"Maximizing Our Impact Through Leadership, Service and Friendship"

Our Community Programs

HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

The goal 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 chapters of The Links, Inc. play a significant role in providing those resources. During the 2017-2018 Program year, The Columbia (SC) Chapter, continued their six-year engagement with the Family Forum. Links members facilitated the delivery of educational sessions for the community, which addressed topics such as navigating insurance enrollment, acute and chronic disease prevention, sexual trauma, harassment, and human trafficking to name a few.

The Columbia (SC) Chapter also supported childhood obesity prevention by providing equipment and infrastructure to promote physical activity in schools, promoted awareness of cardiovascular disease in women, and oral health initiatives in the community. The Columbia (SC) Chapter will continue these existing activities this upcoming program year with priority on Women’s health issues to include prevention of sexual abuse and sex trafficking and HIV and hepatitis C prevention in all at-risk populations.

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 Columbia (SC) Chapter follows the goals set by National to implement aligned, integrated and transformational programs that are responsive to the academic, health, cultural, social awareness, career development, and mentoring needs of youth. As such, the Columbia (SC) Chapter has initiated several mentor programs and projects in the past biennium. The Chapter has ongoing programming relationships with the Department of Social Services (DSS), the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), and W.A. Perry Middle School.

The Columbia (SC) Chapter established the Girls Educated and Motivated to Succeed (GEMS) program as well as Girl Scout Troop #1962 at W.A. Perry Middle School. Through these programs, the Columbia (SC) Chapter helped young girls become certified in babysitting and CPR and sponsored educational activities to promote interest in math and science among young girls. The Columbia (SC) Chapter also awards up to three scholarships per year to qualifying college applicants through its LinksScholars program. You can download a LinksScholars Program application at https://www.yourfoundation.org/students/scholarship-application-information

THE ARTS

The Columbia (SC) Chapter is creating and supporting opportunities for educating minority youth in the arts. The Chapter has partnered with Burton Pack Elementary School, which is a Title I elementary school in Richland School District One. The Chapter’s goal is to expose Burton-Pack students to art opportunities that they otherwise would not experience. In recent years, the Columbia (SC) Chapter has sponsored 40+ students to attend Columbia City Conservatory’s presentation of “The Two Clara’s” at the Harbison Community Theater. Additionally, the Columbia (SC) Chapter awarded scholarships to several students from Burton-Pack to return to the Conservatory to take master dance classes with professional choreographers. The Columbia (SC) Chapter also collects several hundred books each year to be distributed to Burton Pack teachers and students. The distribution is timed to provide reading materials during school breaks to facilitate interest in learning throughout the year.

LEGISLATIVE LINKAGE

legislative

Links Day at the Capitol is an advocacy project in which all South Carolina Links Chapters participate through funding and attendance. Annually, on one day during the spring legislative session, South Carolina Links members visit the State Capitol and hold a forum on issues of critical importance to our organization. Links Day at the Capitol presents a unique opportunity for members to bring to the attention of state public officials the legislative and public policy issues of critical importance to our organization, such as heart disease, childhood obesity, bullying, and human trafficking to name a few.

UMBRELLA PROJECT

A core belief of the Links organization is that engaging in regular physical activity has many benefits, including helping to improve a child’s academic performance and overall wellness. In 2014, the Columbia (SC) Chapter of The Links, Inc. “adopted” Burton-Pack Elementary School. As an initiative of the Columbia (SC) Chapter, the members developed an interactive exercise fitness trail on Burton-Pack Elementary School’s campus.  In recent years, Burton-Pack has expanded its physical fitness program, improved the number of students being able to pass the physical fitness standards, and implemented programs to provide healthy foods and snacks during the school day. The Columbia (SC) Chapter moved to provide a sustainable way to provide more physical activity for students and families by involving many in the planning and development of the trail. The more than two-year project included excavation and clearing the path, landscaping, installing fitness equipment, outdoor seating, instructional signage and healthy messaging banners and tree planting. This endeavor has involved several community partners such as The Belvedere Community Association; AOS Construction; Contract Construction; Brownstone Construction; Orion Construction; Burton Pack Elementary Parent Teachers Organization; Central Carolina Community Foundation; City of Columbia, Office of the Mayor -City of Columbia; City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department; Columbia Green; Tony and Sheila DiCioccio; Sheila B. Jones, MD; Palmetto Pride Richland School District One Facilities Services; and  Richland School District One- Maintenance Services.