Beth Ann Hatkevich, Zonta Toledo 1 Club President
Wow! It seems like just yesterday that I was inducted as President of Zonta Club of Toledo I. Where has the time gone? What happened to spring? Summer? How did fall arrive so soon? Autumn is my favorite season. I am not sure if this is due to the brisk beauty of the autumn sky and breathtaking palate of color or the meaning of autumn as a time of harvest, of gathering together.
Bonaro Wilkinson Overstreet, an author, poet and psychologist believes that autumn asks that we prepare for the future —that we be wise in the ways of garnering and keeping. But it also asks that we learn to let go—to acknowledge the beauty of sparseness. This is a good message to ponder as we ask ourselves, how we as Zontians can prepare for the future. We need to remain wise with what we hold onto as tradition and let go of what may not work for us as a unit. We need to be comfortable with change as we reflect and gather forward thinking ideas that will successfully navigate us toward our future of new adventures.
As a Club we have led or participated in some very innovating programs in the past few months including the Human Trafficking, Prostitution and Sex Work Conference held at The University of Toledo and Woman at Risk (WAR) International fundraising program. At both events we learned about stories of rescue and empowerment lives with dignity.
I am proud to share with you that the jewelry party we sponsored for WAR raised a grand total in sales of almost $1400.00!!! This is almost enough to provide for six women in a safe house for a year. The individuals who lead some of these adventures are the fantastic group of 2014-2015 Chairs and Committee members. I would like to publically thank each and every one of you for your hard work thus far. I truly appreciate you all! I feel the same about those individuals who sit on the Board with me. You truly are a fantastic group of women and your support does not go unnoticed. I personally have had many adventures during these past few months. The one event that I would like to share with you is my experience at the 62nd Zonta International Convention. The following is a brief synopsis of my experience.
I arrived in Orlando, Florida on Thursday, June 26th. After settling into the hotel I went to the convention center to register and get my bearings. I also visited the Zonta store and market place. On Friday June 27th, I attended the District V meeting with greetings from Lynn McKenzie and Marie Jose Landeira Oestergaard. I witnessed the installation of those District V officers in attendance.
At the completion of the installation I participated in an open forum. Information was disseminated and questions were answered in regard to the convention. During this open forum I learned that there has been a global increase in membership for the first time since 2006, and Z-Clubs and Golden Z-Clubs increased their memberships by 100%! At the end of May 2014 we had 30,543 members with 30 clubs. We lost 46 clubs. We have clubs in four new countries including Nepal, Lebanon, Uganda, and Macau.
After the District V meeting I attended the opening ceremony. The ceremony was beautiful! It included a parade of flags and more information was shared in regard to the convention. I learned that there were 380 plus first timers attending the convention, 23 Districts and 76 Clubs participated in the service projects this biennium. The Zonta International Foundation raised $5.1 million dollars toward the next biennium’s various projects such as, eliminating obstetric fistula in Liberia, an IV free generation in Rwanda, gender responsive schools in Vietnam, delaying early marriage in Niger, and Voice against Violence in 12 countries. The money raised was above the initial goal! Later in the day I attended the First Timers meet and greet.
On Saturday, June 28th, there was a Rose 5K Walk/Run and some members of District V participated. The rest of the day was filled with business sessions. The business sessions consisted of providing convention procedures, election procedures, and candidate’s speeches. After the business meeting there was an opportunity to meet and talk with the candidates.
On Sunday, June 29th, education speakers followed the elections. The speakers reported on what they were doing as a result of winning the Jane M. Klausman, Amelia Earhart, or Young Women in Public Affairs awards in 2013. There have been 983 scholarships awarded in 75 years. In 2014, there were 168 applications for 35 awards.
The Amelia Earhart winner was especially interesting. Laura Henderson is studying “Attack of the Space Junk” and told us about all of the man-made objects in space. Twenty-one thousand pieces of junk are greater than four inches and the rest of the junk is less than four inches. The junk travels at 15, 000 miles per hour. That’s faster than a bullet! The population of objects is growing exponentially. The items come from things like astronauts losing a wrench in space-it become part of the space junk. When rockets are launched, part of the junk drops in the ocean, but part the junk stays in space.
After the Amelia Earhart presentation, By-law voting took place the rest of the day until 7:00 p.m. It was very interesting to hear why people thought the body should vote for or against an item. On Monday, June 30th, there was a Memorial Service. The speaker’s topic was about the obstetric fistula program and how Zonta’s foundation dollars have made a difference in the lives of many women. Not only do these women receive the medical care that they need, but they also receive training toward new skills and jobs. This allows the women to open their own businesses and be able to support themselves since many family members will disown these women after they have this medical condition.
As far as workshops-I did not get the opportunity to attend any because as a delegate, I was still involved in voting during this time. On Tuesday, July 1st, I flew home. However, the convention continued with adopting the new goals and projects for the next biennium. International officers were also installed.
I hope you all read the ZI newsletter. I believe it painted a wonderful picture of the 62nd Zonta International Convention. I also believe pictures can paint a thousand words. Hopefully the pictures I have provided highlighting the Convention will do exactly this…Enjoy!
Yours in Zonta,