Leadership

 
New PCH Photo Image.JPG

Pastor Christopher Harris
Founder and CEO

Pastor Chris Harris is the spiritual leader of Bright Star Church in Chicago's Bronzeville Community and has ministered in over 24 countries in song. Pastoring since 1999, the church he was born and raised in has grown from 75 parishioners to more than 750 active members.

Pastor Harris is the founder of Bright Star Community Outreach a 501c3 dedicated to youth anti-violence programs, educational enrichment, and school improvement in the Bronzeville community.  He has developed the TURN Model (The Urban Resilience Network) based on the Israeli model of NATAL in Tel Aviv with five core competencies: counseling, parenting, mentorship, work-force development and advocacy where families and victims of violence and trauma can seek help with PTSD.  

Pastor Harris serves as National Council Member of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), Chairman of the Bronzeville Community Action Council, a member of the University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) Community Advisory Council, and has served as President of the 4th Ward & Cook County Clergy Coalitions. Pastor Chris Harris is the proud husband of Jojo Harris and father of four beautiful children.

 
 
Ruth.jpg

Ruth Robinson
Executive Director

Ruth Robinson is one of the original staff members of Bright Star Community Outreach (BSCO).  Ruth has served with Pastor Harris in the expansion of his outreach efforts for the last decade.  Through her leadership and tenacity, BSCO has grown from a three (3) person operation, to an organization that employs over 200 individuals annually.  When BSCO began, the focus was as an outreach effort focusing on keeping kids safe as they traveled to and from school, BSCO now, under Ruth’s leadership provides programming through eight (8) programs. One program with amazing promise is the Truancy Education and Mentoring Program.  Ruth conceptualized this program that would give students who were educationally disenfranchised either through truancy, suspension and expulsion, and would provide them a safe environment to remain academically engaged while exploring the social emotional determinants that are impacting their behavior. TEAM is just one of the many contributions that Ruth has made to Bright Star Community Outreach.

Ruth brings nearly three decades of marketing and public relations experience as well as over a decade of supervisory experience to lead the staff of BSCO. More than her professional experience, Ruth brings a heart for our youth and for the community to the work that she does. On a daily basis, and especially around holidays, you can find Ruth investing her time and her resources to children and families in the community.

 
 
rodney.jpg

Rodney Carter
Director – TURN Model

Rodney Carter was born on September 5, 1983 in Chicago, Illinois. As a child prodigy, he was blessed with many talents. Realizing his gift for facts and figures and the ability to help and work with all types of people, Rodney knew at an early age that much of his purpose in life would be in the business sector.  With great success throughout his educational career, Rodney graduated with honors from Lakeland College in May 2005 with a bachelor degree in Accounting. Shortly after graduation, Rodney began his career as an Investment Accountant. Over the span of  nine years, he serviced accounts for multiple nationally known insurance companies including CNA, AON, and Allianz.  During this time, Rodney also devoted himself to ministry work at his church, Bright Star, in a variety of roles.

In 2011, he was appointed as Assistant Pastor of Bright Star Church.  With the body of experience he accumulated during his ministry and professional career, he decided to pursue full-time ministry leadership where he could serve both the congregation and public community in Bronzeville. In addition to Rodney’s active work in his church and community, he is a proud and loving family man. His love for his wife, Devlonne Carter, and 3 children, Destini, Desiree`, and Darius is immeasurable.  

 
 
Jasmine .JPG

Dr. Jasmine Bankhead
Organizational Development Consultant

With over 20 years of experience in educational leadership, organizational development, community development & engagement, staff development and influencing systematic change, Dr. Jasmine Bankhead is uniquely positioned to assist Bright Star Community Outreach with ensuring our evidence based programs are replicable, scalable, and prepared to undergo rigorous 3rd party evaluation. Dr. Bankhead is currently the Managing Partner of Intrinsic Consulting Group, Inc. and President of Intrinsic Home Care, Inc. located in Chicago, Illinois. She serves on the National Policy Committee of the National Alliance for Black School Educators (NABSE), as President Emeritus of Family Community Empowerment Services (FACES), and as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Dr. Bankhead holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Master of Science, Human Resource Management & Development and a Master of Arts in Teaching. Later, Dr. Bankhead was accepted into New Leaders for New Schools, a national principal preparation program where she completed her Master of Science, Administration and Supervision.  She also holds a Doctorate of Education with a focus in Organizational Leadership. Dr. Bankhead’s research interests lie within educational policy, organizational development, healthcare reform, and uncovering strategies for community change.  

