THE TIES THAT BIND: National Charity League, Inc.

Patty, Riley and Abbey Masek, Lilian and Tina Costley, Jennifer and Caitlin Furley with Samantha,mCandice and Mackenzie Lehman.

COVER STORY | By Liz Johnson | Photos by Laura Chiles Photographer –

The Katy community is well-known for its servant hearts and helping hands.  Volunteer opportunities abound, and it is easy to get connected to organizations that make a difference in the lives of others.  But one organization, the National Charity League, and its four local Katy Chapters, is taking it one step further by making service a unique and meaningful experience for mothers and daughters in the Katy area.

Mothers and Daughters Serving Together

National Charity League, Inc. (NCL) is the only mother-daughter membership organization of its kind committed to community service, leadership development and cultural experiences. NCL is unique because of its membership model geared towards mothers and daughters and its Six-Year Core Program.  Titled “The NCL Experience,” the program inspires and empowers women and their daughters in grades seven through 12 to become confident, well-rounded and socially aware community contributors. Since 1925, NCL has been developing women leaders through volunteerism around the country, and Katy is fortunate to have four local chapters of dedicated moms and daughters working closely with numerous local charities to better the lives of others.

Samantha, Candice and Mackenzie Lehman.

Mother-daughter members of NCL from coast to coast volunteer hundreds of hours in their communities each year through their local NCL philanthropy partnerships.  Issues supported by NCL Affiliate Chapters include children in foster care, women and homeless shelters, senior centers and convalescent hospitals, programs for the disabled, health care and wellness services, library programs, animal shelters, performing arts groups, museums and soup kitchens along with many others.

The Katy area is home to four local chapters.  The Katy Chapter, Azalea Chapter, Lady Bird Chapter and Star Chapters serve 200 to 330 mothers, and daughters each and have relationships with dozens of local charities where they donate their time and talents.  These chapters are led by their chapter presidents who are committed to providing meaningful opportunities for their members, growing their charities’ partnerships and increasing the impact they have in the Katy community – all by increasing volunteer hours and membership numbers.

Leadership Begins with Mom

Lillian and Tina Costley.

The Katy area NCL chapters are currently led by four dedicated moms with a passion for service and the Katy community.

Candice Lehman leads the Katy Chapter, the oldest chapter in Katy, which was established in 1984.  Lehman and her two daughters, Mackenzie and Samantha, love NCL’s philosophy and its commitment to developing their own relationships.  “NCL has strengthened the bonds between us by giving us an area to give back together and a focus on doing for others. We also have learned to appreciate what we have and recognize each other’s strengths.  It provides me with an avenue to work with my daughters in the community we live and to help make it a better place,” shared Lehman.

Riley, Patty and Abbey Masek.

Tina Costley leads the Star Chapter in Katy as their president, and she can’t say enough about the benefits of her time in NCL.  “NCL is important to me because it has helped teach both Lillian and myself some very valuable lessons and skills that we can apply, not only in NCL, but also other areas of our life.”

Costley is constantly amazed by their service. “Lillian and I look forward to attending the mother-daughter tea and senior recognition each year, but we also love being able to serve together in our community.  These opportunities have allowed us to spend countless hours together, and we have created a special bond through serving others.  Serving at a variety of philanthropies has really opened our eyes to the different needs within our community.”

Caitlin and Jennifer Furley.

Patty Masek is currently serving as president of the Azalea chapter. “NCL has helped build my relationship with my daughters by giving us opportunities to work together outside our normal daily activities. This journey has helped us to do things we would not normally try or do.”

Jennifer Furley, president of the Lady Bird Chapter, said, “NCL has brought us closer together because it allows us to spend so much more time together, and it gives us common experiences to talk about. It gives us an opportunity to do things together that we may not have been exposed to without NCL. We have been able to learn so much about our community and how much more we can be doing to help.”

Community Partnerships

Mackenzie Lehman with Jason Celaya as Santa Claus and Candice Lehman at the annual Ticktocker holiday party.

NCL works closely with over thirty local charity and service organizations in the Katy area. “Last year, our chapter donated over 7,000 volunteer hours, and we raised money to provide Christmas gifts for families who are not as fortunate.  We would like to increase our volunteer hours even more this year and look for more charities that we can help support,” said Lehman.

