New philanthropic group for young boys, mothers burgeons in Kingwood

August 19, 2018

When Quest Early College High School freshman Yvan Edwards learned about the existence of a new service organization in Kingwood, he jumped at the opportunity to join.

The Kingwood Chapter of the nonprofit organization, Young Men’s Service League, just had their first grand meeting on July 30. YMSL is an organization for mothers and their high school-aged sons to collaboratively engage in philanthropy and community involvement. Edwards is the Kingwood Chapter’s boy president.

“I read about it and my sister does National Charity League. I’m in Boy Scouts so every now and then I volunteer, but YMSL allows me to volunteer and help out in the community even more,” Edwards said.

Cynthia Cantrell, president of the Kingwood Chapter, and Lisa Shanahan were primary organizers of the chapter. They began developing plans for the chapter in June and completed in a single month what typically takes about five months to accomplish, according to Edward’s mother Arlene Martinez who also serves as the chapter’s vice president.

“These go-getter women are unbelievably amazing,” Martinez said. “The National Chapter was amazed by how fast everything came together. We are so excited to bring this to our neighborhood.”

With over 60 boys and around 50 mothers who are members of the Kingwood YMSL, the chapter has already served the community in many capacities, from volunteering with the Back to School Backpack Campaign for the Society of St. Stephens, to helping HAAM with their Meals on Wheels program.

One of Edwards’ favorite community service projects has been hanging out with individuals from the Village Learning Center, which provides services and programs for adults with developmental challenges.

“With the Village Learning Center, that’s really fun,” Edwards said. “We do bowling. Every month they have a celebration where they all play bingo and get prizes and we do outdoor games with them. That’s fun because they love to socialize and just hang out with someone.”

A component of the YMSL that Martinez values is the active development of leadership skills.

“The meetings are structured so that each grade level performs their own meeting at the beginning,” Martinez said. “They have to literally run a board meeting where they keep minutes, keep notes on events that are happening, and deal with any questions or requests from the group.”

Edwards explained that some of the other long-term benefits of participating include boosting college applications, meeting like-minded people and making new friends.

The Kingwood YMSL’s freshmen and sophomore classes are currently at capacity, but the organization’s junior class is accepting members now through Sept. 30. Eighth graders interested in joining Kingwood YMSL freshman class next year will be able to find more information on the Kingwood YMSL’s website at the beginning of 2019.

For more information, visit www.ymslkingwood.org.


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