On Saturday, May 3, many gathered on the back lawn of the Legacy Museum for an Arbor Day tree-planting activity in memory and honor of Mrs. Pauline F. Maloney, founder of the STEP with Links program.
Participants in the event included Amber Joyner, Chris Manson, Angelena Garland, Lemondre’ Watson, Joseph Jackson, and Tabitha Callands. They were joined by members of the Legacy board and staff, parents, friends, and members of the Lynchburg Chapter of the Links, Inc.
In 1983, the Lynchburg Chapter of the Links, Inc., developed the STEP (Striving to Enhance Potential) program in honor of Mrs. Pauline F. Maloney, whose life work was dedicated to helping students become leaders throughout the nation. The STEP program is to enhance the leadership potential of sixth grade students in three middle schools in the city. The students meet one day each week immediately after school for approximately two hours throughout the school year. There is no cost to participants
The Links Chapter and the STEP with Links director develop special programs and activities to achieve the program’s objectives. Some of the activities provided this year included visits to the Legacy Museum, Old City Cemetery, Amazement Square, and Poplar Forest; trips to the Virginia General Assembly, Maggie Walker House, Black History Museum, and the Science Museum in Richmond; an African Art clay workshop at the Fine Arts Center; an NCCJ workshop on communication, and a ropes course and environmental study program at Camp Kum-Ba-Yah.
The weekly programs included workshops on topics such as human relations, health education, etiquette, parliamentary procedure, investments, money management, and current events. The students also enjoyed student programs, plays, concerts, picnics, pizza parties, and other fun activities. All honor roll students and those actively involved in the program were treated to a “limo” ride and dinner.
The participants also created a 2003 calendar, “Before and After the Sniper.” The artwork reflected their emotions before and after the sniper tragedy. The calendars were printed and sold; the profit was used to fund the Arbor Day tree planting activity at the Legacy Museum.
Funding for the STEP with Links Program is provided by a board of directors comprised of individuals, representatives from local corporations, and the Links. The program’s primary benefactors are G.E. Financial Assurance/First Colony Insurance Company, the Lynchburg Chapter of the Links, Inc., and the Lynchburg Schools, which also serves as the fiscal agent for the program.
-By Emmie Spencer