By Allison Davis
NABJ Black News & Views
BALTIMORE, Maryland – One of the country’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations run by Black women did more than gather at their most recent national meeting.
As part of its 43rd National Assembly in Baltimore, the Links, Incorporated, took part in a community service project late last month in collaboration with its national partners, Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures, and the children’s book publisher, Scholastic, Inc. The all-day event bringing dental health and literacy to children in the community took place on the campus of Coppin State University.
The “Smile-A-Bration” dental and wellness fair addressed oral health and early childhood literacy in keeping with The Links’ signature programs — National Oral Health Initiative and Links To Success: Children Achieving Success. The day included free dental screenings, oral health education, mobile dental van treatment referrals and book giveaways.
Links National President Kimberly Jeffries Leonard read to the children during the event.
The day was the culmination of The Links’ 7,500 Book Challenge to donate 7,500 new or gently used reading or math books to Head Start early childhood centers around the country, in the Bahamas and the United Kingdom. More than 30,000 books were donated globally by The Links chapters.
“Through our partnership with The Links, Incorporated, we have reached over 14 million youngsters,” said Dawna Fields, national director of community affairs and operations for Bright Smiles, Bright Futures at Colgate-Palmolive. “We will be expanding that partnership to include other services to children who are
“Service is the heart and foundation of The Links, Incorporated,” Leonard said.
“When we come to town collectively, our first order of business is always to
deliver measurable and meaningful community impact,”
This year’s assembly theme was, “The Celebration Continues…75 Years Shaping Our Future.” Links leaders, and members who are CEOs, policy makers, thought leaders and influencers have convened in Baltimore to not only celebrate the organization’s 75 years of service, but also look ahead at what’s next for
the more than 17,000 members.