The Links, Incorporated supports transformative programming in the following five facet areas: Services to Youth, the Arts, Health and Human Services, National Trends and Services, and International Trends and Services. The Ann Arbor Chapter serves Washtenaw County with signature programs, often in partnership with like-minded community-based organizations.
Services to Youth
The Services to Youth facet is an integrated approach to preparing young people to succeed in the 21st century global workforce. Programs center on early literacy, college readiness, promoting the success of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and promoting career readiness in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields among African Americans youth.
- Literacy support includes reading and education initiatives for elementary students provided in partnership with the Family Learning Institute, Holmes Elementary School and Parkridge Community Center.
- College readiness initiatives include sponsorship of students to attend the HBCU College Tour provided by the Ann Arbor Branch of the NAACP and contribution to the Juneteenth Scholarship for college bound students administered by the Community For All organization.
- Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day event introduces various careers to 30-50 students. In partnership with the graduate chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc., the Ann Arbor Chapter of the Links, Inc. sponsors a career education panel discussion. Careers featured include the arts, business, engineering, health care, journalism and law.
Through the Arts Facet, Links are creating and supporting opportunities for educating minority youth in the arts and presenting and supporting performances by youth and accomplished professional artists in a diversity of artistic disciplines.
- The National Poster Art Competition runs biennially from October through June, commencing in uneven years. The first National Poster Art Competition was created in 1995 in conjunction with The Links, Incorporated’s National Walk-a-Thon. Over the years, students have produced posters depicting themes centered on healthy lifestyle choices, the benefits of walking, and making healthy choices. The 2015-2016 theme, Healthy, Energetic, Active Lifestyles Matter-Make Health a Habit stressed building a holistic approach toward healthy lifestyles, and making sure our youth realize that a whole person’s life matters and is affected through the choices they make. The Ann Arbor Chapter has participated each year, and sponsored an Ann Arbor student’s poster at the national competition in 2013-2014.
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.
- To focus on education, advocacy and health disparities in African American communities, the State of Black Health Series was launched to raise awareness and offer access to national experts on a variety of timely topics.
- 03.28.21 COVID and the Black Community
- 04.17.21: Emotional Wellness in the Black Community (in partnership with National Trends and Services)
- 11.07.21: COVID and Kids
- The Ann Arbor Chapter of the Links, Inc. has sponsored Donated Dental Day of Care events in partnership with the University of Michigan School of Dentistry to provide free oral care to community members at Hope Clinic of Ypsilanti and the University of Michigan Community Dental Center in Ann Arbor.
- Hats and High Tea for Breast Cancer Awareness is an annual collaboration with University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Susan G. Komen Foundation, and Key Bank in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness month that started in 2010. In a tea party format, African American women are encouraged to become more aware about breast cancer management, and participate in clinical trials research. Our efforts have demonstrated that tea parties are a fun, intimate way for women to connect with friends and learn about breast cancer and advocacy. The program features clinicians and researchers from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, survivor testimonials, and a fashion show. By-products of the tea include increased awareness of current guidelines for mammography screening, opportunities to support research, and tools to determine potential genetic health risks. Between 150-200 people attend each year.
National Trends and Services
The vision of the National Trends and Services facet is to eliminate disparities by reducing barriers to services through advocacy, education, and service.
- Summer Reading Program provides reading opportunities for 1 – 3 grade students during the summer to keep them engaged in reading and to maintain reading proficiency, improve literacy by learning at least 15 new words, and expose students to at least five developmentally appropriate books that provide a positive reflection on the African American experience. The Ann Arbor Chapter collaborated with the Ann Arbor District Library, Ypsilanti District Library, Peace Community Center, Parkridge Community Center, and Hikone Community Center to develop a reading list. Link members visited the community centers and read to the students once a week during the summer. Students who completed the reading list received a certificate of completion and a free book of their choice from the district libraries. In addition, the Ann Arbor Chapter donated a collection of books to the community center that had the largest number of students to complete the program. Between 80 -100 students participate each year.
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.