Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Delivering Holiday Gifts for the Butterfly Effect Girls

Peconic Bay Zonta members Betsy Kaplan (in photo on right, seated) and Vivian Daddino delivered 58 journals and pens gift-wrapped for the holidays that their local Zonta chapter donated to the Butterfly Effect Project in Riverhead. The Butterfly Effect Project is a nonprofit community group that helps girls achieve self-confidence and academic success.

Butterfly Effect Project founder and executive director Tijuana Fulford (pictured below with Daddino) was delighted to accept the journals.

Peconic Bay Zonta is affiliated with Zonta International, which has members in 66 countries working to improve the lives of women and girls.

Photo credits: Above, Bob Kaplan; left, Betsy Kaplan

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Vivian Daddino Joins Peconic Bay Zonta

– photo by Diane Greenberg
Peconic Bay Zonta welcomes Vivian Daddino, who joined the organization in December 2018.

Peconic Bay is a local chapter of Zonta International, a global community of like-minded individuals working together to achieve gender equality and realize a better world for women and girls through service and advocacy.

Daddino brings to Zonta 20 years of experience as a psychologist in the Sachem School District, where she worked with students and parents. "I'm excited to work with a group that helps women!" she said.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Zonta's 16 Days of Activism

November 25 is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against WomenDecember 10 is Human Rights DayEvery year, these two dates bookend the 16-days of activism that Zonta International members engage in to say no to violence against women.

Zonta’s 2018 campaign to Say NO to Violence against Women will match Zonta's efforts to help end child marriage.

Child marriage violates girls rights to health and education, exposes them to a lifetime of violence and traps them in a cycle of poverty. According to, child marriage this year alone will affect more than 12 million girls around the globe. If current  trends continue, 150 million more girls will be married in childhood by 2030, with devastating consequences for all.

What do you know about child marriage around the world? Click here to take a three-minute quiz.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

‘Thumbs Up’ for LUNAFEST Fundraiser

On September 29, 2018, Peconic Bay Zonta sponsored LUNAFEST, a film festival that featured nine short films by, for and about women. The films ranged from animation to fictional drama and covered such issues as women's careers, relationships and breaking barriers. Held at the Congregational Church of Patchogue, the event was a fundraiser for the local chapter of Zonta International.

Complimentary tea and coffee were served, accompanied by delicious home-baked cakes and cookies. In addition, club members donated raffle items, including wine and a local restaurant gift certificate. The audience gave the films an enthusiastic “thumbs up,” and the evening was a successful fundraiser, netting about $300. Peconic Bay Zonta offers scholarships to local female students, and we help to empower young girls in our area through a nonprofit organization, the Butterfly Effect Project. On the international level, we advocate an end to human trafficking and violence against women.

In 2018, Zonta International committed $2 million to support a global program to end child marriage. Zonta’s investment will enable the program to expand and reach more girls, allowing them to enjoy a childhood free from the risk of marriage and its consequences.

Kathy Walker, Peconic Bay's Community Outreach Chair, organized the event. Club members attending were: (above, from left) Linda Rundlett, Diane Loffredo, Mary Ann Miller, Walker, Diane Greenberg, Annika Shapiro, Liala Strotman and Betsy Kaplan.

Chris Caccavale set up the projector, downloaded the films and played them. Craig Coyle entertained the gathering with his piano music before the films were shown. And Jose Rivera was a big help in setting up and breaking down the chairs and tables. Thanks to all three gentlemen!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Apply for Amelia Earhart Fellowship

Zonta International's Amelia Earhart (AE) Fellowship is awarded annually to 35 talented women, pursuing Ph.D./doctoral degrees in aerospace-related sciences or aerospace-related engineering around the globe.

The US$10,000 Fellowship may be used at any university or college offering accredited post-graduate courses and degrees in these fields.

The 2018 AE Fellowship application is due to Zonta International Headquarters on November 15, 2018.

Click here to learn more about the AE Fellowship.

