Los Angeles Chapter Umbrella Project

The Umbrella Project of the Los Angeles Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, is the annual Debutante Cotillion which encompasses each of the five facets. The Cotillion embraces the Services to Youth facet as a vehicle to provide a transition for young women to grow in grace as well as a fundraiser to support vital community needs. Cotillionettes participate in a variety of enriching activities. First and foremost, each Cotillionette is required to donate a minimum of 75 hours of volunteer service to a community service agency. The Cotillionettes also participate in numerous enrichment activities that emphasize personal development and mastery. Besides the Cotillion itself, all activities planned for the Cotillionettes introduce the young ladies to meaningful service to the community under the umbrella of the four facets of The Links and creates a sense of “Commitment to the Community” in the heart of each Cotillionette.

A summary of the ways in which the five facets are addressed through the Umbrella Project, the annual Debutante Cotillion, follows:

Umbrella Project

The Los Angeles Links place great value on achievements, commitment and responsibility; therefore, the events scheduled for the Cotillionettes are not only of a social nature but include volunteer, educational and cultural activities. Each Cotillionette performs a minimum of 75 hours of volunteer service to a community service agency. The Services to Youth Committee schedules a variety of workshops which include CPR training, etiquette, cultural events, self esteem, yoga/meditation, public speaking, college preparation, financial literacy and entrepreneurship, and legal awareness for teens and young adults.
Cotillionettes participate in a variety of cultural events that provide them with information and exposure to the broad spectrum of visual and performing arts. In previous years, Arts activities have included visits to exhibits at the California African American Museum, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, George Bizet’s opera, Carmen, George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” and a variety of other live performances. In addition, Arts activities have introduced the Cotillionettes to renowned artists such as John Outterbridge, artist and curator of the Watts Towers and to unique collections including the private collection of Dr. Joy Simmons.
Cotillionettes participate in an annual College Application and Scholarship Information Workshop. The session includes a professional women’s career panel. Additionally, Cotillionettes participate in a Entrepreneurial Workshop which focuses on personal financial information and business concepts. Cotillionettes also participate in a Self-Esteem Workshops, Creative Writing and Legal Savvy Workshop and sessions that create awareness of careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Cotillionettes participate in A “Global Get-Down,” an intercultural workshop focusing on the significance, values, similarities and differences of world cultures through the medium of dance. The event focuses on the influence of African and African American dance throughout the world. In past years, debutantes have learned about the cultures and dances that have impacted the countries of Africa, Europe, South America, Central America, China, India and the Caribbean Island.

The “Global Get-Down” is a program designed to bring together youth from various community organizations to learn about the customs of different cultures through dance. Participants learn the history of a selected foreign country and receive an informational folder. In previous years, some of the organizations that have participated are: the YWCA, Job Corp, LA Debutantes, Crenshaw High School Student, Hurricane Katrina Survivors, Ethiopian Club, Union Rescue Mission, and Lula Washington Dance students. This workshop encourages our youth to appreciate and understand and respect our wonderful global diversity.

Taste of Soul Community Health Initiative
Los Angeles (CA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, in alignment with our national organization, has embarked upon an exciting project to foster heightened awareness and targeted screening for Hepatitis C in at-risk individuals. On Saturday, October 17, 2015, Los Angeles (CA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated will work in collaboration with Charles R. Drew University and the Association of Black Women Physicians (ABWP) to educate the general public about Hepatitis C during the 10th Annual Taste of Soul Festival.

The Taste of Soul Los Angeles is a free family-friendly event presented by the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper and hosted in partnership with the City of Los Angeles, Radio Free 102.3 KJLH and 94.7 The Wave. It has been dubbed Los Angeles’ largest street festival and takes place on Crenshaw Boulevard between Stocker Boulevard and Rodeo Road. It attracts over 350,000 attendees.
The National HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C Initiatives of The Links, Incorporated strive to ensure that the communities we serve understand how these infections are transmitted and how the diseases can be prevented. Headed by Health and Human Services Chair, Link Lisa Nicholas, MD and Link Anitha T. Mitchell, MD, members of Los Angeles Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and their President, Link Kathryn Edwards, PhD, will distribute educational materials and encourage festival attendees to learn more about these diseases.

Screenings will be made available for those whom it is recommended. Physicians will provide onsite counseling to participants and follow-up will be provided for those who have no identifiable physician.

Sponsors for this health screening event include: Gilead Sciences, Inc., a research based biopharmaceutical company that provided financial support and educational materials, and OraSure Technologies, a leader in the diagnostic testing field that donated OraQuick testing kits.