HISTORY OF MENTORING PROGRAM “LINKS TO OUR FUTURE”
The Alexandria Chapter of The Links, Incorporated initiated a Mentoring Program “Links to Our Future" during the Fall of 2007 at Arthur F. Smith Middle Magnet School in Alexandria, Louisiana. Mentees (Rosebuds) are a select group of young girls enrolled in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. The mentees are selected by the female assistant principal who serves as a liaison between the Chapter and the school. Over the past eight years, more than 280 Rosebuds have participated in the Mentoring Program. Approximately, 85 percent of the Rosebuds that enter the program in 6th grade remain through their graduation from 8th grade.
The Mentoring Program consist of two components: a monthly Motivational Speakers Series and since January, 2013 a STE(A)M component. Once a week from September through April of the academic year a Motivational Speaker speaks to the mentees on topics such as Self Esteem, Anger Management, Nutrition, Childhood Obesity, Black History, Women’s History, Bullying-“Talking Trash Ain’t No Joke”, and Life Skills. In addition to mentoring, the mentees are provided experiences under the auspices of other facets such as: National Trends and Services (local volunteerism, Black History, and Women’s History), The arts (attendance at cultural events in the City of Alexandria), International Trends and Services (The Haitian Project), and Health and Human Services (childhood obesity and nutrition).
In August, 2015, a partnership was established between the Chapter and African-American female engineers at Proctor and Gamble. This partnership will involve a continuation of Saturday STE(A)M Workshops. The first was held on Saturday, October 31, 2015 in the form of a Mini-Career Fair on Technical Careers. During the summer of 2016, a one-week STE(A)M Academy will be planned for the mentees with the Proctor and Gamble partners serving as facilitators.
The Chapter attempts to continue a follow-up on former mentees following their graduation from high school. Data from the first high school graduation of former mentees (Rosebuds) (2014) indicate that 72 percent of them are currently serving in a branch of the military or enrolled at one of the following colleges/universities: Louisiana State University at Alexandria, Northwestern State University, and Southern University (Baton Rouge, Louisiana).