Masek says her NCL experience has helped her learn more about the Katy community.  “My family is very blessed, and while volunteering and working with my daughters, we have been able to experience how diverse our community is. I truly enjoy working with all or our philanthropies.  Personally, my daughters are Girl Scouts, and I enjoy volunteering with their troops.”  Through NCL, Masek enjoys working with Cinco Charities-The Ballard House, Krause, Meals on Wheels and Cinco Ranch Library.

Caitlin and Jennifer Furley at a holiday event serving the Veterans.

The variety of activities the chapters participate in encourages engagement.  “We both love serving our philanthropies,” Furley shared. “We get to bowl together with residents of Willow River Farms, a center for adults with developmental disabilities, and we attended the dedication of a new house for a family from Habitat for Humanity.  We also attend our annual Mother-Daughter Tea together, the Crawfish Festival in Kemah and the Bayou Bend Gardens.” Her favorite activities are the different cultural events they attend, such as musicals, festivals, and this year, they plan to attend a live music concert.

Experience Equals Self-Esteem

While the moms certainly enjoy “The NCL Experience,” the daughters also love this special time. Because of the unique emphasis on leadership, several of the girls have seen their own skills and confidence increase.

“NCL has taught me to be confident and explore many things that are outside of my comfort zone.  For example, public speaking. As president of my class, I had to speak in front of 250 mothers and daughters at the annual tea.  I was scared and very nervous, but I made it through and that experience has given me more confidence to speak in front of others,” shared Lillian Costley.

Mackenzie Lehman agreed. “NCL gave me a focus and awareness but also time set aside to spend with my mom.  It’s helped me to be organized and help others.”

Caitlin Furley has learned to change a tire, self-defense skills, become educated about the college application process and has learned to speak in front of her peers.

Abbey Masek has served in a variety of leadership roles, which has helped her grow.  “I have held positions such as Icebreaker (Game Person), Sunshine (Birthday Person) and Ticktocker Council Representative for my class, and this year, I am the President of my class, alongside my mom and sister.”

Get Connected and Involved

Abbey, Riley and Patty Masek at the NCL Azalea Tea 2017.

Getting involved in NCL frequently happens through personal references or word of mouth.  Sixth grade moms and daughters hear about NCL and are invited to join by friends and family as provisional members for the 7th grade school year or their freshman year of high school.

“I had seen NCL around different venues and heard from mothers whose older daughters were involved in NCL. Then, a good friend of mine mentioned she thought my daughter Mackenzie and I would be a good fit for the organization,” shared Lehman.  Now, Lehman is excited to have her second daughter, Samantha, join the Katy Chapter to begin her NCL journey.

Masek and her oldest daughter, Abbey, also heard about NCL through word of mouth. “A close friend, who had a daughter a few years older than Abbey, told me about the organization, and she felt we would enjoy working together to serve our community.  Once I learned more about NCL, I felt this organization would help give my daughters an opportunity to grow, lead and learn more about themselves and others.”

Masek is also excited to have her youngest daughter, Riley, join them as a 7th grader this year, and her older sister Abbey is looking forward to it as well.  “I’m excited to see how my Mom’s relationship with my sister changes now that she has joined NCL,” shared Abbey.

To learn more about joining NCL, visit with moms of older daughters, and find a sponsor. For more information, visit nationalcharityleague.org.

NCL supports several area non-profit organizations and events including:

• American Cancer Society Relay for Life
• Arc of Katy
• Atria Cinco Ranch
• Ballard House
• Brookwood Community
• CAP
• Christmas Families
• Eternal Food Bank
• Friday Night Friends
• Harris County Public Library – Maud Marks
• Houston Methodist West Hospital

• KCM Red Barrel
• KCM Resale Shop & Food Pantry
• Kidz Club
• Katy Visual and Performing Arts Center
• Meals on Wheels
• Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital
• Multiple Sclerosis Society – Lone Star Chapter
• Oakmont of Katy Healthcare & Rehabilitation
• Project Linus
• Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
• Texas Children’s Hospital

For more information or to find a local NCL chapter, visit www.nationalcharityleague.org.