The Links Celebrate 50 Years of Service, Chart a Course for the Future

A Links scholarship was instrumental to Erica Renee Davenport’s attending UC BerkeleyJacqueline Howard with Justine YarberThe Leadership of Links

Story and Photograph by CAMERON TURNER

8:47 am | December 9, 2013

The Pasadena-Altadena chapter of The Links, Inc. celebrated a half-century of leadership and service with a glittering golden anniversary gala held on Sunday, December 8 at the historic Langham Huntington Hotel.  The elegant fête featured greetings from Western Area Links officers, salutes from local leaders in business and public service and testimonials by university students who were supported through the Links’ successful high school programs. Celebrated film and television star Vanessa Bell Calloway served as mistress of ceremonies for the affair.

Event co-chair and Western Area Vice-Director Jacqueline Howard explained that, in celebrating their legacy, the Links are also charting a course for the future.

“50 years ago when the Links started in Pasadena with just 14 ladies they saw a vision for the community and we’ve just taken it to the next level, especially with the youth. If we can make a difference there I really think we can affect the future,” Howard said.

The Pasadena-Altadena Links positively impact the lives of area young people through a variety of initiatives including SAT preparation, scholarships and Links-Up for Success, a four-year mentoring program at John Muir High School.

Justine Yarber graduated from Muir in June 2013, and she credits the Links with preparing her for success at the University of LaVerne where she majors in psychology with a biology minor.  “Through the Links, I learned the college process and what it means to be a black woman in college,” said Yarber who attended the celebration with her Links mentor.

A Links scholarship was instrumental to Erica Renee Davenport’s attending UC Berkeley after graduating from Marshall High School in 2002.  Currently in the Charles Drew program at the UCLA School of Medicine, Davenport highlighted the Links’ celebration with a speech outlining her plan to practice medicine in underserved minority and immigrant communities.

“A lot of times what holds students of color back is the financial support,” Davenport said before the event. “The Links provide that as well as the inspiration and guidance that is critical to young people realizing that they can succeed in school and go on to college as well.”

Students like Justine Yarber and Erica Davenport embody the goals of the Pasadena-Altadena Links, according to gala co-chair Diane Scott who stated, “We want make sure that we have a huge impact on our community, so that no student that wishes to go to college that can benefit from our services is left out.”