Shannon Beeson, Julie Hocker, Veronica Deats, Kris Osterbusch, Brandy Lee Meierhofer, Lauren Hollis, Ashley Gomez, Melissa Bebell and Heather Marburger will lead the new Lake Highlands chapter of National Charity League

When Brandy Lee Meierhofer told husband, Adam, that she and a few friends were planning to start an organization new to Lake Highlands, he had a simple question – aren’t there already plenty of nonprofits in our neighborhood?

Adam’s question was one the women have heard often since beginning the process to create a Lake Highlands chapter of National Charity League, and they say it’s a simple one to answer. No existing group can do what NCL can do – bring mothers and their junior high and high school-aged daughters together for service, leadership and cultural exploration.

Lake Highlands resident Shannon Beeson first began looking for an NCL chapter more than a year ago, and the mother of 3 daughters considered joining the North Dallas, Mockingbird or Richardson groups. She knew, though, that the cultural experiences they would share and the needy they would serve would be miles away.

That’s when Shannon and Brandy Lee began exploring creation of an LH group.

Lake Highlands mom Courtney Slater, they say, has been a big help. Courtney serves as president-elect of the Mockingbird chapter, and advises them on issues large and small.

Officially, NCL is a 6-year program, but the LH chapter will kick off in May with incoming 7-10th graders and add a new class of mother-daughter teams each year. Recruiting will begin again next October for 6th graders ready to enter the next 7th grade class. The group will begin with 96 mother-daughter pairs – about 25 per grade level – with 70% of their service being done in LH and 30% being done in greater Dallas. Monthly meetings of the girls will be led by leaders elected by the girls, while monthly meetings of the moms will be led by their own leadership.

“All the time and effort you give to the community sometimes ends up separating you from your kids,” explains Brandy Lee. “They are in sports and groups like Girls Service League – things where they serve on their own. As parents, we schedule service hours with our own groups like Lake Highlands Women’s League and take kids to their practices and games, but to partner in something with them and make it a priority – there is nothing like that.”

“NCL’s 3 pillars – philanthropy, service and culture – give us structure,” adds Brandy Lee. “They teach time management and etiquette – not just face-to-face, but on social media. I think it’s valuable to hear that in a peer group with other moms and girls, and not just hear me on the couch saying, ‘don’t post mean things.’”

Shannon agrees, though she’s wistful about one thing.

“The only thing I feel a little bad about is that we both have sons. Maybe this will spark some interest and someone will start a boys group.”

If you have an interest in NCL, or if your charitable organization would like to have the mother-daughter teams provide service for your group, you may email President Brandy Lee Meierhofer at presidentncllakehighlands@gmail.com.