When Plano resident Pam Rosener saw a community need that should be fulfilled, she didn’t wait for someone else to do it — she made it happen.
Organizations like National Charity League focus on mother/daughter philanthropy, but Pam, a mom of four, wanted something service-oriented to do with her sons. She and her sister-in-law Julie Rosener founded Young Men’s Service League (YMSL) in 2001. Pam is now president of the national board.
Every teenage boy that joins YMSL must join alongside his mother, committing to serve all four years of high school together. The first chapter started here at Shepton High School and has since grown to 100 chapters in 15 states. Last year the organization clocked about 400,000 community service hours; since 2001 members have served more than 1.5 million hours.
Pam mentioned that usually it’s the mother who initially wants to join and drags the son along with her by the ear, so to speak. But ultimately what makes it all worthwhile are moments like the drive home together after a service project or class meeting, sharing what they learned or experienced together.
“These are life-changing experiences for young people who’ve never been exposed to that, and it changes their heart,” she said. “It makes them say, ‘Wow! I can give an hour or two hours and change someone’s life in a huge way.’”
The work the boys do also involves learning life lessons. For instance, one class may learn how to use tools, then help build a house for people coming out of homelessness. Another class will visit a car repair shop to learn proper maintenance, or spend an hour learning to ace a job interview.
Anjali Shirvaikar, Young Men’s coordinator vice president for the national board, took Pam’s mission to heart. Her son insisted they join the organization 10 years ago, but Anjali didn’t think she had time. She was a busy mom working fulltime, but she is glad she said yes to the opportunity.
“We had already started working together and doing philanthropy work, but for some reason the work we did with YMSL was more meaningful,” she said. “The conversations I had with my son driving back were the turning point for me — the insights he had and the bond we formed. It was our thing.”
Ten years later, even after her boys graduated, Anjali continued working with YMSL and praised Pam’s inspiration.
“She is such a visionary and amazing leader; she is ahead of her time,” Anjali said. “Pam brings so much meaning to the lives she touches. She’s just phenomenal.”See All of the 2020 Girl Bosses >