(l-r): Pasadena-Altadena Links president Marlene Cooper and Western Area Director Constance Fitzpatrick Smith.
(l-r): Links Western Area Vice-Director Jacqueline Howard greets "Links-Up" mentoring program alumna Justine Yarber.
December 9, 2013 - The Langham Huntington Hotel shimmered in gilded tones on Sunday as the Pasadena-Altadena chapter of The Links, Inc. marked its golden anniversary with an elegant luncheon celebrating "50 Years of Leadership and Service." Local Links members, led by Chapter President Marlene Cooper, welcomed regional leaders including Links Western Area Director Constance Fitzpatrick Smith, along with luminaries from the professional, educational and philanthropic communities. Glamorous Hollywood star Vanessa Bell Calloway presided as mistress of ceremonies at the gala which spotlighted students who have benefited from the Links' scholarship, SAT preparation and mentoring programs.
According to event co-chair Diane Scott, supporting youth will be a primary focus as the Pasadena-Altadena Links march forward from the 50-year milestone. "We have touched the lives of many young students who would not otherwise have been able to go on to college," said Scott, "Now we want to increase the number of students we serve."
One such student is Justine Yarber. A freshman at the University of LaVerne, Justine says she learned the "process and significance of being a black woman in college" through the "Links-Up for Success" mentoring program at Muir High School. UCLA Medical School student Erica Renee Davenport earned her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley with the priceless aid of a Links scholarship. The young doctor-to-be felt honored to speak to the luncheon about her experiences and her goal of bringing medical care to adolescent girls in disadvantaged communities.
Summing up the Links' mission for youth, Davenport said, "The Links is a major, huge organization that is making an amazing difference in the lives of myself and many other students like me."