The sounds of hamburger frying, water simmering and teenage girls chatting emanated from an Evergreen home’s kitchen on Feb. 20 as the group made several casseroles.
The girls’ moms were nearby, helping as needed so the group’s casseroles could head to the Loaves & Fishes food bank in Idaho Springs. The casseroles are distributed to needy families in Clear Creek County.
The girls and their moms are members of the Colorado Foothills chapter of the National Charity League, an organization that provides philanthropic, leadership and cultural opportunities. You may see NCL members volunteering at the Evergreen Sustainability Alliance Christmas tree recycling, helping at the Evergreen Park & Recreation District events, helping at fundraisers for the Evergreen Animal Protective League, working at Ovation West performances and more.
Marlo Naumer, this year’s chapter president, said NCL was similar to Girl Scouts because both organizations teach leadership skills and offer a variety of opportunities geared to what the girls like.
Mom Jodi Buckingham said it was important for her and her daughter to participate in something that gives back to the community.
Mom Nikki Johnson agreed.
“NCL helps establish a lifetime of giving that we can pass on to our kids,” Johnson said. “Everybody is super busy, so making time for philanthropy is important.”
Moms added that NCL expands the group of friends both for the girls and the adults as they attend meetings and volunteer at various events.
Members must volunteer 10-15 hours a year, though many girls exceed the expectation. They attend chapter-wide meetings, and girls attend meetings by grade level to plan excursions and volunteer opportunities.
NCL has its roots in a California group of moms in 1925 who dedicated themselves to philanthropy work, and in 1936, it became a group for moms and daughters. It officially became the National Charity League in 1947.
In NCL, moms are called patronesses and daughters are called ticktockers. Evergreen mom Deanna Baysinger explained that the girls were called ticktockers because in the organization’s infancy, girls tended to watch the clock while their moms planned philanthropic activities.
Colorado has eight chapters, and the foothills chapter has about 150 members, about 45 of them moms. Girls usually join at the end of sixth grade and continue through the organization through high school.
The Evergreen moms say they hear about NCL through word of mouth, and the Colorado Foothills chapter is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
Expanding friendships, horizons
For the teens, NCL expands their friendships as they meet others who go to area schools.
Ashley Cortez, a sophomore at Evergreen High School, said NCL is helping her become a better person because of the charity work but also because of the leadership skills she’s gaining and the cultural activities the chapter does.
The group organizes trips to local art galleries and performances, and one culture activity included participating in Evergreen’s Sculpture Walk. The girls also have attended seminars on car care, self defense and self care.
Jordyn Sullivan, a seventh grader at Evergreen Middle School, said she enjoyed helping the community through volunteering,
Riley Cortez, a seventh grader at Evergreen Middle School, said her favorite activity was creating the casseroles for Loaves & Fishes.
“This is a way to connect with friends and create memories," she said of NCL.