Legacy of Service

FIRST DECADE 1984 - 1994

Since its inception, the Crescent City Chapter has been and continues to be committed to improving the quality of life for citizens in the Greater New Orleans community by

addressing social issues through leadership and service. The Crescent City Chapter’s goal is to assist minority youth in the New Orleans community to acquire knowledge and become culturally enriched in pursuit of academic excellence. Throughout 1984-1994 the Crescent City Chapter demonstrated a strong commitment to seek new and effective programming opportunities to meet the needs of the greater New Orleans community. In 1984, the Crescent City Chapter embraced the organization’s national theme of “Making History- Providing Hope”, along with the national focus of “Youth Eighties

Survival: A Family Affair”. Under the Umbrella approach, which incorporates the five program facets, the CCCL implemented the following award-winning programs/projects:

The Arts

  • Youth Opera Theatre This project identified twenty-five secondary students (grades 9-12) in New Orleans Public Schools who were capable of intensive instruction through opera

workshops. The Chapter felt that there was a need to extend and broaden experiences for talented students since this was not being provided in the public schools’ music programs. This music program was conducted during the spring and fall of 1986 and the students were presented in two public performances: May, 1986 and December 23, 1986.

  • Hand Bells for the Orthopedically Handicapped The Chapter purchased twenty-five hand bells and provided instruction for handicapped There were twenty-five members

in the Colton/Easton High School Ensemble. These students performed throughout the city.

  • Chamber Arts Series Exceptionally talented youth both college and high school students were presented in an annual chamber arts program at selected sites throughout the

Services To Youth

  • Project Lead: High Expectations! The Crescent City and New Orleans Chapter of The Links, Incorporated received a grant from the Office of Substance Abuse Prevention of

Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a six-month demonstration-research project at Carver Middle School with 60 students aged 13 to 16 years old. The overall goal of the project was to develop a field-tested, community based educational outreach program to prevent alcohol and other drug abuse, premature sexual activity, and unintended births among black youth.

National Trends & Services

  • Crescent House Project provided shelter for battered women and their children. The needs of the residents were innumerable. Crescent City provided food, clothing, care

packages and counseling, as well as membership sustainability, leadership and

governance. CCCL also sponsored an annual Easter Dinner and Easter Egg Hunt for the children.

  • Project Discovery Workshop The Crescent City Chapter was selected by the National Links, Incorporated and the Women’s Bureau of The U.S. Department of Labor to run a

pilot project prior to its national implementation. This project was designed to provide personal and educational support for minority women between the ages of 35yrs.- 50yrs via workshops to assist them in reentering the workforce and/or seeking better employment.

International Trends & Services

The Chapter focused on the needs of the African Diaspora, and implemented the following projects:

  • Library Project for Children in East/West Africa
  • School Supplies for Children in Haiti
  • Volunteer Services for International Scholars Project

SECOND DECADE
1995‐2005

During the next decade, the Crescent City Chapter continued to recruit and attract committed, resourceful and talented women into the organization. The chapter grew from its charter membership of thirty women to a total of fifty-four by the year 2000. Membership decreased slightly by the year 2005, when membership totaled 49. During this time, CCCL was fortunate to have elected the following members as President:

1995 – 1998   Dolly McKissack Simpson
1998 – 2000  Patricia Tate Bivens
2000 – 2002  Dr. Arlene Slade Barnett
2002 – 2005  Romona Baudy

In keeping with its umbrella emphasis, the Crescent City Links continued to implement and expand   upon its earlier programs which focused on the civic, educational, charitable, and cultural needs of the city. These included:

The Arts

  • Chamber Arts Series
  • Youth Opera Theatre
  • Storyteller Workshops
  • “Linking Against Violence” Youth Arts Contest

These programs placed emphasis on enriching the lives of our youth and served as a positive response to funding cuts in many school programs such as the performing and visual arts. By 1999, AMAP had also graduated its first class of boys. Ten AMAPers were admitted as college students and received

$1,000 each in scholarship aid from the Crescent City Links.

The year 1999 also was significant in that the chapter’s main fundraiser, “Unsung Heroes Luncheon”, which began in 1986, was disbanded in favor of the inaugural “Linking Under the Stars” benefit gala at the newly built Harrah’s Casino. The chapter continued its tradition by honoring two community role models and the affair raised over $10,000. During the 2001 fundraiser, CCCL paid special tribute to New Orleans’ Tuskegee Airmen for outstanding contributions to their country. Those honorees included: Felix “Zoo” James, Calvin Moret, Octave Rainey, and Haydel White.

