By Special to the Daily World
NEW YORK — Anna Maria Harris, president of The Metro-Manhattan Chapter of The Links Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to substantially impacting the lives of children and families in Greater Harlem, announced that the chapter’s Young Achievers program will be promoted and implemented nationally.
Initiated 12 years ago by Barbara Martin of New Rochelle, N.Y., as part of the Metro-Manhattan Chapter’s community outreach and educational focus, the Young Achievers program provides mentorship and life skills workshops for young African- American men in high school and college. The goal of this program is to assist these young men in graduating from high school and college. Through Young Achievers, Metro-Manhattan Links has been responsible for more than 300 men going to college. This year there is a record 55 young men in the program.
The national campaign will help replicate the Harlem-based model in other parts of the country. In her new role, Martin will tour the country, speaking at regional meetings and providing guidance and resources to help chapters implement the Young Achievers program. As chairman of the Young Achievers Program, Martin and the National Service to Youth Committee will work closely with local chapters implementing the program, securing community partners and involving parents.
“The Links understand the seriousness of the issue at stake for their community,” said Martin. “Statistics, for young African American men, show a low percentage of graduates from high school and college and an ever increasing percentage of those who are incarcerated. The Links are responding to the very real need to help our young men stay focused on getting a good education.”
Metro-Manhattan Links’ Young Achievers model is a partnership with the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, which develops leaders, promotes brotherhood and academic excellence, while providing service and advocacy. Together these two groups create a unique and complementary team of role models. This includes: a professional woman mentor on one side, and a professional man on the other.
Young Achievers speak regularly with their Links and Alpha mentors, receive resources for college preparation, such as college essay writing workshops, and participate in community volunteer activities. Each Young Achiever who graduates from high school receives a laptop and a small scholarship that helps pay for books.
Chris Gooding, a freshman at Morehouse College said, “Young Achievers changed my life by introducing me to inspiring mentors who encouraged me to attend college by explaining to me all the options a good education could provide me.”