On March 15, 1991, organizers Alexis “Jackie” Bolden, Trudy Faulk, Louise Jefferson and B. Renee Stewart Jackson met with then immediate past Western Area Director, Link Edwina Higgins, to determine if there was sufficient interest in the southeast Texas Gulf Coast community stretching from Clear Lake southward toward Galveston, to establish a local chapter of the Links, Incorporated. These women shared similar interests and came from families and communities that had been impacted by The Links, Incorporated.
The Clear Lake community is home to the Johnson Space Center (NASA) and its affiliates, which would, over the years, significantly impact the membership and service outreach of the developing group. One month later, the group held its first business meeting at the home of Jackson, who would be elected its first president. Twenty-one women attended that meeting. On May 4, 1991, the group adopted the name “Apollo Ladies” and by September of that year had grown to include twenty-four members. Also in September, the Apollo Ladies participated in their first service project: The First Annual Summit Conference on Crack Cocaine Dependence. The interest group would later select as its inaugural service focus “The Family.” By August 1995, the sisterhood had grown to thirty-one and in August 2009 the chapter opened its program year with forty-one members including seventeen charter members.
Apollo Ladies’ early program activities included adoption of the African villages of Ankaful, Moree and Atewoska in Cape Coast Ghana and the nationally-recognized “Blanketing Haiti with Love” project where blankets and toiletries were sent to severely deprived Haitian communities. Galveston’s Heritage Christian Academy (HCA), with its predominantly African American male student body, became the focus of the Apollo Ladies services which included financial support, youth forums , annual college tours, career fairs and community arts festivals. Books by African American authors were also donated to the academy and programs promoting health awareness, academic enrichment, cultural enhancement and development of leadership skills enhanced both the school and its surrounding community. The Apollo Ladies and HCA enjoyed a relationship spanning nearly ten years. During this early period, too, the group established its annual “Caribbean Carnivale” as the signature fundraising event to support its community activities.
Gulf Coast Apollo became the 52nd chapter of the Western Area and the 262nd Chapter of The Links, Incorporated on October 7, 1995.
In its early days, The Apollo Ladies interest group was recognized nationally for its “Blanketing Haiti with Love” project where blankets and toiletries were sent to families in the ravaged country. Later, the Gulf Coast Apollo Chapter received an award in July 2005 at the Western Area Conference in Beverly Hills, California for its collaborative project with five other Houston-Area chapters for the Vagina Monologues. Recognition from the community at large has included an honorary Key to the City of Galveston presented by former mayor, Barbara Crews; several proclamations from the cities of Galveston and Houston; formal thank-you’s from the independent school districts of Clear Creek, Dickinson, La Marque and Texas City. The chapter also received a plaque, proclamation and day in its honor for its work with the Heritage Christian Academy in Galveston. In addition to other awards, the Gulf Coast Apollo (TX) Chapter is proud to be home to the winner of The 2009 Links, Incorporated National Tag Line Campaign winner, Link Bobbie Verrett, whose winning entry was “Linked in Friendship, Connected in Service.”