 
 
Cyndee.jpg

Dr. Cyndee Langley
Clinical Manager

Cyndee Langley, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist.  She completed her doctorate in clinical psychology at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, and her APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship at Regional Mental Health Center (RMHC).  RMHC is a large community mental health agency in Northwest Indiana where she was then hired as an outpatient psychologist.  After RMHC, Dr. Langley moved to Hartgrove Hospital where she helped to open and oversee the day-to-day operations of the new outpatient clinic, Chatham Family Counseling Center.  Dr. Langley is the clinical manager of BSCO, and is responsible for supervising the clinical pieces of the work done through the helpline, as well as seeing clients for individual and family therapy.  Dr. Langley specializes in complex trauma and dissociative disorders and is utilizing this experience to help grow the clinical aspects of BSCO.

 
 
Nichole.jpg

Nichole Carter
Coordinator GBNN

Grant Writer, Administrator, Counselor, Trainer, Presenter, Community Advocate.  These are just a few of the roles that Nichole has successfully navigated since her tenure began at Bright Star Community Outreach in 2015. Now as the GBNN Coordinator, Nichole is able to bring all of her expertise of building strong teams, her passion for public speaking and her commitment to providing excellence through holistic services to the Greater Bronzeville Community. Nichole is committed to positioning Bright Star Community Outreach as a convener of services and resources in Bronzeville versus a competitor.  Nichole transitioned into this position having served as BSCO’s Program Director for almost 2 years.  Nichole brings to this position nearly two decades of executive management experience and almost a decade of non-profit experience.  

Nichole is committed to this work as her personal mantra is “Changing the World, one family at a time”.  Her dedication has deepened since the birth of her son.  Her heart is even more committed to making the streets of Chicago safe for her son and all children in the city. Nichole holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Spelman College, and she also has a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She uses her Master’s Degree to inform her work, focusing on how to focus on every opportunity from a holistic perspective. Nichole absolutely loves the work that she is doing in the community, and knows that she couldn’t do it without the support of her loving husband.

 
 

Crystal Savage
Executive Assistant to Pastor Harris

Crystal Savage joined Bright Star Community Outreach in 2015 to provide administrative support to our Chief Executive Officer, Pastor Christopher Harris.  Working alongside Pastor, she is responsible for managing his schedule, responding to requests for information, servicing as chief armor bearer and serves as an all-around problem solver to ensure he’s able to efficiently and effectively lead both Bright Star Church and Bright Star Community Outreach (BSCO). Prior to joining the Bright Star Community Outreach team, Crystal Savage leveraged two decades of experience in the fashion and beauty industry by founding R n’ C Hair Boutique in Schaumburg, IL.  The experience and skills she has gained through being an entrepreneur was exactly what Pastor Harris needed to help Bright Star Church and BSCO continue to grow. As a devout Christian, Crystal is compelled to support other Christian women as they journey through life by serving as a mentor, friend and life coach.  She believes that operating in faith and knowing your God-given purpose is essential to living a purpose driven life that is aligned to God’s plan for your life.

 
 

Additional Staff

 

Elyse Barrett
Administrative Assistant

Elyse Barrett is a long-term stakeholder of Bright Star Community Outreach. She has supported the work of our Executive Director, Mrs. Ruth Robinson, for the past eleven years. In addition to supporting our Executive Director, Elyse provides Administrative support to our Safe Passage program, ensuring our The Base Operators and Student Safety Workers have the necessary tools daily to effectively patrol as Chicago Public School students travel to and from school in The Bronzeville Community. Elyse is a dedicated and trustworthy team player, evidenced by her long-term lengthy relationship with the organization. When Elyse is not working hard at or on behalf of BSCO, she enjoys spending time with her children, grandchildren, other family members and friends.

Tiffany Golden
Manager – Safe Passage Program

Tiffany Golden has served Bright Star Community Outreach since February, 2015. She is responsible for overseeing the Safe Passage Community Watchers who serve seven schools in the Bronzeville community and ensuring over 2,500 students travel to and from school safely. Tiffany has over 5 years of managerial experience that includes work in both the retail and small businesses sectors. Tiffany attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, majoring in Business Management and Early Childhood Education. She believes in order to make a difference in the world, you must first start with making a difference in the world around you.

