with two instructors. During after-school sessions instructors work with students on projects three days a week for approximately three hours. In summer sessions students are supervised on projects four to five days a week for four hours.


TSF’s most notable creation is the True Star Media program, which produces True Star Magazine, True Star Radio, Truestaris.com and True Star Jr. Magazine. As a whole, True Star's is to inform, entertain and educate. True Star serves as the voice of urban youth and the issues they face in our ever-changing world.

True Star - We are where teens are!

Click here to see where you can pick up True Star Magazine.

Would you like True Star Magazine available at your school, library or youth center? Contact us info@truestarmagazine.com.


Each semester students interview for slots at one of seven locations for a paid 10-week apprenticeship. Industry professionals who serve as instructors mentor teens in the following programs:
Editorial Program: The editorial team learns writing skills and how to become proficient in reporting by creating story ideas that develop into submissions for True Star Magazine. Through extensive research, interviewing, copy editing and fact checking, the program teaches students literary skills and enhances their ability to analyze the media and the social conditions that affect them. Under the guidance of adult instructors, teen reporters tackle subjects on everything from the presidential election, to youth violence, to drug abuse, to diabetes.

Graphic Design Program: The graphic design team learns the technical side of art and creativity with hands-on training with industry standard equipment and software. Students are guided through the functional capabilities of programs like Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator in order to produce magazine layouts and marketing collateral. In addition to expanding students artistic talents the program also teaches them how to think critically when determining the needs and message that design plays for a potential client.

Photography Program: The photography team learns the basic principles and mechanics of the lens as well as the power of capturing the moments of everyday life. The teens learn a professional approach to photography through the selection of photo topics, detailing the tasks of an assignment, critiquing work, researching subjects and constant reworking in order to maintain clarity and consistency. The team builds the stock photo database for the publication and marketing materials.

Event Planning Program: The event planning team learns how to execute an event from beginning to end. From brainstorming event concepts to selecting vendors, maintaining budgets, coordinating logistics and day of production, to booking entertainment and grassroots marketing and publicity, this team does it all to create events that benefit their peers and community.

Sales & Marketing Program: The advertising sales team learns the business of media and how advertising affects the industry. Students learn how to think like markerters and the art of selling advertising to businesses. Much like real world marketers, the teens hone their communication and presentation skills, and research various sources pertaining to their target market in preparation for sales pitch meetings with major corporations and advertising agencies.

Broadcast Program: The radio broadcast team learns behind-the-scenes operations of the business by working as show researchers, producers, bloggers, hosts and running studio equipment. Students spend time crafting discussion topics, creating voiceovers, booking and interviewing guests and perfecting on-air delivery for a live weekly show on Power 92.3 FM.

From the True Star name to the creation of the logo, students’ ideas and concepts are always at the forefront and embedded into every page. Each team works collectively to produce a magazine by teens for teens, and an outlet for their voices to be heard.

Summer Programs: If you would like a position with True Star in the summer, please send an email to staff@truestarmagazine.com with your name, age, school, grade, phone number and email address along with the position you are interested in.

Summer students MUST also be registered on www.youthreadychicago.org.


In addition to after-school programs True Star makes quality youth programming accessible to Chicago teens.

Urban High School Student Exchange
An exchange between Chicago, Atlanta and Baltimore school districts that focus on building students' leadership skills, personal and emotional growth, post-secondary preparation and service learning. The program also provides real world experiences for student leaders to interact socially with others outside of Chicago Public Schools and discuss global issues and problems in today's society.

Teen Conferences
SHE is an empowerment program for young women ages 13-19. Offered to select high school girls, it is an intimate setting designed to provide support and encouragement while developing personal and social skills. The SHE program also provides a platform for teen girls to discuss current issues, problems and their concerns for the future. Some discussion topics include: female images in media, female violence, respect, relationships, dangerous sexual activity and self love.

And, a host of other events:

  • Runway of Stars: a teen fashion show

  • No Weapons Just Two-Steppin: a dance competition to combat violence among teens

  • The Next Check, How Are You Gonna Spend It: a youth financial literacy symposium

  • Careers On Deck, Sessions For Your Professions: a career seminar for teens

  • Recite What You Write, Speak Your Swagg Thru The Mic: a poetry slam competition


True Star Magazine is
looking for teens like you:

Graphic Designers
Learn More about open positions at True Star Magazine

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