Note: Zonta also offers the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship and the Young Women in Public Affairs Award. For these, applications must be submitted to an individual Zonta chapter. Peconic Bay Zonta will accept applications for the 2019 business scholarship on May 1, 2019, and for the public affairs award on March 15, 2019. Check this website early next year for more information on each.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Peconic Bay Zonta Donates Backpacks to Butterfly Effect Project

Above, Peconic Bay Zonta members Betsy Kaplan (left) and Liala Strotman sit amidst a mound of backpacks their organization recently donated to the Butterfly Effect Project, a Riverhead-based nonprofit community group that works to empower young girls by giving them tools to help them achieve academic success and self-confidence. Peconic Bay Zonta is affiliated with Zonta International, which has members in 66 countries working together to improve the lives of women and girls. The local Zonta chapter is always looking for new members who share their passion for thinking globally and acting locally.

Below, Kaplan and Strotman are joined in the photo by Peconic Bay Zonta member Mary Ann Miller (left); Tijuana Fulford (right), Founder and Executive Director of the Butterfly Effect Project; and several of the girls enrolled in the program.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Annual Achievement Reports, 2017 – 2018

– Zonta Club of Melbourne's West
Another Zonta year has ended and a new one has begun. See below Peconic Bay's achievement reports for June 2017 through May 2018.

President's Report
by Diane Greenberg
Co-President and Public Relations Chair, Zonta Club of Peconic Bay

Our club gave several scholarships to local students this year.  We continued our service project of offering a $300 scholarship to a female student who has completed an English as a Second Language (ESL) course at Suffolk County Community College. The intent of the scholarship is to further the applicant’s education.

This past year we gave out two ESL scholarships. Ana Aucapina Tigre, a recipient who came to the U.S. nine years ago, works as a line cook at a local restaurant. She hopes to advance in her career, perhaps some day be a sous chef or executive chef. Recipient Maria Guadron was a nurse in her native country, El Salvador, and she hopes to continue her studies in order to be able to resume her nursing career in the U.S.

This year, we also funded a student taking violin lessons at East End Arts in Riverhead. According to her teacher, Margarita Basurto is making excellent progress in her lessons. Peconic Bay Zonta continued to support her lessons through the spring, fall and summer semesters.

Our club was thrilled that Isabella Sorgi, a senior at Mercy High School in Riverhead, won the District 3 Public Affairs Award. Club members met this accomplished young woman at a dinner sponsored at the home of one of our members. Our club gave her a $300 scholarship for her outstanding academic performance and volunteer work.

A dual citizen of Finland and the U.S., Isabella last summer obtained two internships in Finland. In one, she worked for a social services organization helping Somali refugee women and their children who were granted asylum in Finland. In her second internship, Isabella worked with a Finnish political party and came to better understand the complexity of immigration policy. She plans to enroll in New York University's Stern School of Business in the fall.

Our members prepared a Thanksgiving meal for approximately 30 homeless adults on eastern Long Island. In cooperation with Maureen's Haven, we made a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and delivered it to the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Cutchogue to be served to those in need by volunteers.

One of our members, Liala Strotman, accompanied part-time by several other club members, worked two-day shifts shortly before Christmas selling crafts made by Guatemalan women. Sponsored by a fair trade organization called Mayan Hands, the women artisans continue the ancient tradition of weaving on a backstrap loom. The funds they earn are used to support the women’s families, educate their daughters and purchase school supplies.

Membership / Mentoring
We added two new members to our club this year, Christine Killorin and Diane Loffredo. Christine has a background in accounting and helped to streamline and organize the club’s financial records. Unfortunately, she left the club after a year’s membership.

Diane Loffredo has continued her membership this year. She is a court reporter, and her son works at the U.N., so she will be planning a trip to the U.N. for our club, where we hope to meet our U.N. Representative and learn more about how the U.N. affects women's issues.

Our club's webmaster, Mona Rowe, wrote a four-part series for our website for Women's History Month. To view her posts, go to our website. Check out the specific posts between February 28 to April 11, 208.