Services To Youth

  • AMAP Scholarship Program
  • Youth Education Services Retreat
  • Liberty House Benefit
  • Youth Day at NORD
  • Police Summer Camp
  • Reception to honor Sculptor Elizabeth Catlett

National Trends and Services

  • Services to Battered Women and Abused Children
  • Health and Wellness Walk
  • Linkages to Life: Tissue and Organ Donation
  • Police Residency Education Campaign
  • Reception to Honor Black Judges

CCCL linked with the Ministers Organization, the African American Leadership Project, the Black Economic Development Council, Foi of Islam, and the NAACP on the residency issue. Members held conferences, weekly meetings with the organizations, meetings with the police department, and wrote articles to inform the public.

International Trends and Services

  • School Books to Haiti
  • Services for International Scholars
  • African Doll Program
  • Haitian Water Wells
  • Antigua Disaster Relief Fund

After Katrina, the chapter invited the other Chapters to work with us on Educational Issues. CCCL held several meetings with the other chapters which culminated in a cluster symposium to address the changing landscape of education in a post-Katrina environment with emphasis on African American youth.

Awards

The Chapter received a certificate of appreciation from the Police Foundation for its help in raising   funds and awareness for their “Crime is Toast 2004” anti-crime campaign.

THIRD DECADE
2006‐2013

On August 29, 2005, the Gulf Coast Region and the New Orleans metropolitan area were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Link Romona Baudy graciously agreed to continue

to serve as president of the Crescent City Chapter through 2007. In   the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Crescent City Chapter membership was scattered across the country. Many members relocated outside the CCCL jurisdiction and were focused on rebuilding their personal lives. The Chapter suspended operation for a period of one year (2005-2006), at which time membership dropped   to its lowest since the chapter was established.

Post Katrina, the New Orleans, Crescent City and Pontchartrain

Chapters of Links Incorporated joined forces to plan a joint service projects focused on healing and rebuilding the community. The Presidents of the three chapters agreed to work together and to establish a Steering Committee with representatives from each chapter. The efforts of the Steering Committee resulted in an umbrella program called “Linking to Rebuild”. In March 2007, a proposal was submitted to National to support the Linking to Rebuild Program a joint strategy and action agenda for the three Chapters to work together during a time of healing and recovery. This coalition became a viable force in rebuilding the community through planned projects involving the facets of Services to Youth, The Arts, National Trends (health care), and International Trends. Focusing on students in the rebuilding process was a strategic approach to enhance the long-term growth and vitality of New Orleans as a Great American City. More importantly, nearly 18 months after Hurricane Katrina, children were still hurting and deserved our full attention. Although the proposal for the cluster activity did not received national support, each chapter continued to provide services to children through individual chapter partnerships and collaboration with schools.

In 2007- 2009, Link Patricia Rudfin Brooks served as the chapter’s eight president. The Crescent City Chapter deepened its commitment to improve the quality of education for students in Orleans Parish school systems through its five program facets: Services-to-Youth, International Trends and Services, National Trends, The Arts and Health and Human Services.

One of its earlier signature programs the Africana Male Achievers Program (AMAP), whose primary purpose is to promote self-development of young black men through intense classroom instruction and enrichment seminars, focused on self-awareness, decision-making, leadership, career opportunities and college admissions. In 2004, CCCL implemented a similar Sister-to-Sister Mentor Program to meet the growing needs of our young African American girls. These programs served over 75 youths and resulted in 56 scholarships awarded and over $25,000 in funding.

In 2009 Link Patricia Reynard Hightower was elected president of the Crescent City Chapter and five new Link members were inducted. The Chapter also launched its umbrella initiative with the implementation of the International Cultural Awareness Program (ICAP). The goal of this initiative was to expose students of all socioeconomic backgrounds to various cultural experiences that would equip them with the awareness to compete in a

global environment. CCCL have partnered with the Henry Schaumberg Elementary and Lake Forest Elementary Charter schools, and most recently, the Recovery School District and Warren Easton Charter High School. Today, over 880 students in grades 2nd through12th have embarked upon an international journey of fun, education, and discovery to 5 continents and 15 counties such as South America, Brazil, Asia, Vietnam, Africa, Kenya, and Europe, France. With passports in hand, this virtual travel experience has captured their imagination and left them anticipating next year’s travels.

Together, the Chapter has contributed over 20,000 documented hours of community service over the past five years. Many of those hours have been spent helping and assisting the youth in our public schools.

