A little over one year ago, creating this new chapter of Young Men’s Service League was just an idea. It quickly grew as mothers and sons who wanted to serve together to impact their community signed up. We launched with the Class of 2021 and 2022 and have served more than 2500 hours this year. Sixteen young men earned a YMSL Service Award and three of our freshmen earned the Presidential Service Award, which includes a medal and a signed certificate from President Trump. It has truly been a year of making a difference.
Each service event provides its own opportunity to learn. It could be sorting and packing food for families who struggle with food insecurity or cheering on the athletes competing at the Special Olympics. Sometimes, it is scorekeeping an extremely competitive game of wheelchair basketball or playing bingo with senior citizens. All of these opportunities allow our sons to pause, reflect and think upon something outside of themselves. It allows them to participate in something bigger, to be a part of the greater good and to make connections with people from all walks of life. In these experiences, growth occurs as we watch them better understand the world.
The boys also develop leadership skills during the monthly meetings. Interacting with nationally renowned speakers gives the young men a new perspective to consider. With a curriculum that is based on age appropriate life skills, real life is discussed and learning how to navigate the changes life brings is invaluable. Discovering their own voice and their own strength is a needed step on the path to maturity.
The conversations that are sparked from these encounters truly touch the heart. It stirs something in them when they see things that are not part of their everyday existence. Questions are asked, solutions are explored and change is demanded. This exposure may be the most important takeaway. The desire to change the world and the thought that it is possible and within reach is something that you can’t teach, but must experience first hand.
Joining this new chapter has proven to be rewarding for both mothers and sons. It has been an exciting ride to be a founding member and to have the chance to set the direction of our chapter. To choose the philanthropies, to provide the support and to create the events that matter to our community has been a gift and we cannot wait to see what year two will bring!
The Young Men’s Service League is a 501(c)(3) non-profit national organization. Members of YMSL are moms and their teenage sons who volunteer together to serve their local communities during his four years of high school. YMSL currently represents over 7,000 moms and 8,000 young men as part of 94 chapters across 15 states. YMSL offers moms service opportunities and time together with her son(s) to grow their relationship and to instill in him a heart of service to last a lifetime. In addition to service, as part of its four-year comprehensive program, YMSL teaches leadership and life skills to develop our young men to become the capable, confident and compassionate leaders of tomorrow. For membership information for 2020-2021, please visit YMSLJohnsCreek.