Samra Coote was elected in 2011 and served till 2015. Samra was elected as the seventh president of the Magnolia (GA) Chapter. As she accepted the mantle of leadership, she worked collaboratively to coordinate and facilitate the various programs with the six Links Chapters in the Atlanta area. During Link Samra’s term as president, the Magnolia (GA) Chapter has accomplished much success and received great honor by increasing the relationships with external partners. As a result, she was
elected to serve as Convener of the Atlanta-Area President’s Group for two (2) years.
In 2013, the Magnolia (GA) Chapter’s Strategic Plan won the Best Practices award for the Southern Area of The Links, Incorporated. The Chapter also won the Legacy Award for the Southern Area for its Magnolia Leadership Academy in 2013. The Chapter has continuously received recognition for Friendship activities in the years 2011-2014. In May 2014 the first Legacy Class of the Magnolia Academy graduated from the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy. Sixteen young ladies graduated and were honored during their graduation celebration all receiving a $5,000.00 dollar scholarship, a set of luggage for their matriculation, and
several other gifts. During Link Samra’s term the Chapter’s membership has grown to a sisterhood of seventy-six (76) active members and eleven (11) alumna members strong.
Samra also leaves a legacy of increased engagement. During this time-frame the Chapter’s sisterhood was engaged in many activities and events to carry out a successful program year. The endeavors were very successful; with sisters working tirelessly to bring honor and recognition to the Chapter. Consequently, there was a 90% participation in Chapter programs and activities. Additionally, during her the Magnolia (GA) Chapter established an online and social media presence locally, regionally, and nationally.
Link Betty B. Walker was elected the first president in 1990. Under her dynamic leadership, the Magnolia Club became a chapter of The Links, Incorporated in a spectacular installation ceremony and a gala weekend celebration in March 1991. Forty women, linked in “friendship and service,” became charter members of The Magnolia Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, with Betty Walker as the first president. As Links, the mission of the group intensified to include The Links, Inc. National Project, LEAD: High Expectations, conducted by Magnolia Chapter members at several Atlanta area elementary schools. Other facets of the Links National Program undertaken by the new chapter included “National Trends” with a service project at the Cascade House, a shelter for homeless women and children, and “Services to Youth” through an after school program for children ages 5 to 10 at Emmaus House. During Betty Walker’s administration, the first “Magnolia Blossom Awards Luncheon,” a successful fundraising event, was held enabling the Magnolia Chapter to make awards of $2,000 each to two outstanding local organizations, The Center for Black Women’s Wellness and the Fulton County Juvenile Court.
Link Dora E. McDonald was inaugurated as the second president of the chapter in May 1995. At that time, the membership grew to fifty and the chapter fostered support of in-depth, on-going programming for youth, through strengthening its Project LEAD: High Expectations Program at C. D. Hubert Elementary School. The project with the children at Emmaus House was expanded to focus on promoting literacy while addressing the issue of self esteem and the Services to Youth Committee adopted the Clark Atlanta University Aetna Saturday Academy by providing volunteers and financial support to subsidize field trips for the inner city teenage participants. As an active part of the Atlanta Cluster, The Magnolia Chapter participated in the first and subsequent “Walks for Health and Hunger” providing leadership for one of the most successful “Walks.” Through the international Trends Committee, the Chapter began hosting a “Friendship Luncheon,” focusing on the various aspects of international affairs, with international students from local colleges as its special guest. The 1996 Summer Olympics Games, held in Atlanta, allowed the Magnolia Links to expand their impact on and awareness of cultural diversity as many members played significant volunteer roles during the Olympics, and the Chapter made a financial contribution to the Children’s Olympic Ticket Fund enabling underprivileged children of Atlanta to attend some of the Olympic activities. The following year, in March 1997, the Second Magnolia Blossom Awards Luncheon was held, with the Marriott Marquis Hotel as our event partner. The funds raised not only provided financial support for the Magnolia Chapter’s service projects for subsequent years but also allowed the Chapter to award $5,000 each to the Hammonds House and to the Carrie Steele-Pitts Home.
