Services to Youth
The words of the great children’s advocate, Marian Wright Edelman, resonate with us today more than ever. The Links, Incorporated is committed to leading the way as champions of change, ensuring that youth are academically successful and engaged in healthy lifestyles. In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. Research shows that active, healthy children achieve greater success in school, have greater self-esteem, and become healthy adults who lead productive lives.
The Links, Incorporated created its first program facet, Services to Youth, to equip black youth to use their intellect and spirit of achievement to become successful and productive citizens. Today, The Links, Incorporated continues to implement aligned, integrated and transformational programs that are responsive to the academic, health, cultural, social awareness, career development, and mentoring needs of youth.
The Services to Youth facet uses an integrated approach to prepare young people to succeed as healthy citizens in the global workforce and to promote healthy lifestyles within families and communities.
The Services to Youth facet continues to implement three national initiatives, two signature programs and two national programs in support of our mission to enrich and enhance the lives of black youth.
The primary goals of this facet are to:
- Close the achievement gap from pre-K through college, with the intent of preparing our youth for the global workforce as healthy citizens
- Promote the integration of a health and wellness component focused on youth, families and communities in our Services to Youth programs
- Develop training modules for local pre-K through college mentoring programs, to ascertain a high level of support for youth in our communities
- Expand and support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and promote the integration of the arts (STEM to STEAM)
- Promote and support historically black colleges and universities for ensured sustainability
National Mentoring Initiative
We seek to intervene and serve children who are growing up without the guidance and support of a caring, responsible adult. Research shows that mentoring decreases the likelihood that young people will engage in harmful behaviors, while improving the chances that they will attend school regularly, improve academically, increase self-esteem and engage in healthier lifestyles.
Mentoring is a structured and trusting relationship that brings young people together with caring adults who offer guidance, motivation, support and encouragement aimed at developing the skill set necessary for a successful and productive lifestyle.
Mentoring is strategically integrated into all Services to Youth programs and initiatives. Chapter members mentor, recruit, register, and support mentors in their communities. The National Mentoring Initiative also supports the Young Achievers, Project L.E.A.D. High Expectations and Links to Success: Children Achieving Excellence programs.
Overall goals are to:
- Establish successful mentoring relationships (one-on-one, group mentoring, etc.) with youth, pre-K – 16
- Identify and recruit more local black mentors
- Stress competence and character building as core values in a mentoring relationship
- Encourage mentoring relationships to focus on closing the academic achievement gap, workforce readiness and healthy lifestyles
- Establish partnerships with local mentoring agencies to provide mentor training
National STEM Education and Career Readiness Initiative
The National STEM Education and Career Readiness Initiative was crafted out of The Links, Incorporated’s dedication to ensuring quality STEM education at all grade levels so that youth may be exposed to and prepared to study for STEM related careers.
Through the National STEM Initiative, local chapters work to:
- Establish sustainable partnerships with select STEM focused organizations and/or corporations that have national reach, demonstrated results and progressive educational programs
- Implement STEM educational programming pre-K – 16, including toolkit applications to support The Arts (STEAM) and Health and Human Services facets programming
- Facilitate mentoring opportunities with STEM professionals and academia with a goal of reducing the attrition rate of college students who pursue and graduate in STEM disciplines
- Prepare and encourage students to attend community college and/or a 4-year college for STEM related educational disciplines
- Enhance STEM related career opportunities for minority students through scholarships and internships
By preparing and encouraging students to attend colleges and universities with STEM related programs, The Links, Incorporated equips students of color with the skills to compete and excel in a global workforce that increasingly relies on individuals with STEM related proficiencies. The Links, Incorporated aims to identify and align with select STEM related organizations to prepare youth for STEM related careers.