South­ern Mary­land ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tion cel­e­brates ‘emer­ald’ an­niver­sary

Lo­cal Links chapter rec­og­nized for 35 years of com­mu­nity work

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE AN­FEN­SON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com

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.”

STAFF PHOTO BY JAMIE AN­FEN­SON-COMEAU

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.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY JAMIE AN­FEN­SON-COMEAU

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.

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