Sunday, January 15, 2017

Peconic Bay Awards ESL Scholarship to Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez (center) of Riverhead won a $300 scholarship from Peconic Bay Zonta, a service and advocacy group that works to improve the status of women.

Peconic Bay Zonta members Diane Greenberg (left) and Barbara Pierce joined Lopez, pictured with her award, at Suffolk County Community College’s eastern campus, where she successfully completed Level 3 of the school’s English as a Second Language (ESL) course.The local Zonta group awards the scholarship biannually to a female student in an ESL program who is studying to achieve an educational goal.

Lopez came to the U.S. from Guatemala eleven years ago. Her husband is also a native of Guatemala, and their two sons, ages 5 and 9, are learning to be bilingual. Lopez has a background in teaching, and she is currently a teacher’s aide in the Riverhead Head Start program. She serves as translator for the Spanish-speaking children in the program and also acts as a translator for some of the parents when they speak with the teacher.

Peconic Bay Zonta covers the East End of Long Island and is affiliated with Zonta International, which works to empower women worldwide through service and advocacy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Spotlight on Sweden

Peconic Bay member Annika Shapiro (center left; also pictured, from left: Diane Greenberg, Diane Loffredo, Liala Strotman and Linda Rundlett) hosted our December business meeting at her home. It was a special evening for the holiday season, with a Lucia Swedish dinner prepared by Annika, who grew up in Helsingborg, Sweden.

She described Swedish traditions and life in Sweden, where parents are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted, with parents entitled to nearly 80 per cent of their normal pay for 390 of those days. (For more information on family-friendly Sweden, click here.) Mindful of Zonta’s mission of empowering women and girls through service and advocacy, Annika also spoke on a personal level of the respect for women and their partnership with men in her home country.

Annika came to New York in 1964 as a stewardess with Pan Am (Pan American Airways) and has now lived in the US for 52 years! She joined Peconic Bay Zonta in 2016. “I have always wanted to have an opportunity to 'give back' to girls and women who are less fortunate than I am. I believe that being a member of Zonta will give me this opportunity both on a local as well as an international level,” she explained.

The 66 Zonta clubs in Sweden along with the five clubs in Latvia make up Zonta International District 21.

Dinner was glögg (a traditional drink in December), smörgås tårta (the shrimp/egg/caviar dish pictured) as a main course, and lingonberry parfait with meringues for dessert. – Photos by Linda Rundlett

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Local Zonta Volunteers Feed the Homeless

– Photo by Bill Greenberg
Peconic Bay Zonta co-president Diane Greenberg of Wading River joined other members of the local Zonta club to cook a holiday meal for approximately 30 homeless adults on eastern Long Island. Making a turkey dinner with all the fixings is a yearly volunteer service project members perform. Peconic Bay Zonta is a local branch of Zonta International, an organization that works to improve the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy.

The project is accomplished in cooperation with Maureen’s Haven, which provides support and compassionate services to homeless adults on the East End of Long Island. The food was brought to the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Cutchogue to be served to those in need by volunteers.

Below is Peconic Bay Zonta member Barbara Pierce (right), with Sacred Heart Church coordinator Connie McSherry at the community center in Cutchogue. Read the lovely thank-you note to Zonta from the church volunteers.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Change in Club Leadership

Mona S. Rowe holds a bouquet of yellow roses that Peconic Bay Zonta members gave her as a thank you for her eleven years of service as president of the club.

Beside her are Diane Greenberg (left) and Liala Strotman, who will serve as co-presidents starting in November 2016 when Mona and her husband move to their home in Honolulu, Hawaii, where Mona was born and raised.

Thanks in large part to Mona’s leadership, the club has been extraordinarily productive in pursuing projects to help women and their families through service and advocacy. Mona performed the many functions of president with excellence and enthusiasm. In addition, she took on the tasks of recording the minutes of each meeting, distributing them to club members, and posting them on the club’s website. Also, in recent years, she has served as the club’s photographer. Further, she fostered a camaraderie among club members that made meetings and service events sociable and fun.

Mona plans to stay active as a long-distance club member, and she will continue to maintain the club’s website.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Peconic Bay Zonta Wins 2016 United Nations Achievement Award

Mona S. Rowe, president of Peconic Bay Zonta, displays the 2016 United Nations (UN) Achievement Award that the local club won from Zonta District 3 for “outstanding achievement in promoting the mission and objectives of Zonta International.”  Rowe is surrounded by members of Peconic Bay Zonta and Suzanne Scalcione (far right), Area 1 Director, who is in charge of seven Zonta clubs encompassing Long Island, New York City and the Hudson Valley. Zonta District 3 includes clubs from portions of New York, all of New Jersey, part of Pennsylvania, and all of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. That's 29 clubs and about 650 individual Zonta members!

Zonta International works to empower women worldwide through service and advocacy. Based in Riverhead, Peconic Bay Zonta serves eastern Long Island.

During the past year, Peconic Bay highlighted Zonta International’s UN-related activities in several ways. One of the local club’s members, Liala Strotman of Wading River, attended the official commemoration of UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, held at the UN.

Peconic Bay also presented a film about human trafficking to audiences in Shoreham and in Patchogue, the second event in collaboration with another Zonta club in Suffolk County and one in Westchester. Titled “Not My Life” and narrated by actress Glenn Close, the film exposes slavery, domestic servitude and sexual exploitation of children. Pat Latona, Zonta International UN Representative and member of the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons, introduced the subject matter at both events and facilitated discussion afterwards. Latona is a member of the Zonta Club of Westchester.

Sponsored by Peconic Bay Zonta, the handicrafts of Guatemalan women — including baskets, scarves and handbags — were showcased and sold at two events in Wading River. Funds raised supported Mayan Hands, a fair-trade organization partnering with artisan women in Guatemala.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Audrie & Daisy: A Documentary About Rape

Fifteen-year-old Audrie Pott killed herself on September 12, 2012, eight days after she had been sexually assaulted at a party and pictures of the assault posted online.

At the Suffolk County Community College Eastern Campus, Peconic Bay Zonta attended a showing of Audrie & Daisy, a documentary about rape and social-media bullying involving under-age teens. Before the film began, we were invited to say a few words about Zonta International. Afterwards, the audience of 25 engaged in discussion about violence against women and girls. Serious stuff!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

This Young Woman Excels at Math!

The factorial function of a non-negative integer, denoted by N!, is the product of all positive integers less than or equal to N. It can also be defined recursively as N! = N * (N – 1)! Show the steps required to fully evaluate (((1! + 1)! + 1)! – 1)!

Can you solve the problem above?

Camille van der Watt can! And she did it before she started high school this September.

Recognizing her potential in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Peconic Bay Zonta and Brookhaven Women In Science (BWIS) paid for Camille's tuition at a workshop on scientific computing, held at Brookhaven National Laboratory this past summer.

At a recent event, Camille van der Watt described the summer workshop in scientific computing she took at Brookhaven Lab. She acknowledged and thanked Zonta and BWIS for their support. The woman seen on the screen to the right, Kathryn Meehan, was participating in the event from California via Skype. She is a Ph.D. student in physics at UC Davis and accepted a $1,000 prize given annually by BWIS. A good role model for Camille!

Every student who wished to participate in the workshop was given 10 questions to answer as part of the application process. The question above was #5.

Because space was limited, the selection process was very competitive. We learned through the workshop leader, David Biersach, a technology architect at Brookhaven Lab, that Camille was the first to complete early versions of the aptitude test and scored the highest.

This young woman excels at math!