The Madison Street headquarters of Circle Family Heath Care is where CEO Andre Hines runs the six-site health care organization of about 120 employees. For Hines, it’s all about serving the community, a belief she’s had since childhood.

“I have a heart to serve,” said the leader of the nonprofit Chicago network that provides a full range of medical and behavioral services to more than 60,000 patients a year. “The work that I do, in my opinion, is a mission. It’s not just another job. My heart is to serve where the needs are the greatest.”

Hines credits her mother for instilling in her the desire to serve. Her mom, an ordained minister, moved her family to Chicago from Gulfport, Miss. in the 1970s. Hines was working as a receptionist in a health care facility while struggling as a single parent earning a minimum-wage salary. That’s when it dawned on her that she could be “counting pennies” the rest of her life. That realization motivated her to go to college.

She and her young son lived on grits in the years when she started college.

“In the months when we had extra money, we’d have butter with our grits,” she recalled. “After we got through those years, I couldn’t eat grits for a long time.”

After receiving a bachelor of arts in public administration from Roosevelt University-followed by an internship, a master’s degree, and two post-graduate fellowships-Hines received a doctorate from Central Michigan University last year.

Now Hines leads Circle Family, which has three community health centers: one on 4909 W. Division St. near Cicero, one in Rock Church at the corner of Parkside and Central and one in Austin High School. There is also a behavioral health facility in Humboldt Park and a mental health residential facility in Albany Park.

Hines is especially proud of Circle Family’s mobile health vehicle, staffed by a physician, counselors and case managers who bring the network’s services to 22 communities. Many of the stops are at homeless shelters.

What attracted her to Circle Family, headquartered at 5002 W. Madison, was that it not only served those with the greatest needs, but also was unashamedly Christian-in both its vision and practice.

“The mission of [Circle Family] is in line with who I am,” she said. “We begin our weekly staff meetings with devotions. I wanted to work at a place where we can feel comfortable praying.”

Hines resides in Forest Park, a western suburb of Chicago. She attends Living Word Christian Center because she feels that Bill Winston, the church’s pastor, applies the gospel to everyday life.

“I always knew that when ‘I grow up,’ I want to live in Forest Park,” she said with a smile.

Hines has some clear ideas on health care reform and those who resist it. She recently wrote in Circle Family’s latest newsletter: “We live in a system designed to separate us into the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’ I believe God is using the government to provide avenues to greater health care for everyone and particularly the poor.”