Mission & History

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Our Mission

Building Bridges. Inspiring Minds. Impacting Futures.

Our Vision

We envision a community where children thrive and families flourish.

For more than 50 years, we were United Inner City Services.
Today, we’re EarlystART.

In early 2021, our team embarked on the journey of re-imagining a UICS that reflects our evolution:

  • an organization whose rich history began in the inner city but has expanded to serve children and families around the metro;
  • a provider that is now a leading innovator in early education and family development;
  • a network of vibrant and progressive centers with a distinctive, arts-infused curriculum and environment.

The work of creating a new name and building a new brand was on! We’re thrilled to share the making of EarlystART!

Our History


Sam Mann, Founder

EarlystART (formerly United Inner City Services) has served the Kansas City, MOcommunity since 1967. With the leadership of its first Executive Director, Rev. Samuel E. Mann, the organization was created to strengthen the health and vitality of neighborhoods along the 12th Street Corridor. It came to serve as an anchor, connecting families with vital resources for food, rent, and utility assistance, as well as other social services.

A childcare program was added in 1972 with the support of St. Mark Union Church. In 2001, key Kansas City leaders and community partners launched a capital campaign to erect St. Mark Child & Family Development Center at 12th Street and Garfield Avenue. The facility opened in 2004 with a distinctive, creative curriculum and a commitment to a highly trained faculty.

In 2019, the organization expanded with the opening of Metro Child & Family Development Center at the corner of 39th Street and Troost Avenue where one of the city’s busiest metro bus hubs is located.

One year later, yet another growth step was taken in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic with North Center opening in August 2020 in Pleasant Valley, MO. In addition to the distinctive EarlystART curriculum, North Center also offers specialized support to developmentally challenged early education students and their families.

With capacity to serve 300 infants, toddlers, and pre-K students as well as their families and caregivers, St. Mark Center, Metro Center, and North Center are united in one EarlystART mission: Building Bridges. Inspiring Minds. Impacting futures.