Linked in Friendship, Connected in Service
The members of the San Fernando Valley (CA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated contribute more than 2,000 documented hours of community service annually, thereby strengthening the community and enhancing the nation.
The San Fernando Valley (CA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated has a long tradition of promoting and engaging in educational, civic and inter-cultural activities that enrich the lives of members of the black community at large. The cornerstone of our service is our five programming facets — Services to Youth, The Arts, National Trends and Services, International Trends and Services, and Health and Human Services. Through our facets, we implement programs and initiatives through strategies such as public information and education, economic development, and public policy campaigns that address the most critical needs of undeserved communities. Annually, we impact the lives of tens of thousands of people at home and abroad.
In 2009, the chapter launched an Umbrella Program - Project S.E.L.F.: Cultivating Leadership through Service by Building Self-Esteem, Enrichment and Life Skills for the Future. The program mission of this major accomplishment is to provide opportunities for students of African descent to enhance academic skills, develop self-expression, self-confidence and self-discipline through community based civic, social and cultural activities. The targeted population is ninth through twelfth grade students. Activities are planned through the entire year integrating the foci of each facet while providing students with service-learning credits. The program has included oral and visual presentation of career options, mentoring activities, the preparation and delivery of meals to senior, citizens, museum trips, art and health lectures, and making pillows for cardiac patients in local hospitals. Through its partnership with other local agencies and organizations, the chapter has incorporated a plethora of activities into the umbrella program that focus on science, technology engineering and mathematics, while also including art as it relates to these individual fields.
As a result of the effective implementation of this program, the chapter has been recognized with an AT&T grant and won third place for Best Practices in the Umbrella Program category at the Western Area Conference in 2016. The award itself is not unusual; however, the demographic served in the umbrella program is unusual in relation to that serviced by other chapters. Our program serves high school students many of whom are in foster care. They have special needs having been identified as emotionally disturbed, with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or having a specific learning disability. All have been victims of some type of abuse either sexual, physical, and/or emotional and some have been victims of human sex trafficking. This willingness to serve a population that is undeserved makes this chapter unique.
Services to Youth
Gail Hardy, Chair
The Services to Youth facet of the San Fernando Valley (CA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated are committed to leading the way as a champion of change, ensuring that youth are academically successful and engaged in healthy lifestyles by implementing transformational programs that use an integrated approach and are responsive to the academic, health, cultural, social awareness, career development, and mentoring needs of youth.
Lorna Kyles, Chair
The San Fernando Valley (CA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated has partnered with symphonies, art galleries, and local artists to support art programs, especially where there is a focus on artists of color. This allows us to create and promote opportunities for educating minority youth in the arts and presenting and supporting performances by youth and accomplished professional artists in a diversity of disciplines.
National Trends and Services
Roxanne Smith, Chair
The National Trends and Services facet serves as a catalyst for change, promoting individual and community empowerment and is tasked with eliminating disparities by reducing barriers to resources through advocacy, education, and service. The facet’s goals include increasing the number of sustainable and measurable programs; increasing collaborative partnerships; and extending our existing initiatives to include communities identified as having the greatest need.
International Trends and Services
Jerri Boyles, Chair
The International Trends and Services facet was formed in 1970 and provides services and delivers transformational programs to people of African ancestry globally so that they may have a better quality of life. Programs are designed and developed to service educational, health and cultural needs and to help people emerge from poverty. A primary objective of our international work is to enrich the lives of women and their families. Our “boots on the ground” approach provides for more personalized methods for assisting and improving the lives of women and children.
Health and Human Services
Tracey Garnett, Chair
The San Fernando Valley (CA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated promotes and facilitates programs that support the maintenance of good health and the elimination of chronic health disparities in communities of color through its programs on heart disease, breast cancer awareness, water sanitation, and mental health. Partnerships with a renowned African American cardiologist, Los Angeles Department of Public Works, and the California Black Health Project complement the Chapter’s program initiatives.