National Charity League chapter marks 25 years of local service

Photo Apala G. Egan/Special To The Town Crier Members of the National Charity League’s Stanford Hills Chapter decorate posters for homeless families and make cards for children convalescing at the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford during their 25th anniversary celebration at Shoup Park in Los Altos.

Members of the National Charity League’s Stanford Hills Chapter marked the group’s 25th anniversary in typical fashion – collaborating on projects that benefit the community.

Established in 1925, the nonprofit National Charity League allows mothers and their teenage daughters to volunteer side by side on a variety of community service projects.

Shari Emling and Debi Boyd founded the Stanford Hills Chapter, the first branch in Northern California, in 1987. The chapter draws participants from Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton.

At the recent anniversary celebration at Shoup Park, girls decorated posters for homeless families served by InnVision and made cards for children convalescing at the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford.

The three major planks of the National Charity League are philanthropy, leadership and cultural awareness. The local chapter supports 30 nonprofit organizations, including Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills and the Community Services Agency in Mountain View. The organization attracts students from local public and private middle and high schools, including Egan Junior High, Blach Intermediate, Los Altos High and St. Nicholas Catholic schools.

Last year the chapter logged more than 10,000 service hours, with teen volunteers, known as “Tick-Tockers,” contributing more than 6,000 volunteer hours.

The Tick-Tockers cut beans for dinners at local shelters, clean beaches, weed, assist the elderly, stuff envelopes and minister to sick children as they develop leadership skills and empathy while having fun.

“Once, on a hot summer’s day, we were at Hidden Villa weeding a potato patch,” said Suzanne Taves, president-elect of the chapter, who volunteers with her teenage daughter. “It was so rewarding. We learned so much from the organic farmer. Who would have thought that it would be so much fun?”

Los Altos native Starr Spangler, who graduated from St. Francis High School in 2004, fondly recalled her Tick-Tocker days. She said one of her favorite projects was setting up a store at the Community Services Agency where financially challenged families could select donated items at no charge.

“It was wonderful to see the grateful parents and children,” she said.

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