Services to Youth

“The world around us really belongs to youth, for youth will take over its future management. Our children must never lose their zeal for building a better world. They must not be discouraged from aspiring toward greatness, for they are to be the leaders of tomorrow.”

–Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune’s “My Last Will and Testament” still serves today as a clarion call to train youth to become informed, full participants in the social and economic forces that will shape the future. The Links, Incorporated created its first program facet, Services to Youth, to equip African-American children to use their intellect and spirit of achievement to indeed walk with their fellows in leading the way.

The primary goals of this facet are to:

  • Promote early literacy
  • Implement local mentoring programs from kindergarten through college
  • Close the academic achievement gaps from kindergarten through college
  • Expand and support Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) education and career readiness
  • Implement college readiness programs
  • Award college scholarships and build educational endowments
  • Promote and support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

The Services to Youth facet is currently presenting five national initiatives with signature programming in support of our mission to enrich the lives of, and advocate for the betterment of, African-American youth:

  • National Mentoring Initiative
  • Young Achievers
  • Links to Success: Children Achieving Excellence Signature Program
  • National STEM Education and Career Readiness Initiative
  • National HBCU Initiative

National HBCU Initiative

The goal of the National HBCU Initiative is to implement and increase the retention and graduation rates of students attending HBCUs. While emphasizing the relevance of HBCUs’ past, present and future, this initiative strives to create synergy and complement program initiatives already underway at schools. Harbor Lites has actively partnered with Waukegan Township to sponsor the Artis Yancey HBCU college tour since it commenced in 2013. The legacy of Artis Yancey represents a dedication to the City of Waukegan and Community; especially the youth. He passionately believed in the power of higher education and providing high school students with the opportunity of the onsite experience of touring Historically Black Colleges and Universities within the United States.

Each year the Artis Yancey Historically Black College and University tour takes approx. 25 – 40 students on a 7-10 day trip to visit Historical Black Colleges & Universities. The college tour was posthumously renamed for Mr. Yancey in 2015. This HBCU Tour Experience consists of a bus trip taken during spring break. Students range from the 9th through 12th grades.While on tour, students will be immersed in campus life, exposed to culture and history first hand. More importantly, students will have the educational advantage of moving forward from high school to institutions of higher learning. An additional benefit is the monthly informational sessions which provide college-prep workshops for those students who decide to become participants in the tour.