We had two major fundraising events this year. In November 2017, club member Annika Shapiro had a soup-tasting fundraiser in her home. Sixteen women observed Annika put finishing touches on her soups as she gave soup-cooking tips. She then handed out recipes for five homemade soups, which everyone tasted along with homemade bread. All participants were also given a beautiful ceramic bowl made at Greenport Pottery and donated by Diane Giardi of East End Arts as part of a hunger-fighting program called "Empty Bowls." We raised $1,070 at the very successful event, and we gave $500 of the proceeds to Island Harvest, a food bank on Long Island. 

We also held a yard sale hosted by Mary Ann Miller, club treasurer. The members found hidden treasures in their basements and closets that they donated to the sale, and asked friends for donations. We made a profit of $835 selling many diverse items, including a Nordic track and hand-made jewelry. Friends of Zonta baked breads for the sale and helped to distribute leftover goods to local charities. The proceeds helped to fund ESL scholarships.

* * *

by Mona Rowe
Webmaster and Advocacy Chair, Zonta Club of Peconic Bay

Report Highlight: Website Series on Women’s History Month
In March 2018, starting on Zonta Rose Day, Peconic Bay Zonta began a special focus on Women’s History Month. We posted on our website a four-part series highlighting the achievements of women and girls we have directly supported through the years. These posts relate to long-standing issues for which Zonta International is a strong advocate, including equal rights, WEPs and CEDAW. See summaries below.

Post 1 – “One of the most effective ways to make a difference is to invest in women and girls around the world. That’s because almost everywhere you look, inequity attaches itself to gender.” So wrote New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof in an email introducing the NYT 2018 guide to making the world a better place. Peconic Bay Zonta is determined to help women and girls, especially those in our own backyard of eastern Long Island. Since 2013, we have been awarding scholarships to women enrolled in the English as a Second Language program at Suffolk County Community College. Read the full post at

Post 2 – All girls are special! Here are the two we featured at
In 2017, we first gave a scholarship at the East End Arts music school to young violinist Margarita Basurto (this first announcement, is at Excited by Margarita’s progress, we renewed her scholarship in 2018. Peconic Bay members Liala Strotman and Annika Shapiro sat in on Margarita’s lesson with her teacher Nicholas Orifici. Said Shapiro, “Margarita thanked us several times for our support. Nick has been teaching her for seven months and said she is doing very well and has improved a lot.” 
In 2016, Peconic Bay Zonta joined with Brookhaven Women In Science to send Camille van der Watt to a summer workshop on scientific computing, held at Brookhaven National Laboratory (to see this original post, click on Recognizing Camille’s potential in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), both organizations were happy to support her participation. Peconic Bay member Mona Rowe contacted Camille’s mentor, David Biersach, at Brookhaven Lab and learned that Camille continues to do exceptionally well in high school. As a sophomore, “she is approximately four years ahead of her peers in mathematics, having already completed college courses in calculus I & II,” said Biersach, a technology architect.

Post 3 – Perhaps the most famous Zontian is legendary pilot Amelia Earhart, namesake of ZI’s Amelia Earhart Fellowships. In 2001, Zonta giving got a girl airborne – literally! Here’s the tale of her flight:
  Peconic Bay Zonta was originally chartered under the name Zonta Club of Eastern Suffolk Area. That earlier Zonta club supported the Dowling College Summer Aviation Scholarship Program for Young Women, which targeted 8th-grade girls who showed an aptitude for STEM.
  Allison Rowe attended the Dowling aviation program in the summer of 2001. After a week of intense studies, she and the other girls climbed into small prop planes at the Brookhaven Airport and flew to the Groton-New London Airport in Connecticut. Fast forward to 2017, when Allison flew a helicopter. See a photo of Allison with hand on the stick. Allison now lives in London, where she works as a designer/engineer. To watch her TEDx talk, “Being Rationally Irrational to Design the Future,” click here.

