The National Charity League in the Southwest Metro

A charity organization for moms and daughters is a big hit—and a big help—in the southwest metro.
Taylor, left, and mom Michele Peterson are a part of the NCL workforce that places mother-daughter volunteer pairs at places like the Prop Shop in Eden Prairie.

Tick-tock is the sound many moms hear in the back of their minds when they look at their teenage daughter and see what appears to be their little girl turning into a young woman right before their eyes. And that’s what makes the name ticktocker so fitting for the youth involved in the West Lakes Chapter of the National Charity League, an organization that sprouted up in southwest metro just last year.The National Charity League, Inc. (NCL) is a nonprofit that is well-recognized in other parts of the United States but is still new to Minnesota. It's different than other charity organizations in that it doesn’t focus on helping just one cause. Rather, NCL, Inc. provides support, mainly in the form of a volunteer workforce, for a variety of local philanthropy partners. That workforce is made up entirely of moms (patronesses) and daughters in grades 7 through 12 (ticktockers).Eden Prairie resident Sheri Neumayer was the first to get the ball rolling to bring  NCL, Inc. to the area by simply inquiring about whether there was a chapter in Minnesota when she moved here from Dallas several years ago. There was not, but she was encouraged to start one. And in the summer of 2012, as her oldest daughter, Ashlynn, was about to enter seventh grade, Neumayer decided to take on the task. When the West Lakes Chapter was officially approved for formation by the National Charity League, Neumayer went to work finding other mother-daughter pairs in the community that were interested in doing some good while spending time with each other. “I started talking to my friends and neighbors,” Neumayer says, adding that the more people that joined in, the more quickly the word spread. In just eight months, there were about 100 patronesses and just as many ticktockers in the West Lakes Chapter, which spans from Minneapolis to Chanhassen and from Orono to Rosemount, with the concentration of members living in Eden Prairie and bordering cities. “We have been very well embraced here,” says Neumayer, founding president and now past president of the West Lakes Chapter. The list of local philanthropies that the West Lakes Chapter supports is ever-growing, and the tasks the patronesses and ticktockers assist with varies from day to day. For example, they’ve partnered with Special Olympics Minnesota to not only help with fundraising events, such as polar bear plunges, but also some Olympics events. Rosemount resident and member of the West Lakes Chapter, Christine Orthmann and her 16-year-old daughter, Katrina, enjoy helping with the Special Olympics aquatic events because Katrina is a competitive swimmer and loves the sport. During a volunteer shift, the pair assists event organizers by lining up the participants for their heats, chatting with them while they're waiting for their turn and keeping them focused. “It's been eye-opening for both of us,” Orthmann says about participating with her daughter. “It gives us a chance to talk about things that we wouldn't normally talk about on our own.” She also says the experiences have helped them reflect on their own life and appreciate what they have. The West Lakes Chapter, under current president Patty Goodburn, is also partnered with the PROP Shop, The Colony, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Second Harvest Heartland, Starkey Hearing Foundation, the Angel Foundation and the Jack Jablonski Believe in Miracles Foundation. Another way that NCL, Inc. is different from other charity organizations is that it also provides leadership and other growth opportunities to its young members. Neumayer explains that along with the goal of serving the community, the organization is also about strengthening the bond between moms and daughters and raising great girls.“It’s a little thing that we can do,” Neumayer says of their local charity work, “but it makes a difference.”