The Greater Kansas City Chapter

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An initiative planned to open the world of live theater to children that live in the urban core of the Kansas City metropolitan area is growing in size and momentum.  Partnering with the Theater League (Theater ROcKs – Reach out to Kids) Program, The Greater Kansas City Chapter of The Links, Incorporated has observed an increase in attendance at shows going from approximately 200 to over 2,000 students in just under four years. Thanks to the support of an expanding number of schools in collaboration with The Greater Kansas City Links, these youth have enjoyed performances of “The Wiz,” “Bud Not Buddy’ ”, “Shrek The Musical’,  to name a few.  Building bridges that lead to a broader appreciation of the arts, The Greater Kansas City Links Chapter President Tammy Edwards, Services to Youth Chairperson Rebecca McKeel and the women of this mission-driven organization understand the importance of the arts in the development of well-rounded children.

The success of the initiative can be traced to a process of thoughtful planning in the creation of The Greater Kansas City’s Services to Youth Facet. This program is committed to the idea of exposing students to live theatrical performances. To ensure the fulfillment of the program’s goals, each performance event undergoes a post mortem evaluation which includes a school visit that accommodates discussions with students who attend the shows.

In its first year of partnership with the Theater League, The Greater Kansas City Links received a grant totaling $1,000.00.  Inspired by the vision and mission of the Services to Youth Facet, its members worked untiringly and the targeted population of students gained access to opportunities that had not been a part of their artistic experiences.  Recently, GKC Links was delighted to receive a $9,000.00 grant that was presented by Mark Edelman, President of the Theater League and Gregory Glore, a board member, to continue the Theatre RoCKs Program.

The Greater Kansas City Chapter of The Links, Incorporated is a not-for-profit organization that was established in 1946. The membership consists of 12,000 professional women of color in 276 chapters located in 41 states and the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. It is one of the nation’s oldest and largest service organizations of extraordinary women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry.

Tammy Edwards is President of The GKC Links; Rebecca McKeel is Chairperson of Services to Youth: Leigh Jackson is Chairperson of the Programs and Dr. Everlyn Williams is Central Area Literacy and Mathematics Focus Facilitator.

Submitted January 15, 2014