Post 4 – Peconic Bay Zonta honored high school senior Isabella Sorgi for her outstanding academic performance and volunteer work in Finland. Isabella is a dual citizen of Finland and the U.S. When she approached Peconic Bay about applying for the Young Women in Public Affairs Scholarship, she expressed interest in a career dedicated to improving social conditions and as well as opportunities for women. This fall, Isabella will be attending New York University’s Stern School of Business. Learn more about Isabella here. NOTE: Isabella Sorgi is Zonta District 3’s YWPA scholarship winner.

Peconic Bay Zonta’s website is an up-to-date accounting of our chapter’s activities. It also reports on basic women’s issues that are important to Zonta International: gender equality and human rights.

In recent years, we have collected feedback from prospective members about our website. That’s how we know this to be true: it is an effective tool in our effort to recruit new members: one in 2016, two in 2017 and one in 2018.

Level of effort for all website postings: 60 hours

At the request of District 3 Advocacy Chair Bobbee Cardillo, Peconic Bay contacted congressional representatives to request their support of the legislation listed below. (Thank you to Cardillo for tracking the legislation and pulling together all necessary information, making our effort easier.)
SOAR to Health and Wellness Act
NYS Sexual Harassment
ERA action in Illinois

Level of effort: 4 hours

Various Actions
Menstruation myths in Madagascar: Members shared with family and friends a September 2017 BBC News report on menstruation myths in Madagascar and how one scout master is teaching girls, women and his own scout troop of boys the truth about menstruation; also promoted Zonta International’s “Let Us Learn” program for girls in Madagascar.

East End Arts collaboration: Members met with representatives of East End Arts to explore opportunities for collaboration around shared goals. From the organization’s diversity statement: “Diversity (the state or fact of being different) may be challenging in the more conventional areas of life, but in the arts being different is cherished, nourished and encouraged. East End Arts knows the diversity of our community is a fundamental strength of our region.”
– Peconic Bay now supports a scholarship for Margarita Basurto at the EEA music school.
– Peconic Bay member Liala Strotman participated in EEA’s annual street-painting festival. Strotman sold woven handiwork made by Mayan women and talked about the value of empowering them so they can bring their families out of extreme poverty and still live within their own culture. (For background information on the civil war in Guatemala from 1960-1996, which primarily affected indigenous Mayan communities, click here.)

Equal Pay Day, April 10, 2018: One member wore red, carried a sign and talked to women and men about the significance of the day.

Tracking past scholarship recipients: Three members tracked the status of three girls supported by Peconic Bay and its predecessor, Eastern Suffolk.

LUNAFEST: One member worked most of the year trying to arrange a LUNAFEST on eastern Long Island (she is now hoping for the next Zonta year). LUNAFEST is an all-women traveling film festival featuring films by women, about women and for women. Collectively, the films relate to ZISVAW, CEDAW, equal rights, human trafficking, WEPs and engaging men for gender equality.

Level of effort: 77 hours

TOTAL: 141 person hours

* * *

by Liala Strotman
Co-President and Membership Chair, Zonta Club of Peconic Bay

Membership has increase to 11 from 8 last year. Three new  members to insure fresh ideas and sufficient help in projects. Clearly our word of mouth process is working extremely well. 