In June of 2012, the Crescent City Chapter’s success in serving the city’s youth through its program service delivery model was recognized at the 35th National Convention. The Chapter was awarded a $20,000 sub-grant from The Links Foundation, Incorporated from Chevron in support of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education. The grant emphasizes NASA robotic disciplines, engineering, and career readiness. The Crescent City Chapter chose to partner with Dillard University in conjunction with its 8th Grade Emerging Leaders Program and most recently Lake Area New Tech Early College High School to implement this program during the next two years. The Program, themed “STEM – ULATING Left Brain and Right Brain.” will serve 75-100 middle and high school students.

In 2012- 2013 CCCL added STEM to the International Cultural Awareness Program (ICAP), to encourage 5th – 12th grade students in New Orleans area schools to consider study in STEM related careers. In addition, students were exposed to music, food, and culture and learn about scientific and technological innovations at the International Space Station (ISS) where 16 countries collaborate to live and work together in space.

 

2011-2013

Crescent City Links Childhood City Chapter Obesity Initiative

In 2011 the Crescent City Links once again embraced the organization’s national theme of Childhood Obesity Prevention (COP). Along with our sister chapters, Pontchartrain and New Orleans, CCCL secured partial funding from the Southern Area to implement COP and educate public school students on childhood obesity prevention. During 2011, CCCL offered the Childhood Obesity Prevention curricula to 3rd graders at Henry C. Schaumburg Elementary. Thirty (30) students participated in and learned about the importance of eating healthy and exercising. Students visited a farmers’ market and experienced shopping for healthy groceries. Crescent City, along with others was recognized, for our diligent work.

During 2012, CCCL applied for and received a $2,500 grant from The Links, Incorporated to continue its childhood obesity initiative. CCCL again worked with 3rd graders at Henry C. Schaumburg to deliver the “Can You Imagine Me?” curriculum. Fourth graders, who had the curriculum exposure the prior year, served as fitness coaches for structured recess and eighth graders served as presenters. The students visited the grocery store; did some grocery shopping and reported back on their meal

experiences. Additionally, in 2012, the Crescent City Links held a Fitness Day for 100 students from Schaumburg. Ten activity and nutrition stations kept the students moving along. Goody bags were given to all participating students.

In 2013 Crescent City held two fitness days at a local university – Loyola University

– in the university recreation and sports facility. Two hundred students were invited to participate. They enjoyed the exercises and being on the college campus, which was a first for many of them.

In addition to working directly with the parents and students, CCCL participated in formulating what is now the city’s “Fit NOLA” agenda to help spread the word about the dangers of childhood obesity.

The Arts

The goals of The Arts facet are to increase and expand art activity and elevate CCCL programs through arts integration and to create an arts renaissance as part of the chapter’s programmatic efforts. The CCCL local initiatives include:

  • – “Doll Making” workshop with Students at Schaumburg Elementary
  • – National Poster Project- Project Walking FETE: Make Health a Habit
  • – Production of A Christmas Carol “Scrooge” (Schaumburg Elementary School)
  • – Buffalo Soldiers Exhibit (African American Museum)

Services To Youth

The Crescent City Chapter continues to implement programs that are responsive to the academic, cultural, health, social awareness, career development, and mentoring needs of youth. The Services to Youth facet is an integrated approach to preparing young people to succeed in the 21st century workforce. The CCCL local initiatives include:

  • – Building a KABOOM Playground at Schaumburg Elementary School
  • – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Initiative
  • – Africana Male Achievers Program and Sister to Sister Scholarship Program

National Trends & Services

The Crescent City Chapter’s goals include increasing the number of sustainable and measurable programs; increasing collaborative partnerships; and extending our existing initiatives to include communities identified as having the greatest need. The CCCL local initiatives include:

  • – Red Umbrella Walk (HIV/AIDS education and awareness)
  • – Linkage to Life: Organ, Tissue and Marrow Donation awareness Program
  • – Annual Links Day at the Capital

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. The CCCL local initiatives include:

  • – International Cultural Awareness Program (ICAP)
  • – Safe Motherhood – Maama Kit Project (maternal/child health in Uganda)
  • – Haiti (Donated women’s survival kits)

Health and Human Services

The Crescent City Chapter established the Health and Human Services facet in response to the chronic health disparities that persist in our communities and often result in decreased life expectancy of African- Americans. The CCCL local initiatives include:

  • – American Heart Association
  • – Links on the Move – Health Fair and Field Day & Childhood Obesity Program
  • – Walks for Healthy Living (Susan Komen Walk for the Cure)

 

Awards

  • – Best Practices in Programming, National Links Conference, 2011
  • – Children’s Defense Fund, 2012 “Champions of Children” Award
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“Linked In Friendship, Connected In Service”