Circle City Links: Women 'linked' through friendship, service

Local chapter making difference throughout Indy

INDIANAPOLIS - A sisterhood born out of friendship, service and volunteerism: Members of Circle City Links are part of a worldwide network of women serving their communities.

The Circle City Links is made up of influential Indiana women. It is just one chapter of the larger The Links, Incorporated -- an African-American women’s organization with more than 12,000 members in 270 chapters in cities around the world.

The crux of their existence is friendship and service.

Jessica Brand is one of 48 women who are part of the local chapter.

Brand is not a teacher, but she hopes to make a difference for preschoolers at Christamore House.

"When these kids get to go to kindergarten, sometimes they're not prepared. They're not reading at the level they should be. They're not spelling, or they're not doing mathematics. So we're here to bridge that gap, Give them the resources that they need," Brand said. "Getting together (with women) who are all success-oriented and very successful is very very satisfying. It's also nice for the community to see that women of color are doing."

Dorothy Crenshaw is the president of the local chapter.

"We walk away knowing that we do things that matter and things that uplift people that may be -- I won't say less fortunate --- but in some ways, underserved," Crenshaw said.

That dedication to services goes back to when the organization was founded in Philadelphia in 1946.

Two women invited seven of their friends to start a club to address the needs of African-Americans after World War II.

The goodwill was infectious and over the years, the Links grew and redefined their focus -- concentrating energy and resources to service in five different areas: health, human services, international and national trends (like bullying), the arts and services to youth.

Across Indianapolis, the Circle City Links are getting a lot done. They’re helping abused women get back on their feet by teaching interview skills and financial literacy.

They are also raising money and awareness for Komen Race for the Cure. The group also arms kids with what they need to concentrate on learning and to become anything they want to be.

Links in Indianapolis and around the country are now zeroing in on a common goal -- closing the educational achievement gap.

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