When my son was finishing 8th grade, we could not wait to join YMSL, after hearing so much about the positive experiences it provided my nephew in Plano. You can imagine our disappointment when we learned that there were no existing chapters in San Antonio. Under the great leadership from the National Board and a commitment from some dedicated friends, we made the dream of starting our own chapter a reality. I am proud to say there is now a second YMSL chapter in San Antonio, and we are currently on a wait list. As my oldest son starts college, he has left an amazing organization in the hands of his younger brother and other dedicated young men and moms.
Dr. Kristen Beling Dougherty
If you're thinking of joining YMSL or starting up a chapter in your community, just do it! It's an amazing organization and one in which you will receive way more than you contribute.
When I brought YMSL to Las Vegas I had no idea what to expect, as I didn't know anything about YMSL at that point. All I knew is that the idea of moms and sons working side by side to serve others was an amazing footprint for an organization. I sent out an email to a 5 or 6 friends and within a month we had met and agreed to embark on opening a YMSL Las Vegas chapter of our own.
What I've learned is that in the process of building something so positive, I've found myself surrounded by and introduced to some amazing moms and young men. I've watched individuals jump on board with both feet and serve whole-heartedly and I've seen somewhat reluctant individuals slowly blossom into incredible leaders. You will also discover a plethora of organizations in your community that need your help. Watching your sons learn how to give back and then learn how to lead others is a process that is more than valuable -- it's priceless. Don't hesitate -- it's a journey you'll be so glad you started.
Starting a YMSL chapter has been one of the most rewarding nonprofit service projects I have ever undertaken. Looking back to the beginning, less than two years ago, it is hard to imagine that it all started during a casual lunch in a restaurant in our small town, when I asked three of my friends if they would help me help our boys make a difference by starting a new YMSL chapter. We formed as a board of four, which then quickly grew to nine, and off we went. After countless hours planning, organizing and preparing, we were crossing our fingers that there would be enough interest to fill two classes, with 9th and 10th grade young men. Little did we know. Today, we are a thriving chapter, with three full classes of young men and their mothers and a robust prospective membership list for next year’s incoming class.
At a recent moms’ meeting, we went around the room and shared our favorite YMSL memories. Many of the stories shared were centered around the strong mother/son bonds created while performing YMSL-related community service together. As important, however, there were several comments about the joy it has been to have the opportunity to work alongside other moms and sons, feeling a sense of connection and community. And others commented on the pleasure it has been to watch the boys grow together, both with their classes and as individual young men. Several moms came up to me after that moms’ meeting, with tears in their eyes, thanking me for giving them the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful organization. It was in that moment that I realized this had worked - we had done it, together!
Being the founding president of YMSL-Highland Park and helping to create this legacy for moms and sons in our community has been one of the proudest and most rewarding accomplishments in my life.
Sharing this amazing experience with my son, meeting so many new friends and serving our community, only skim the surface of what YMSL has given me. Without a doubt, the biggest reward has been my son thanking me for the lessons he has learned through YMSL, and seeing his change in values.
He has come to realize that our community extends far beyond our friends, our school and our neighborhood… that it is our duty to look after one another and to ensure that everyone’s needs, regardless of whether they are physical, financial or emotional, are being met.
When I found out about YMSL, it was the summer before my son started high school. I called all the chapters around me but registration had closed and they were full. I called Nationals to find out my options. They suggested I start a chapter, all I needed was 6-8 strong, like-minded women to help me form a board and recruit other members.
I called some awesome women, had Nationals guide us through the process and 2 months later we had our chapter up and running with 18 moms and 20 boys. That was about 3 1/2 years ago. Now our chapter has tripled in size.
Our community has embraced YMSL and we have a great working relationship with several groups including The City of The Colony, Metro Relief, Love Pacs, and Lost Paws. It has been so rewarding to watch something I began in my community grow and become such a success in more ways than I ever imagined.
Mom's have the opportunity to do service work with their son's as well as watch them take on leadership roles. I have had some amazing opportunities with my son and the other members that that i would consider 'life changing experiences' through our philanthropy work.
I also look forward to 4 more years with my youngest son who will join YMSL next year while my oldest will be a Senior. I can't wait to see what the future holds!