 

Jasmine Mack
Supervisor – Family Advocacy Center

Jasmine Mack has been servicing Bright Star Community Outreach since July 2015 as the Family Advocacy Center Supervisor. She is a graduate from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and Aurora University with a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Prior to joining BSCO’s FAC department, Jasmine has worked with many institutions to gain leadership characteristics, program development, and interpersonal skills. She has established and enriched the processes of hiring, training, and cultivating staff. While Jasmine has experience working with all ages and populations, she specializes in working with teens, parents, troubled youth, LGBTQA and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  She holds certifications as a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional (QIDP), Restorative Justice Peace Circle Keeper, and she is an Organized Event Facilitator. Jasmine’s career focus is to equip others to help themselves by teaching them effective coping skills and the problem solving skills needed to successfully navigate through life.

Andre Johnson
Case Manager – Truancy Education and Mentoring (TEAM) & After School Program

Andre Johnson is passionate about providing youth with the academic and social supports they need to thrive.  Andre is highly effective at using Restorative Justice Interventions to create a positive school environment. He is also effective at using data in meaningful ways to target behavior issues that impact the educational environment. Andre targets behavior issues by determining the type of behavior issues that are present within an educational environment and implementing interventions that decrease those behavior issues. Andre holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Master of Arts in Social Administration from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. 

 

Georithya Hudson
Supervisor – Truancy Education and Mentoring (TEAM) and Afterschool Program

Georithya Hudson has worked with at-risk youth in the public school system as a Teacher, Coach, and Mentor for over 13 years. Ms. Geoy, as she is affectionately known, works to create an environment for the youth that helps them discover their academic and creative capabilities. Like Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Ms. Geoy believes that once a child’s mind is stretched by a new experience it can never go back to its old dimensions. Because of her love for children, she has touched many lives. Ms. Geoy has created various opportunities for youth to be creative and get involved with charity work. Her charitable involvement includes helping the homeless, mentoring young girls, coaching cheer & dance, and organizing fashion shows. She believes if students can be placed in an environment where opportunity for enriched academia meets the freedom to create and love, those students will become well-rounded successful adults. Georithya utilizes her academic achievements as the source of her methods to drive education through creativity. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in English Studies and Literature from Illinois State University and in Fashion Design & Merchandising from IADT.

Cilvia Osborne
Case Manager – Truancy Education and Mentoring (TEAM)

Cilvia Osborne brings a wealth of knowledge and professional experience to BSCO. In her role as Case Manager, Cilvia is using her experiences to build relationships with youth, their parents, and the community at-large to provide wrap around services that keep youth on the path to college.  Prior to joining BSCO, Cilvia served in multiple capacities as a senior leader in the Post Secondary Arena.  Her experience supervising multiple programs, building bridges between communities, and developing teams has prepared her for the work that she does with our youth within Bright Star Community Outreach and with Bright Star Church. As a result of her work with youth, Cilvia was awarded Urban Alliance’s Mentor of the Year Award.  Cilvia’s commitment to this work stems from her desire to mentor those who are underserved and underrepresented.  When Cilvia is not working, she is spending quality time with her husband and two children. Her family keeps her balanced and determined to help others reach their destiny.

 

Darlene Scott
FAC Outreach Coordinator

Darlene Scott has been an FAC Outreach Coordinator with Bright Star Community Outreach since 2011.  Through the FAC program, she has the distinct privilege to equip families with the necessary tools that will enable them to heal through counseling, parenting classes, and anger management. Darlene holds Certification as a substance abuse counselor, an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science and is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. Her desire is to assist as many families as possible to reach their full potential by establishing and obtaining healthier life style choices to become self-sustaining.

Shanna Williams
Social Emotional Skills Coach

Shanna Williams has been working with youth for nearly two decades. Her experience with children ranges from mentorship to mental health crisis management. Shanna’s empathy for children who have been impacted by trauma drives her motivation to empower our youth. Shanna uses proven research based methods to teach youth how to effectively navigate their emotions in an effort to achieve positive outcomes for them as individuals. Shanna holds a Bachelor of Arts  in Applied Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is currently working toward her Master of the Arts in Clinical Mental Health, which will be completed in June of 2018.

 

Regina Bennett,
Academic Coach – Truancy Education and Mentoring (TEAM) & After School Program

After spending nearly a decade both working with youth, and in customer service, Regina truly understands what drives students to push past obstacles, in order to reach and surpass their true potential. Educating, mentoring, administrating within the client service industry, results driven determination, and organizational skills, have given her the necessary tools to provide personalized care based on individual needs, while maintaining emphasis on quality outcomes. She received a B.S. in Mathematics from Alabama State University and proceeded to work in face-paced environments within education and corporate settings.