Mothers and daughters bond together for a cause
by Catherine Currin
Mothers and daughters around the Triangle are coming together for good. The National Charity League (NCL), a California-based organization with over 250 chapters, has planted roots in the Raleigh area with four chapters and a growing list of members. The groups are mother-daughter duos from 7th grade to seniors in high school, working on leadership development and community service. Each chapter works with over 20 nonprofit organizations, gaining thousands of community service hours.
Katie Wrege has participated in NCL with all three of her daughters in the Cary-based Cardinal chapter. “We joined in order to have an opportunity to volunteer in the community together,” she says. Wrege and her oldest daughter, Lindsay, volunteered at organizations like the Miracle League and Anna’s Angels. Since her daughter aged out of NCL, she has gone on to serve the community through her business endeavor, 321 Coffee. The pop-up coffee shop on N.C. State’s campus (and now open at the State Farmers Market) employs individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Wrege credits much of her daughter’s passion to the exposure she received through NCL. “Her involvement with NCL has directly led to all that she’s doing in college. If we hadn’t been involved in the community, I don’t think she would have had an awareness or desire to start 321 Coffee. When she went to college, she realized that she wanted to continue that service.”
Allison Smith and her daughter Sloan are members of NCL’s Dogwood chapter, and Smith says she loves spending time with her daughter through giving back. “I was looking for an opportunity to expose my daughter to philanthropy at a young age and to teach her the importance of giving back to her community.” Smith coordinates the chapter’s annual mother-daughter tea, a tradition that is held across NCL chapters nationwide. She says the luncheon provides an opportunity for mothers and daughters to plan an event together. “The girls came together to create a wonderful party and see it come to fruition. NCL not only gives my daughter an opportunity to serve others, it has also given her valuable leadership experiences, friendships and engagement in social events.”
The values taught in NCL’s programming have attracted hundreds of Raleighites, so many that new chapters are forming to keep up with demand. Founding President of the Longleaf Pine chapter Pam Howard started the chapter after the Dogwood chapter was at capacity. “The goal is to provide those girls with skills to become leaders in the community. There are so many different philanthropies to try, which gives you a broad experience within the community,” Howard says. She says that the group is attractive to moms because it provides a positive way to “work with their daughters through difficult teenage years.”
Smith also notes that joining NCL is a great way to engage young girls in the midst of social media, cell phones and schoolwork. “NCL provides an opportunity to dial back a little to the simpler things in life. Service to others, creating new friendships, leadership opportunities and mother-daughter bonding are among the many reasons we joined this wonderful organization.”