Mothers, sons give back together

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The Young Men’s Service League’s Integrity chapter of Flower Mound spent two weeks last month helping the North Texas Food Bank. (Photo by Helen’s Photography)

Beyond the obvious rise in population, homes and businesses, there are many ways to measure the continued growth of Flower Mound.

Take the expansion of the Young Men’s Service League (YMSL), for example. When the first local chapter of moms and their high school-aged sons working together to help others outgrew its limits, another group was formed in 2016.

In just its second year of existence, members of Flower Mound’s Integrity chapter showed how quickly they have learned about helping others.

The group spent the first two weeks of October collecting 4,829 pounds of food for its inaugural food drive as part of its Ultimate Gift obligation requested of each chapter. That equated to 4,153 meals, which 67 volunteers delivered and prepared for the North Texas Food Bank.

“Our Ultimate Gift exceeded all expectations this year,” said Amy McDaniel, chair of Integrity’s Ultimate Gift committee. “We are proud to have made a difference for the North Texas Food Bank and equally to have influenced our chapter to prioritize a commitment to food insecurity in our community today and in our futures.”

The Integrity chapter started last year after the first Flower Mound chapter, called Pacesetter, filled up.

Since then, Integrity has grown to 75 boys attending Flower Mound and Marcus High Schools, plus 80 moms, providing more than 2,350 hours of service. This year’s Ultimate Gift effort by itself netted 582 hours.

Besides providing philanthropic opportunities, YMSL seeks to create the next generation of leaders.

“One of the neat things about this organization is that every boy has a job,” McDaniel said. “Some are the highest of jobs like president, vice-president, secretary. Every boy has a responsibility to be on a committee. It could be the philanthropy committee. They could be the sergeant-at-arms, which is the person who helps to keep a record of Robert’s Rules of Order during the meeting.

“They’re all accountable for being responsible. In my mind it gives them buy-in to the organization and safely lets them test the waters and take some risks to see what they have and what they can do.”

Young men learn to make a difference. (Photo by Helen’s Photography)

McDaniel and son Gavin learned about YMSL after she was involved with daughter, Alli, in the mother-daughter National Charity League.

YMSL was formed in 2001 by Plano sisters-in-law Pam and Julie Rosener who also had been involved in the National Charity League. Today there are 51 YMSL chapters in Texas and another 20 split between California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Nevada, Oklahoma and Virginia.

YMSL is all about donating time rather than money and every fall each YMSL chapter selects an Ultimate Gift initiative to make a significant difference for one designated charity and kick off the holiday season. The concept comes from a book of the same name by Jim Stovall.

“Very often with YMSL, the Ultimate Gift projects are very physical like building a playground, building benches, weeding and fixing a yard of a really important location,” McDaniel said. “Last year we did all the gardening, all of the painting, all of the fencing at Kyle’s Place before it opened.”

This year McDaniel wanted to try something different and while she knew it may not make a significant difference for the North Texas Food Bank, it would be pivotal in the education of her chapter’s families, since they may not know that 1 in 6 area people suffer from food insecurity.

“What I’m hoping is that it not only positively impacts North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) and food insecurity in North Texas, but it will put into the hearts and into the minds of all of our moms and all of our boys that food insecurity is a problem everywhere, no matter where they move,” McDaniel said prior to the start of the project in October. “When they grow up there’s isn’t a community that doesn’t have a need for support when it comes to things like that. So I’m hoping it will be an Ultimate Gift to the people in our chapter because it will make them realize a number of things.

“It was more than just collecting cans and stuffing bags. Did that really change that much? Probably not,” added McDaniel, who conducted separate educational sessions with the moms and their sons.

“What we want to know is ‘what did this knowledge change for you. How did it impact the way you live your life every day.’ There are a lot of ways we should change our behavior [by] realizing we are very blessed to live in the world we are in. They should be grateful for what they have. They shouldn’t take more on their plate than they can eat. They should think about throwing away a whole plate of pasta, all those types of things. But, if we change their behaviors, even a little bit, we’re making for a better society.”

Trisha Cunningham (NTFB’s president and chief executive officer) and Erin Fincher (director of individual and foundation giving) personally noticed the difference.

“We are elated that the YMSL Integrity chapter chose the children’s programs at NTFB to give their Ultimate Gift this year,” Fincher said. “I can’t tell you how much it means to me and to the hungry kids in particular. Thank you so much.”

Other organizations which YSML Integrity currently partners with are the Salvation Army, Camp Thurman, Grace Grapevine, Cumberland Presbyterian Children’s Home, Austin Street Shelter, Journey to Dream, Kairos, Rocky Point, Boys and Girls Club of North Texas, Child Care Group, Hope Supply Company, Keep Flower Mound Beautiful, Special Olympics and the Flower Mound Senior Center.

To learn more about YMSL, visit or call 866-602-9675.

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