Zonta Club of Gaylord, is one of over 1,200 clubs of Zonta International, a worldwide service organization. Founded in 1919 in Buffalo, New York, Zonta takes its name from the Lakota Sioux Indian word meaning “honest and trustworthy.” Zontians volunteer their time, talents and energy to local and international service projects that are designed to advance the status of women.
|Club Officers and Directors|
Vice-President – Karin Beyer
Recording Secretary – Rhonda Howard
Corresponding Secretary – Phyllis Mead
Treasurer – Cherie Nutter
Trisha Chandler, B. Suzanne Whyte, Anita Lawnichak
|ZONTIANS IN ACTION
By Suzanne Whyte, Charter Member
I am a 42-year member of Zonta International, a global organization “Empowering Women through Service and Advocacy”. Zonta has consultative status with the United Nations allowing it to make presentations before the UN. With 30,000 members, 1200 clubs in 67 countries, it is approaching its 100-year anniversary. Membership is open to both men and women. Zonta International strives to promote and protect the human rights of all women and girls and reduce the incidence of violence against women.
Located on the north bound lane of I-75 you will see our billboard which reads ZONTA SAYS NO TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN. It highlights the National Human Trafficking Hotline number (888-373-7888) in bold white and displays a young girl with the caption “Not Your Prey”.
A few years ago, we stood in the blowing snow on the Court House lawn and planted 128 orange flags. Each one represented an abused woman in Otsego County. In 2014, we hosted the District 15 Conference which featured speakers who described the gruesome details of Human Trafficking and suggested options to recognize and prevent it. In 2015 at the District 15 Conference in Grand Rapids, we decorated bras to be placed on the Blue Bridge over the Grand River. This is an annual Grand Rapids Cancer Society event to raise awareness and funds to eradicate breast cancer.
We support the efforts of the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan and are pleased to have our member Cherie Nutter as President of their Board of Directors. The WRCNM makes it a priority to engage men. The WRC 100 Men Campaign addresses the belief that all men play an important role in raising funds for awareness. The White Ribbon Campaign is an initiative begun by men to provide men with an opportunity to show their opposition to all forms of discrimination. Wearing a white ribbon has become a symbol of men’s commitment. It is an active campaign in the US, Canada and other countries. You may reach the WRC 24 Hour Crisis line at 800-275-1955.
A related program revolves around “Coaching Boys into Men” (CBIM). It recognizes the important role of coaches as they inspire young athletes to become men of empathy, respect and dignity. Our club has sponsored a presentations for the St. Mary Cathedral School Boys Basketball teams as well as the Gaylord Community Schools Varsity Boys Basketball and Wrestling Teams. The teams took the white ribbon pledge: I pledge not to commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women and girls. From this day forward I pledge to be part of the solution to end all forms of this violence”. Their sign reads “Our Team Says NO.” Zonta hopes to sponsor more teams.
During the United Nations 16 Days of Activism Campaign Against Gender Based Bias our club features men from our community. Each day one of them was pictured on our Facebook page holding a sign that read “Men Say No”.
In the Zonta Club of Gaylord Area’s first service project, our charter members raised funds for the Jaws of Life for our community. In 1990, we were honored at the Alpenfest Honors Luncheon. We promote education and leadership by awarding an Inland Seas STEM scholarship (co-sponsored with AAUW); a scholarship for a local graduating senior girl; and a Young Woman in Public Affairs Award. We continue our Hospital Book Bag project which fosters literacy by providing books for new mothers and babies. This is co-funded by the Friends of the Library.
I believe that Zonta is unique. I know that our contributions to Zonta International combined with those from other clubs impact women, girls and families around the world. I feel privileged to have known our distinguished Zontians past and present. They are all heroes who contribute so much to our local and global communities. I am also proud to live in a community that supports our goals. I am so fortunate to work with this wonderful group of Zontians to promote our goals.
“We welcome new members. Take action to improve the status of women worldwide by joining Zonta. Our goals are far reaching, sustainable and fulfilling. Meetings are held the second Monday of the month at 5:30 pm.