The Achievers program develops leadership skills in graduating high school seniors.
By Megan Reed
Since 1982, the Angel City Chapter of The Links, Inc. has mentored high school senior boys as they are preparing to transition to college. The program begins in the fall and culminates with the Affair of Honor.
“This is one of the few opportunities in Los Angeles where young African American males are recognized for doing the right thing,” said Cheryl Walton, president of the Angel City Chapter. “They’re going to college, and they’re going to have a career. Just to see the light in their eyes when they’re up there on stage with their parents, it’s worth all of the work.”
The program was started by Phyllis Fields, who was bothered by the way young Black men were being portrayed in the media.
“I had observed that in the newspapers, everything was negative about our young men,” Fields said. “I knew that I had seen plenty of our young Black men doing positive things. So I saw this as an opportunity for us to start doing something positive for our young men. To encourage them to pursue their dreams.”
Over the years, more than 1,200 boys have received nearly $3 million in scholarships through this program.
During this program, the Achievers meet regularly and participate in a curriculum that prepares them for college and the global workforce; expands and supports science, technology, engineering, and mathematic education with the integration of the arts (STEM to STEAM); and promotes and supports Historically Black Colleges and Universities for ensured sustainability. They also receive life-skills coaching by Tony Magee.
“The goal is to create ambassadors of excellence to go out in the world from the City of Los Angeles and do some amazing things,” Magee said. “We want to help them become more, do more, and have more. We give them knowledge so that they grow up to become the men that we hope for them to be.”
In the 2018 Achievers class, 38 high school seniors who are on their way to college were honored, which means that 38 Black families were celebrated.