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Our Programs

Chicago Links / Our Programs

The Links Incorporated – Five Program Facets

Links members are newsmakers, role models, mentors, activists and volunteers who work toward the realization of making the name “Links” not only a chain of friendship, but also a chain of purposeful service. The national organization has made its name synonymous with effective programming through Five Facets: Services to Youth, National Trends and Services, International Trends and Services, Health and Human Services and The Arts. It is through these programs that The Links, Incorporated have impacted the lives of countless men, women and children all over the world. For further in-depth information please click on the link below to our National Website.

The Links, Incorporated National Website.

The Arts

The Links support of the arts can be traced to our cultured co-founder Margaret Roselle Hawkins.  Her passion for creative expression helped inspire establishment of The Arts facet in 1964 at the 14th National Assembly.

The Chicago Illinois Chapter and Links Chapters worldwide attend events held at museum, theatres, educational institutes and corporations in order to support art programs, especially where there is a focus on artists of color.  Links are creating and supporting opportunities for educating minority youth in the arts and presenting and supporting performances by artists in a diversity of disciplines.

The goal of The Arts facet is to increase and expand art activity, and elevate our programs through arts integration and effectively create an arts renaissance within our organization and programs.

Health and Human Services

The mission of the Health and Human Services facet is to promote and facilitate programs that support the maintenance of good health and the elimination of chronic health disparities in communities of color through education, health advocacy, and optimal utilization of health resources. Community education about health risks is crucial and The Links, Incorporated can play a significant role in providing it. This new facet brings greater focus, resources, and coordination to The Links, Incorporated’s health initiatives already in existence. The facet can flourish with the expansion of partnerships with national health agencies, and more definitive structure and support for our health related signature programs.

The areas of emphasis are cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, and organ, tissue and blood donation. This includes our signature programs: HeartLinks, Linkages to Life, and Walk for Healthy Living , as well as the National Childhood Obesity Initiative, oral health, brain health initiatives, and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure national partnership. We are guided by chapter assessments of community need, Healthy People 2020 (a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiative), and the goals of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

International Trends and Services

The mission of the International Trends and Services facet is to expand the global platform for programs designed and developed to service the educational, health and cultural needs of people of African descent throughout the world. All programmatic components of the facet are delivered through service delivery methods that reach women and their families. The foremost goal of the International Trends and Services facet is to provide opportunities for tangible service in other countries.  Programs and partnerships include:

  • Linking with Haiti – Women’s Survival Kits:The Links Incorporated provides outreach to women and girls in Haiti who were affected by the devastating 2010 earthquake through the distribution of Women’s Survival Kits. This initiative provides a direct and deliverable service to the Haitian community.  With the supplies needed for personal hygiene and daily living still difficult to secure, this initiative aims to provide basic survival kits to women and girls in Haiti. Each kit assembled by members of The Links, Incorporated contains fundamental items, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soaps, and washcloths.
  • Education Across the Miles:Since 1996, The Links, Incorporated has built, refurbished and furnished educational materials to over 60 schools in South Africa, successfully making a direct and significant impact on the lives of thousands of African students and families. Today The Links, Incorporated positions itself to adopt four schools in Liberia, West Africa. Service includes in-kind donations, monetary support and curriculum development.
  • The Model UN program engages grade school and college students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as well as other institutions of higher learning, to become informed and active citizens of this changing world.
  • Links International Foreign Affairs and Business Empowerment for Youth (LIFE) Program designed to expose minority high school students to career possibilities in foreign affairs and international business.  . LIFE program alumnae are able to apply to the Howard University Summer Enrichment program if they choose to continue their studies in international affairs. Each year, nearly 400 students participate in the program.

SAFE MOTHERHOOD INITIATIVE – Maternal Waiting Home: The Links, Incorporated has been a leader in providing service to people of African descent in the United States, the Bahamas, Haiti and Africa. The Links looks to expand with emphasis on safe motherhood programs including clean and safe deliveries, essential obstetric care, and preventable death and disability among mothers, expectant mothers and newborns. With the dire need for adequate maternal/child health care in Liberia, the International Trends and Services facet is helping construct a Maternal Waiting Home in rural Bong County to provide safe obstetric care. The Links, Incorporated will also provide postnatal Mama Kits containing essential items for mothers and newborns.

National Trends and Services 

The goal of the National Trends and Services facet is to decrease disparities by reducing barriers to services through advocacy, education, and service by effectively empowering the community.  We wish to increase and sustain programs and collaborative partnerships in the Chicago area.  National Trends and Services encompass the following programs and committees with national partners and sponsors, each committed to the overall vision and mission of the facet.  These Links, Incorporated programs serve as a catalyst for change promoting individual and community empowerment.   Partnerships include:

  • Bringing awareness to the growing crisis of bullying with comprehensive youth anti-bullying program TRASH TALKING: IT’S NO JOKE!
  • The “AARP Links Academy” supports African-American women who are either preparing for life as they age or are currently dealing with the aging process.
  • Through our national sponsorship with Ally Financial, the Wallet Wise financial literacy program is aimed at helping people make better financial decisions.
  • To address the need for affordable housing, a partnership with Habitat for Humanity was established and began Link involvement with the Women Build program.
  • The Legislative Issues, Public Affairs and Disaster Relief committee successfully facilitated an issues forum on “Closing the Achievement Gap” in partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus and the Kettering Foundation.

The Women’s Issues and Economic Empowerment Committee’s focus is on the education and empowerment of women and will provide an opportunity to develop a national platform and policy papers on relevant women’s issues.

Services to Youth

The Links, Incorporated created its first program facet, Services to Youth, to equip African-American children to use their intellect and spirit of achievement to indeed walk with their fellows in leading the way. The Links, Incorporated continues to implement programs that are responsive to the academic, cultural, health, social awareness, career development, and mentoring needs of youth.  The Links, Incorporated’s Services to Youth facet is an integrated approach to preparing young people to succeed in the 21st century workforce.  The primary goals of this facet are to:

  • Promote early literacy
  • Implement local mentoring programs from kindergarten through college
  • Close the academic achievement gaps from kindergarten through college
  • Introduce and support Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) education and career readiness
  • Implement college readiness programs
  • Increase high school and college graduation rates
  • Award college scholarships and build educational endowments

Promote and support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

The Chicago (IL) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated engages in many community-based programs and initiatives under the Five Facet Targets and our Links2LifeBalance, initiative. Mental Health and Wellness is our Chapters primary focus. To that end, we partner with and have provided support to the following organizations to carry out programs which align with the Chicago (IL) Chapter focus.

  • The National Alliance of Mental Health-Chicago Branch (NAMI-Chicago)
  • Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, Medical, Dental, Psychological and Wellness Program
  • American Foundation for Suicide, (Chicago Branch)
  • More Than Sad, Talk Saves Lives and Signs Matter
  • The Boys and Girls Club, The SMART Girls Program
  • YWCA, Sexual Violence Support Services for Children

The Chicago (IL) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated has also provided programming at several signature events, aligned with our Chapter’s focus of eradicating stigma around Mental Health and increasing Mental Wellness in the African American Community.

  • NAMI-Chicago 5K Walk
  • Annual Speakers Series
  • Power and Purpose Chicago Luncheon
  • Grand Boulage Haiti Project
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