1. We had 9 members who paid 2017-2018 dues.
2. There was one discontinued membership in this year. This member had great ideas and was a great help. She checked our books and made simple recommendations, did the initial work for the Butterfly Effect Project, and participated in several functions. She terminate membership in this same year. The reasons for termination were: She went to Florida for a good portion of the year, projects  were not implemented immediately,  and she did not find any projects were a match for her. We acknowledged her contributions, encouraged her to take another look when she got back in the spring but her mind was made up. 
3. The revised Peconic Bay membership plan is attached.
4. Our goal was to slowly increase membership to 11. We are currently at nine members. Within the last two years, three members left: the one cited above, another who moved to Florida, and a third long-time member who also spends a good part of the year away from Long Island. We do have two potential new members who may join at the half-year level in 2018-2019. Moving forward, recruitment and retention will be our priorities.
5. At two meetings each year – generally in November and May – we specifically include planning activities for the upcoming months. Our meetings are very regular and well attended, with on-going, online planning and communication in between. Everyone is involved in decisions. 
6. Due to the size of our group, proximity to each other, and that new members are brought in by existing members. there is no formal written plan. We recruit at all events and invite interested women to attend a meeting. The person sponsoring, the president or the membership chair reviews the expectations, including financial and participation responsibilities. 
7. In the Zonta year of June 2017 - May 2018, we continued to use functions such as fundraisers, awarding of scholarships, and regular monthly meetings in which we invite interested women to create a pool of potentials.  A more direct but subtle approach has been talking about our work in our many circles . . . book talks, arts council, bunko, and the workplace, which generates interest as well.  
8. Our plan to retain new and current members is simply to keep everyone involved and realizing how needed they are. Please see our membership plan in the left column.
9. Through our co-presidents and advocacy chair, members all were encouraged to attend area, district or international events. In every meeting, the president and “older” members take every opportunity to connect discussions to the Zonta administrative hierarchy of area, district and international levels. After returning from workshops, we share our observations and new knowledge. This year, we budgeted $50 per person to attend workshops. This year we had three members attend.  
10. Each year we look at new initiatives to serve directly. One is our connection to the Butterfly Effect Project, a local group to empower young girls (we purchased notebooks and have offered to run some workshops in the fall). In addition we awarded two new scholarships. One was for academics and involvement in women’s rights, the other to support a child in music education ( part of our partnership with East End Arts). 
11. Leadership training is accomplished by asking project leaders to update progress monthly and recap when they conclude. This gives multiple models of leadership and the chance for input from the group. It forges joint ownership of a project. The group often does a “lessons-learned” session. Our meetings run smoothly because we have mutual respect for each other and a desire to make things work through ideas and action. The group acknowledges what people are good at or like to do, which builds confidence and uncovers skills. The group is creative and willing to pitch in so it is easy to lead a project. 
12. Did your club sponsor, organize or mentor a new Zonta Club? No, but we did encourage the District 3 scholarship winner to consider starting a group at her college.

Area, District & International Involvement
1. Three members attended the 2018 area workshop. We hope to participate in more conferences and workshops moving forward.
2. One first timer.
3. We always talk about events at those levels. And any who attend always report back to the group. This year we had a specific budget line, setting the expectation that someone would attend. We also took advantage of transportation offered by Suzanne Scalcione.
4. We try to provide assistance to attend  events. The club covers registration, and those attending try to carpool whenever possible. 

* * *

Public Relations
by Diane Greenberg
Co-President and Public Relations Chair, Zonta Club of Peconic Bay

Peconic Bay Zonta covers the East End of Long Island, and we focus on projects that will benefit that area. In particular, the nine members of ojr group focus on projects that improve that status of women and girls through service and advocacy. Through Zonta International, we also help women throughout the world achieve their goals.

Since we are a very small club, the Public Relations Committee consists of one person who uses her public affairs background to garner media attention for our projects. We do not have a newsletter, but we have a website that is kept current and interesting by member Mona Rowe. Although Mona lives in Hawaii, she is an active member, and we supply her with photos and descriptions of news events for our website.

As part of our public relations efforts, we send out news releases to local newspapers about all of our public events. For example, we sent out releases on the winners of all four of our club's scholarship recipients, along with their photos. This included a photo and write-up about Isabella Sorgi, a local student in a Riverhead high school, who won the District 3 Young Women in Public Affairs Award. Since Isabella did volunteer work with Somali refugee women and children in Finland, this news had an international slant. We make it a priority to mention in our news releases that the main objective of Zonta is to help women through service and advocacy.

Our public relations activities have resulted in gaining new members. Several embers said they decided to find out more about Zonta and subsequently joined our club because they either saw news about us in the local newspaper or they saw our website.

