Services to Youth

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.

“The question is not whether we can afford to invest in every child; it is whether we can afford not to.” Marian Wright Edelman

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 a champion of change, ensuring that youth are academically successful and engaged in healthy lifestyles. We implement 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. In support of The Links’ 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
  • 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
  • Promote and support historically black colleges and universities for ensured sustainability

The Links STEMReady signature program was created 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 for STEM related careers. 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.

Through Links STEMReady, Links 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 four-year college for STEM related educational disciplines
  • Enhance STEM related career opportunities for minority students through scholarships and internships
Pre-K-3rd Grade ~ “An Early Literacy Program” This signature program is based on the belief that reading is the foundation enabling all children to succeed and that effective teaching of reading must begin at the earliest age with effective literacy practices. The 30 Million Word Gap cites that during the early years of cognitive development, many impoverished children generally hear 30 million fewer words by age three than their privileged peers. With effective intervention, the literacy gap can be closed, and children can then move forward and master other subjects and grade level skills.

The goal of Links to Success: Children Achieving Excellence is to mentor and assist in closing the achievement gap for pre-K-3rd grade minority students with an emphasis on literacy and healthy lifestyles.

Additional goals of Links to Success are to:

  • Partner with national organizations to promote early childhood literacy
  • Emphasize closing the elementary achievement gap
  • Teach critical thinking skills
  • Introduce STEM education and career readiness programs
  • Expand education and career awareness
The Links, Incorporated seeks 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 strategically integrated into all Services to Youth programs and initiatives. Links members mentor, recruit, register, and support mentors in their communities. The National Mentoring Initiative also supports the Young Achievers and Links to Success: Children Achieving Excellence programs.

The goals of this initiative 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
The goal of the National HBCU Initiative is to implement and increase the retention and graduation rates of students attending HBCUs. While emphasizing the relevance of HBCUs’ past, present and future, this initiative strives tocreate synergy and complement program initiatives already underway at schools. The Links, Incorporated supports HBCUs and encourages chapters to:

  • Partner with other national organizations
  • Host HBCU college fairs and other events
  • Mentor and recruit students to attend and graduated from HBCUs
  • Promote and encourage a connection with an HBCU and its STEM programs
  • Identify opportunities to support faculty research and/or professional development
  • Contribute to the sustainability of HBCU institutions

9th – 12th Grade ~ “Developing the Whole Child” The Young Achievers program addresses issues and challenges facing high school aged black youth. Through a series of workshops and interactive programs, Young Achievers supports a successful completion of middle school, a seamless transition to high school, successful entry to college and into chosen careers.

  • Implement mentoring programs for youth, geared to either males or females
  • Close the high school academic achievement gap
  • Implement science, technology, engineering, and mathematics related career awareness programs
  • Introduce college readiness programs
  • Promote historically black colleges and universities as viable options
  • Introduce financial literacy programs
  • Award college scholarships

For more information about the Services to Youth facet, please contact