K. Joy Peters was elected as the third president of the Magnolia Chapter in May 1997, at which time the chapter membership grew to 55 maximum. A “Read In” was conducted at the Carrie /Steele-Pitts Home by Magnolia Links, Connecting Links and Heir-O-Links. Approximately 40 students from McNair Sr. High School were taken on a field trip to Tuskegee University in Alabama. The Arts Committee presented a special exhibition of the “Appliqué Works” of the nationally recognized artist, our own K. Joy Peters, at Hammonds House with invited friends and a group of girls from the Oakhill Home as special guests for the reception, exhibition and gallery talk. The National Trends Committee presented discussions on various issues of national concern and of specific concern to the African American community. Additionally, a record number of Magnolia Chapter Links traveled to South Africa on the National Links, Inc. trip to dedicate the schools which were funded by contributions from Links Chapters across the country, such as the $2,000 contribution from the Magnolia Chapter. Through the leadership of the International Trends Committee, the members who traveled to South Africa shared their experience with the entire chapter at a special meeting and social, where the Magnolia Links and Connecting Links wore African attire.
Link E. Delores Stephens accepted the mantle of leadership as the Magnolia chapter completed ten years of exemplary service to the Atlanta community and friendship in the chain of Linkdom in 2001. As the fourth president of the Magnolia Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, the chapter reached new heights in friendship and service. We began our umbrella programming by partnering with Cool Girls, a community based organization dedicated to the self-empowerment of girls in low-income communities. These students participated in oratorical contests, a voter registration project, and health and wellness activities. The chapter members assisted in the organization and implementation of a shopping spree with the Cool Girls’ staff. Students’ points earned for academic achievement and citizenship were used toward the purchase of Christmas gifts for their families. Members accompanied the girls on educational tours of colleges and universities, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Women’s Black Heritage Civil Rights Tour. Our goal was, and continues to be, to break the cycle of teen pregnancy and poverty, overcome the barriers of sexism and racism, and inspire the will to achieve high academic success.
Link Thelma Mumford-Glover was elected the fifth president of the chapter in 2005 and continued the momentum of outstanding leadership and service in the Atlanta community. During her administration we continued our commitment to the Cool Girls by engaging them in a Pen Pal project with students in South Africa. Over a four year period we donated over $30,000 to Cool Girls, Inc. to support their efforts to develop self-empowerment in girls. We continued to provide service to the annual National Black Arts Festival Artist Market, and helped students learn to navigate the public library system through our links to the library project initiated by Link E. Delores. We promoted health and wellness, not only through educational workshops during our business meetings but we extended the outreach to senior citizens in assisted living facilities. As a reflection of our deep and abiding commitment to the children in Atlanta, the Magnolia Chapter led the charge to engage all five Atlanta Cluster Links Chapters to support a 6-12 grade single gender girls academy which opened in August of 2007. The Magnolia Links, together with the other Atlanta Cluster Links Chapters, participated in the planning and design of the program for the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy. Links from all over this city now have a single focus which will ultimately effect positive change in the lives of each girl enrolled in the academy and their families for generations to come.
Link Mary J. Bailey, the sixth chapter president, was inaugurated in April of 2007. Under her leadership the chapter voted unanimously to adopt the Atlanta Public Schools’ first single-gender girls’ academy – the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy as our signature program. The members have engaged the girls in many educational and self-empowering activities since the opening of the school in August of 2007. The multi-faceted programs included a fashion show to emphasize good grooming, etiquette and poise as students walked the runway. An all school assembly was held on age appropriate health issues, and students prepared Christmas cards for patients at Hughes Spalding Hospital. The students have been exposed to other cultures through an interactive presentation on African dance, a mobile museum exhibit, and an international doll exhibit. Magnolia Links participated with the other four chapters in the Atlanta Cluster of The Links by mentoring and purchasing complete sets of uniforms for all girls enrolled in the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy. The Atlanta Cluster of The Links, now six chapters, continues to conduct monthly lecture series featuring prominent African American female role models. The Magnolia Chapter, together with the other chapters, continues to host the Christmas Holiday Shopping Spree, and provide decorative shoeboxes of toiletry items for the students each February. In April 2008, The Magnolia Chapter had its first Celebrity Gala and Golf Classic and raised over $100,000.00 for our community service projects.