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GUEST COMMENTARY: Zonta Club looks back on a successful start
February 2, 2018

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The Zonta Club of the Adirondacks, the newest international service organization in the region, finished its first year on a strong note, making its mark in both advocacy and service to women locally and beyond. November and December were particularly busy, as the club held its first major fundraiser and launched its first ongoing service project, among other things.

Zonta International is a worldwide service club which began in 1919 and is comprised of business and professional people- women and men- devoted to ensuring equality for all women and girls.

The local chapter received its charter in July 2017, and I?began serving as the first club president.

The "Autumn a la Carte" event, held at Heaven Hill Farm in Lake Placid, brought more than 100 local residents together for an evening of food tastings, auction baskets and live music, featuring the donations of local female business owners, chefs and bakers and the live music of local talent "Drew and Annie."

The club looks forward to making this fall event an annual benefit.

We were thrilled to see so many local residents come out to learn more about our club and celebrate the timely and important mission of supporting women everywhere. The evening would not have been possible without the donations of 14 local female chefs, bakers and food purveyors: Mountain Tomboy, Caitlin O'Brien of Will Rogers, Salt of the Earth Bistro, The Good Bite Kitchen, Small Town Cultures, Green Goddess, Friend-Chips, Dak Bars, Asgaard Farm, The Deer's Head Inn, Forever Wild Beverage Co., Northern Feast Catering, Dak Shack and Saranac Sourdough.

Later in November, with the generous support of Kinney Drugs, the club stuffed 10 duffle bags and seven tote bags, containing essential personal hygiene items and basic baby and toddler supplies, to be given to women who are leaving abusive situations at home. These bags were delivered to STOP Domestic Violence in Westport, a New York state certified program assisting victims of domestic violence, 24 hours a day in Essex, Franklin and Clinton counties.

STOP Domestic Violence will hold and distribute the bags to those in need, and the club intends to make the duffle bag donations an ongoing service project each time the supply is depleted.

The club also received support from ORDA for its #16Days of Advocacy project when the Olympic Center marquee in Lake Placid was ablaze with the orange logo reading "Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women" between Nov. 25 and Dec. 10. "Zonta Says No" is an annual worldwide awareness program which brings attention to the worldwide crisis of violence against women in its many forms: domestic violence, human trafficking, sexual assault, and female genital mutilation.

At the year's end, the club also supported those afflicted by the hurricanes that ravaged Puerto Rico, donating $2,000 to Coordinadora Paz para la Mujer, Inc. (Peace Coordinator for Women), a non-governmental organization based out of San Juan, which travels the island with mobile health and support services clinics to aid women in crisis.

Finally, in the spirit of the holidays, the Zonta Club of the Adirondacks held a social gathering, but instead of a gift exchange between club members, we "adopted" a Puerto Rican couple with two young children who recently relocated to Essex County to live and work after the hurricanes. Warm clothes, household items, and food and gas gift cards rounded out the holiday gifts collected and wrapped for the family.

This club is about taking action to help others, and it's been a joy and an honor to be a part of. We've got a great group of people who are anxious and motivated to be the change that they wish to see in this world, both globally and locally, and we are always happy to welcome more enthusiastic members as we look ahead to a busy and rewarding 2018.

The club meets monthly, and those interested in learning more should contact me: adirondacks@zontadistrict2.org.

(Amy Quinn, of Lake Placid, is the president of the Zonta Club of the Adirondacks chapter.)

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