07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Zonta - Women Helping Women At Home and Around the World

by Madelle Morgan

This month's RTG theme is a shout-out to charities. I decided to raise awareness of the good work of one of the oldest, if not the oldest, international women's service club  Zonta International. This isn't a romantic topic for a post, but I assure you there's a huge amount of love involved!

Founded in 1919, today there are 30,000 women members in 1,200 Zonta Clubs in 66 countries. The local clubs raise money to for student awards, and to contribute to local and international service projects. I'm a member of the Zonta Club of Ottawa.

Financial Awards
Our club's annual Awards Ceremony and Reception is a special event to which the families and friends of the award winners are invited. Last month my club distributed $11,000 to talented and deserving bright young women:

  • new immigrant and mature students (often single mothers) to help them complete their educations;
  • outstanding young women pursuing business and theater arts degrees;
  • a high school student demonstrating exemplary leadership qualities.

Sandra Oh as Dr. Cristina Yang
Years ago the Zonta Club of Ottawa's emerging local theater artist award went to a young, very talented Canadian  — Sandra Oh  who most recently played the role of Dr. Cristina Yang in the long-running television series Grey's Anatomy.

At the Reception following the awards, tea is served in china cups from silver tea pots. In 2014 the Zonta Club of Ottawa celebrated its 85th birthday, so the dessert was birthday cake.

Photo Credit: Source and  CC Licence

Local Service Projects
My club's current service project is to help raise local awareness of Elder Abuse. My own grandmother was "ripped off" by her son and his wife to the tune of thousands of dollars, so this is a project close to my heart. My mother, the executor of my grandmother's will, only discovered the systematic withdrawals from the bank account after her death. Is it theft when an elderly person is coerced into signing checks or providing the pin number to the account? It's certainly financial abuse. Yes, financial, emotional and even physical abuse can happen in the "best" of families, especially when other family members live out of town. The elderly are often afraid to complain for various reasons, and rarely press charges. 

International Projects
Zonta contributes financially to several United Nations projects that make a significant difference to the health of women in developing countries. Since 1923, Zonta has provided more than $13 million US to projects benefiting women in 36 countries. Collectively the local clubs make a difference at home and abroad.

Support a Local Zonta Club
Members include all races and faiths. There are several ways to support a local club and its projects. Join as a member, attend some of the fundraising events, or check if a young woman you know may be eligible for an award. To locate the Zonta Club nearest you, use the search tool

Women helping women - that's what Zonta's all about.



Judith Ashley said...

Financial exploitation of the elderly is rampant. I'm so glad the Ottawa Zonta Club is shining a light on this heinous crime.

Zonta has not been as visible in my life as it was when I was much younger. I applaud their work and commitment to women. I particular like that they support women of all ages moving forward with their lives.

Thanks, Madelle!

Madelle Morgan said...

Thanks, Judith. I had never heard of Zonta until about three years ago when I was "recruited" by a writer in my RWA chapter who is a long time member.

The Zonta Club of Ottawa is hosting an event on June 15: World Elderly Abuse Awareness Day. The mayor will preside, and there will be a play and presentations.

We hope people will feel more supported to speak up about suspected elder abuse, and will learn the procedure to report it to the authorities.

Judith Ashley said...

So glad Zonta Club of Ottawa is taking a leading role in this world-wide problem. I deal with this issue multiple times a month when I'm "On Call" to respond to the needs of the elderly and people with disabilities who are being abused, exploited, neglected or are at risk of being so. It is amazing to me how many older adults are scammed and exploited if not outright physically and emotionally abused by their children and still they protect their abuser. The parent-child bond is strong and not always healthy.

I'll be thinking of you and Zonta Club of Ottawa on Sunday. Wishing you all much success.