We sponsored a soup-tasting fundraiser this year at a member's home that was very successful financially, netting over $1,000 for our club, but it was also a public relations vehicle. We gave a talk about the goals of Zonta and the projects that our local club accomplished, and, as a result, one woman in attendance decided to become a member of our local club.

In addition, we held another successful fundraiser, a yard sale, and displayed a Zonta banner at the sale and told customers who were interested about Zonta's goals.

We have done our best to reach out to key members of our local community to let them know about our club and our service projects. This year, we touched base with Tijuana Fulford, founder and leader of the Butterfly Effect Project, a nonprofit community-oriented organization that aims to empower young girls by giving them the tools to assist in achieving emotionally stable and self-confident futures. At Christmas time, we purchased and gift-wrapped 50 journals and pens to give to girls in the program. We will continue to help the program in any way we can. In the near future, one of our members will lead a greeting card-making workshop with the girls.

Several of our members volunteer to sell woven goods made by Guatemalan women through a fair trade organization called Mayan Hands. For instance, we sold these goods at a local arts fair in Riverhead on Memorial Day weekend. At our booth we provided information about Zonta to those who were interested. Also, we have a sign that pubicizes Zonta at these events.

We are planning to print new index cards with key information about Zonta that we can hand out to interested persons at all of our events. In addition, we have started an archive of thank you letters from those in the community whom we have helped through our local service programs.

In the fall, we plan to team up with LUNAFEST, a traveling film festival celebrating and showcasing women in film. We will plan a fundraising event in which we will show short films by, for and about women at a local church. We may also offer space for vendors to showcase items for sale at the event. LUNAFEST will handle publicity, but we will supplement it as appropriate with flyers and/or a news release.

We look forward to the new year and making new alliances to empower women and girls both locally and internationally, and, in the process, perhaps expand our club’s membership and influence.

* * *

United Nations
by Liala Strotman
Co-President and Membership Chair, Zonta Club of Peconic Bay

During the June 2017-May 2018 year, Peconic Bay Zonta  continued to focus on the district goal of promoting events to increase international awareness (7). Our members developed meetings and programs that linked us to the goals of Zonta and the UN commission on the status of women. We also locally supported woman of many cultures in a variety of ways. 

As our group has made a conscious commitment to have partners, we have nurtured, and sustained our relationship with Mayan Hands, which supports Guatemalan women by showcasing and selling their handmade fair trade products. We were invited to participate once again at a Holiday Fair in Wading River, which included all women artists, and sold about $900 worth of products. People recognize the triple goodness of these products as the profits help families, the products are made of recycled materials, and there is increased awareness of the plight of women and the importance of women in business. At the Mosaic Street fair in Riverhead in May, we were given free space by another partner, East Ends Arts, and we sold over $400 worth of goods. We are in discussions about putting wares into their Christmas market in late fall. In each event we shared the story and triumph of these women, as well as the goals of Zonta International and its connection to the United Nations. Each time we sell goods, many Guatemalans choose to talk with us about their culture with great pride. The message that supporting women lifts up the whole community was stressed. The Mayan Hands mission statement is aligned with the United Nations, regarding the status of women.   

We also made a commitment to make a personal difference in the life of some individuals, through recognition and scholarships to pursue education in English as a second language, music and business. Isabella Sorgi has dual citizenship in Finland and the USA. Under our guidance, she applied for and received the District 3 Young Women in Public Affairs award. Prior to that, Peconic Bay Zonta awarded her a small scholarship and later invited her to dinner to honor her good work. Isabella worked for a social service organization that aided Somali women and children granted asylum. In a second internship, she worked with a Finnish political party and came to understand the complexity of immigration policy in Finland. Our other scholarship winners are on our website.

Peconic Bay Zonta supported Zonta International in joining 390 other organizations signing an open letter calling for funds for organizations in conflict-affected areas that support women. You will find the letter here on our website.

In addition, member Liala Strotman is in the process of submitting her name for the UN Committee. She plans to attend meetings next September with Pamela Morgan. Our membership hopes this will be the year for a group visit to the UN.