Denver chapter of women dedicate themselves to giving back

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DENVER — For nearly 70 years, a powerful group of women has been working quietly behind the scenes to give back to the Denver community.

“The Links have a stellar reputation of service, of sisterhood, having a willingness to really stand in the gap for the African American community,” Gaye Woods said, “[with the goal] to make meaningful investments — sometimes in big ways and sometimes in subtle ways — that have a great impact.”

Woods is the vice president of programs for the Denver chapter of The Links, Incorporated.

The Links, Incorporated, often referred to as “Links” by members, is an international not-for-profit corporation centered around community service, with almost 300 chapters worldwide.

Woods and two other members spoke with Denver7 about the community work the local chapter has been doing in recent years and during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are significant health disparities for the African American community, and that’s why we have the partnership and involvement with the Center for African American Health,” Allegra “Happy” Haynes said.

Haynes has been a member of The Links, Incorporated since 2013.

“The Links, Incorporated is a wonderful organization devoted to friendship, and through those friendships, we share our collective commitment to community service,” Haynes said.

Haynes added that the chapter’s support of the Center for African American Health has allowed those with disproportionate COVID-19 outcomes to receive vital information.

“With COVID-19 and the disparities continuing for our community — getting tested and getting vaccinated — we want to be that organization to help support,” Haynes said.

The center is located in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood. During the height of the pandemic, the center offered community based testing and virtual town halls.

Denver Links members have also supported mental health initiatives, in light of the ongoing pandemic, but also recent calls for social justice.

“We started a ‘Salon Series,’ and I’ve got a couple of experts who will be speaking on it — it’s virtual,” Woods said. “We’ll continue to do those kind of things that are speaking to that need.”

LaDawn Sullivan, immediate past president of the Denver chapter, has been a member of The Links, Incorporated since 2008. She said the chapter has also worked to bridge the gap between the Black community and available resources to learn about Black history.

“A few years ago we actually were the first Black organization to give a significant contribution to the establishment of the Blair Caldwell African American library,” Sullivan said.

A total of $50,000 dollars was given to the research library located in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood.

“And that library stands to a testament to the collective energy and power of this group, and the community room is actually named after our chapter,” Sullivan said.