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! A few months later, we unveiled a new name and an all-new brand: EarlystART!  It is a name that speaks to who we are, who we serve, and the arts-infused learning environment that distinguishes an EarlystART education.

Our History


Sam Mann, Founder

EarlystART (formerly United Inner City Services) has served the Kansas City, MO community 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.

Today, EarlystART has capacity to serve 124 infants, toddlers, and pre-K students as well as their families and caregivers.