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Services to Youth


We implement transformational programs that are responsive to the academic, health, cultural, social awareness, career development, and mentoring needs of youth. The Services to Youth facet uses an integrated approach to prepare young people to succeed as healthy citizens in the global workforce and to promote healthy lifestyles within families and communities. In support of The Links’mission to enrich and enhance the lives of black youth, the primary goals of this facet are to:

  • Close the achievement gap from pre-K through college, with the intent of preparing our youth for the global workforce as healthy citizens.

  • Develop training modules for local pre-K through college mentoring programs, to ascertain a high level of support for youth in our communities.

  • Expand and support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education

  • Promote and support historically black colleges and universities for ensured sustainability.

Services to Youth 2


We initiated our mentoring program addressing the unique academic and psychosocial needs of teen girls at McDonogh 35 in 2012. This award-winning program is designed to assist the girls in developing into confident, competent, capable young women, well prepared for college and a bright future. We lead age-appropriate activities and interactive discussions on topics of interest including but not limited to: money management, conflict resolution, college preparation, career options and multi-cultural exposure are among the topic of discussion. This umbrella program also provides academic tutoring, field trips and outside enrichment activities for the mentees. Parental involvement and consistent participation are required to continue in the program. 

We've been able to able to welcome 50+ young girls attending McDonogh into our Rising Starts Mentoring Program. We make it a priority to show our mentees and their parents we're committed to their success. 



We are humbled and honored to be recognized as a 2023 Inspire Higher Award Recipient by InspireNOLA Charter Schools for the work we’ve done to mentor young ladies at McDonogh 35! Using an umbrella approach, Pontchartrain began its work at McDonogh #35 Preparatory High School in September 2012 through the implementation of service initiatives that span across all five Links programming areas. Since the start of the program, Pontchartrain chapter members have lead age-appropriate activities and interactive discussions on topics of interest to adolescents and representative of the organization’s program focus areas. This program also provides academic tutoring, field trips, and outside enrichment activities for the mentees. 

inspirenola awards.jpg


We have spent time "Plotting our Future" at McDonogh 35 with our Rising Stars Mentees. Dr. Torrin Sanders has been an excellent partner and supporter and leads wonderful sessions on "Vision." We make vision boards, and each Rising Star gets to take hers home for year-round inspiration and motivation. We ask the girls to display the board in their bedroom so that they be reminded every day of their dreams. 


The Pontchartrain Chapter has partnered with local hotels and restaurants to conduct seminars on Social and Dining Etiquette. We teach our mentees that etiquette does still matter in life. Being well-versed in proper etiquette can help land a first job through mastering polite small talk and basic business dining rules. It can undoubtedly help socially as our young mentees graduate from standard “house parties” and enter into that awkward “first date dinner.” The conversation ranged from the simple “napkin-in-your lap,” “please-pass-the-pepper” kind of etiquette, to “thank you,” “excuse me” and “I appreciate you.”



Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter. Research confirms that quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on young people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations. We take time to spend one-to-one time as well as group bonding time with our Rising Stars mentees. We've taken them to movie screenings, dinner, historical field trips, and much more.  


To celebrate International Day of the Girl we hosted a private screening of "Girls Rising" for our Rising Star Mentees. We learned so much from this experience and were able to have a discussion on how cultural norms affect the ability of women around the world to secure protection of their basic human rights. Seeing the struggles of our sisters around the globe not only humbled us but inspired us to continue our commitment to improving and educating our communities.  

Private Girls Rising Screening .jpg
Private Girls Rising Screening .jpg
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