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story.lead_photo.caption Laura and Olivia Paczewitz (left) and Emma Grace and Cristy Cooley are members of the National Charity League Inc. Laura founded a Little Rock chapter of the mother-daughter philanthropic organization in 2018.

The National Charity League Inc. (NCL) has been in existence for almost a century but it took a Georgia transplant to bring it to Arkansas in 2018.

NCL is a mother-daughter philanthropic organization with more than 72,000 members in 27 states. Laura Paczewitz participated in NCL with her oldest daughter when they were living in Atlanta. After the family moved to Little Rock, she learned there wasn't a chapter in the state.

Last year, Paczewitz founded a Little Rock chapter of NCL that currently has about 90 members. The mothers are known as Patronesses and the girls are the Ticktockers.

"The historical reason behind Ticktockers is that when girls would volunteer in a hospital when the very first NCL chapter started -- like candy stripers -- and the girls would watch the clock. Tick tock, tick tock," Paczewitz says.

NCL was formed in 1925 in Los Angeles by a small group of women interested in philanthropy work. They supported the Red Cross by making layettes and delivering baskets of food to the hungry during the holidays. The women sometimes brought their daughters.

By 1938, so many daughters had become involved that they formed their own group and called themselves the Ticktockers. In 1947, the two groups united and became the nation's first mother-daughter charity, according to the NCL website.

Today, 270 NCL chapters exist, including a new one that just formed in Northwest Arkansas. Members are girls in grades 7-12 and their mothers.

"There's a six-year NCL experience. And each year the girls are supposed to focus on a different leadership development," Paczewitz says. "And then there is a different cultural experience that they're focusing on each year. We're a new chapter so we haven't really defined those yet for each grade level, but we are working on it."

Paczewitz's younger daughter Olivia is an eighth-grader at Little Rock Christian Academy. The mother-daughter duo signs up for various projects -- working at Live Thankfully, an upscale resale shop that dedicates 100% of the proceeds to help area teens and women in crisis; taking meals or treats to ALS patients; volunteering at EasterSeals Arkansas and more.

For example, Paczewitz and her daughter will bake banana bread or make soup and take it to an ALS patient.

"The families are so appreciative when someone just shows up and brings some food, flowers or a card," she says. "It's such a horrible disease."

Cristy Cooley and daughter Emma Grace, a ninth-grader at Episcopal Collegiate School, participate in the program. Cristy is an NCL grade-level adviser for the ninth-grade girls. Olivia and Emma Grace were already friends before joining the organization -- they are members of the same swim team.

"It's the best of both worlds," Cristy says of NCL. "You get to work with other mothers. But then you get to work with your daughter."

Each grade is expected to volunteer for a minimum number of hours that range from 10-15 hours a year, depending on the grade. Mothers and daughters who volunteer for at least 50 total hours receive an award. Cristy and Emma Grace have already met that goal and Laura and Olivia are close to reaching it.

Paczewitz is working with a number of schools in Little Rock to attract members. But NCL encourages chapters to keep their numbers reasonable so each girl will get the most out of the program.

"The National Charity League doesn't want it to be an exclusive organization," Paczewitz says. "So they're always more than willing to found new chapters. They just feel it works best if they keep the class sizes small so it is special for the girls in leadership development and the experiences they will have with the class."

In Atlanta alone, there are nine NCL chapters. Texas boasts the largest number of chapters with 92, followed by California with 86 chapters, according to the NCL website.

"Through the mother-daughter relationship, NCL will develop strong [female] leaders serving and [affecting] communities today and for generations to come," the website says. The organization partners with more than 4,000 philanthropic organizations across the country.

"I think it is a chance for your daughters to see other women in leadership roles who are serving as role models," Paczewitz says.

More information about the National Charity League is available at nationalcharityleague.org.

Photo by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/CARY JENKINS
The National Charity League is a great way for mothers and daughters to deepen their bonds by volunteering together. Laura and Olivia Paczewitz (left) and Emma Grace and Cristy Cooley are founding members of the Little Rock chapter.

High Profile on 11/03/2019

Print Headline: Charity League advocates mother-daughter team-up

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