Service bonds mothers, daughtersHow can you establish a closer bond with your teenage daughter while also teaching her to engage in philanthropic, cultural, and leadership activities? National Charity League (NCL) offers one answer to this question for mothers and their daughters in grades 7-12.
Mother-daughter pairs are generally encouraged to participate in the league for all six years since each year has a different focus. However, since the local Orchard Valley chapter was just founded last year by Los Altos resident Laura Rogers, the chapter is still accepting applications for girls in all classes except the class of 2014. The goal is to eventually have 25 girls in each class.
Mothers ("patronesses") and daughters ("ticktockers") commit to doing a minimum number of service hours per year — 10 hours for grades 7, 8, and 12, and 15 hours for grades 9, 10, and 11 — in addition to participating in league meetings and social and cultural activities. Members volunteer with NCL-approved charities, which for the Orchard Valley chapter currently include the local branches of three national charities — Special Olympics, Meals on Wheels, and Habitat for Humanity — as well as two local groups, Inn Vision and Stretch to Kindergarten.
According to Rogers, many members have committed to volunteering this summer with this last group, which is a new program that seeks to prepare incoming kindergarteners in Mountain View who haven't had preschool by improving their general knowledge, language development, and social and emotional skills.
Last year's kickoff activity for the group in October involved creating gift baskets for the families moving into the five new units built by Habitat for Humanity at 2255 Gianera Street in Santa Clara. The girls made ceramic platters with the families' names, and the mothers incorporated these platters into gift baskets with food and other items to welcome the families to their new homes. The dedication ceremony was a special one for Habitat for Humanity, as well, since it included their milestone fiftieth home built in Santa Clara County. Rogers says that the group enjoyed this activity so much that they plan to maintain contact with these five families and do something for them each holiday season.
Kimberly Dickerson and her daughter Isabella, who will enter ninth grade this fall at Mountain View High School, are one of the three mother-daughter pairs in the chapter who reside in Mountain View. Most of the other pairs are from Los Altos. Kimberly reports that NCL has given her and her daughter a more personal relationship with the recipients of their philanthropic efforts.
"Before, we always did some philanthropic activity together as a family at Christmas time, but this was the first time we actually had interaction with the people we were serving, which was more meaningful for us."
Last year, Isabella and her friends helped conduct a clothing drive to create a "teen depot" of appropriate clothes and shoes for Inn Vision's clothing closet. Then at Christmas time, she helped with a toy drive by wrapping gifts and babysitting for low-income families while parents were selecting gifts.
Kimberly also emphasizes how much she enjoys the social interaction with both her daughter and the other club members. "I am amazed by the whole group — sharing a common goal, meeting everyone, learning how it all works — it's all very inspiring."
To learn more or to apply to join, see nclorchardvalley.org or contact Laura Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mountain View resident Jennifer Pence is founder of the Windmill Giving Circle and founder and owner of Academic Springboard, a tutoring group. If you have a business that is "doing well by doing good," please email Jennifer at email@example.com for possible
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