Southern Maryland service organization celebrates ‘emerald’ anniversary
Local Links chapter recognized for 35 years of community work
The Southern Maryland Chain Chapter of The Links, a community service organization, celebrated its 35th anniversary Saturday evening at the Greater Waldorf Jaycees Community Center with a visit from the organization’s national vice president.
The Links Inc. is a national African-American women’s nonprofit organization with approximately 14,000 members in 283 chapters across 41
states, dedicated to community service towards youth, the arts, health and human services and other areas, according to its website.
“We are a professional women’s organization founded in 1946,” said Southern Maryland Chapter president Jehnell Linkins. “I am humbled to serve, and lead this group of dynamic women. We do a lot of work behind the scenes.”
In the past year, Linkins said the Southern Maryland chapter has held a toiletry drive for the Department of Social Services, a health walk, female veterans outreach and educational outreach.
Tamicka Hart, immediate past president of the Southern Maryland chapter, said the organization has raised awareness and funds for malnourished children in Africa; provided books, meals and supplies to area shelters; hosted bone marrow and voter registration drives; and co-hosted Black History Month programs, college fairs and walk-athons, as well as provided more than $100,000 in annual college scholarships to deserving students in Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties.
The Southern Maryland Chain Chapter was chartered in May 1982 by 27 women, several of whom attended its “Emerald Anniversary” celebration Saturday.
Kimberly Jeffries-Leonard, national vice president of The Links Inc., told attendees that 35 years is a huge milestone, but there is more work to do.
“On the 35th anniversary of your chapter, you really can’t rest on your laurels,” Jeffries-Leonard said. “The actions of high people in high places can devastate our community, so just as there was a need 35 years ago, the need is real, the need is plain, and the need is now.”
Jeffries-Leonard urged members to continue to work together in fellowship.
“We know that you will continue to shine like emeralds in the community, always linked in your friendship,” Jeffries-Leonard said.
Speaker Donna Edwards, former Maryland District 4 representative to the U.S. House of Representatives, commended the group for its dedication to helping others.
“I think that there is nothing more powerful than figuring out a way to serve your community,” Edwards said. “Right now, there are an awful lot of people who are so busy serving themselves, that they haven’t thought to look next door, to their neighbor, or down the street to figure out that there is somebody else in need.”
Del. Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore), Speaker Pro Tem of the Maryland House of Delegates, urged the membership of The Links to continue to be active and speak out for the benefit of their community.
“You are a powerful group,” Jones said. “Imagine if you put all that African American woman power, in terms of issues of concern, such as education, health, economic development, you name it … have your say in those areas, because you can and do make a difference.”
Kimberly Jeffries-Leonard, national vice president of The Links Inc. service organization, speaks to the Southern Maryland chapter during its 35th anniversary celebration Saturday evening.
Above left, Southern Maryland Chain Chapter of The Links members Del. Edith Patterson, left, chairwoman of the 35th anniversary committee, and Jehnell Linkins, chapter president, present an award to Kimberly Jeffries-Leonard, national vice president of The Links Inc. Above right, members Del. Edith Patterson, left, chairwoman of the 35th anniversary committee, and Jehnell Linkins, right, chapter president, present an award to Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne Jones, center, during the local chapter’s 35th anniversary celebration.