Thursday, November 16, 2017

Peconic Bay Zonta Wins 2017 Second Place United Nations Achievement Award

Surrounded by members of Peconic Bay Zonta, Suzanne Scalcione, Area 1 Director, displays the 2017 United Nations (UN) Achievement Award, Second Place, which the local club won from Zonta District 3 for promoting the mission and objectives of Zonta International in an outstanding manner.  Zonta International works to empower women worldwide through service and advocacy.

While Peconic Bay Zonta represents eastern Long Island, Zonta Area 1 encompasses Long Island, New York City, and the Hudson Valley. Zonta District 3 consists of clubs in New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and portions of New York and Pennsylvania. This is the second consecutive year that the local club won the UN award, taking first place last year.

During June 2016 to May 2017, Peconic Bay Zonta focused on the district goal of promoting events to increase international awareness, developing meetings and programs to highlight the cultural traditions related to the role of women in Sweden and China.

Annika Shapiro (standing, far right) hosted the club’s December meeting in her home by preparing a special Swedish holiday dinner. Annika, who grew up in Helsingborg, Sweden, described Swedish life and traditions related to women’s role in society. The club members learned, for instance, that Sweden offers parents of newborns or adopted children liberal paid parental leave.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Peconic Bay Welcomes Christine and Diane!

Peconic Bay Zonta welcomes Christine Killorin (above, left) and Diane Loffredo (below, left) as new members in the new Zonta year, June 2017 through May 2018.

Diane was drawn to Zonta because “women’s issues” are important to her. Likewise, Christine cites an interest in “women and girls’ empowerment.”

Peconic Bay is a local chapter of Zonta International, which has 30,000 members in 66 countries. More about Zonta:


Zonta International is a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.


Zonta International envisions a world in which women’s rights are recognized as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential.

In such a world, women have access to all resources and are represented in decision making positions on an equal basis with men.

In such a world, no woman lives in fear of violence.
– Photos by Diane Greenberg

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Peconic Bay Zonta Awards $500 Music Scholarship at East End Arts

Scholarship winner Margarita Basurto
Margarita Basurto, a 13-year-old Riverhead student, has received a $500 scholarship from Peconic Bay Zonta to take violin lessons for the fall semester at East End Arts in Riverhead. Margarita started taking lessons about a year ago and will continue private instruction with professional violinist and educator Nicholas Orifici.

“We are delighted to offer our first music scholarship to this deserving student,” said Diane Greenberg, co-president of Peconic Bay Zonta. “We value our partnership with East End Arts as both of our organizations help to make our community as strong and vibrant as it can be.”

Based in Riverhead, Peconic Bay Zonta covers eastern Long Island and is affiliated with Zonta International, which works to empower women worldwide through service and advocacy.

Serving the five East End towns of Long Island, East End Arts ( is a multi-award-winning not-for-profit organization committed to building and enriching the community through the arts by way of education, support and advocacy.

The music school at East End Arts was founded by the late Ann Ullman Hirsch as the Eastern Suffolk School of Music, in 1977. Peconic Bay Zonta honored Ann Hirsch at a “Celebration of Women” event co-sponsored with Brookhaven Women in Science at Brookhaven National Laboratory, in 2013. East End Arts has managed the music school since 1995.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Annual Achievement Reports, 2016 – 2017

– Zonta Club of Melbourne
At the conclusion of each Zonta year, Peconic Bay submits achievement reports that highlight our activities in various categories. See below our reports for June 2016 through May 2017.

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

Cooked and delivered complete turkey dinner for 30 homeless in cooperation with Maureen’s Haven, which serves homeless adults on eastern Long Island.

Sponsored two $300 scholarships to women who successfully completed English as a Second Language course at Suffolk County Community College to encourage them to attain their education.

In partnership with Brookhaven Women in Science, recognized potential and nurtured talent of a high school student by paying her tuition to attend a Brookhaven National Laboratory workshop on scientific computing.

Hosted several fundraisers (see below) and invited potential new members. Co-presidents keep former members informed of club’s activities and make sure that all current members follow their interests and passions that coincide with our club’s goals.

Co-presidents Diane Greenberg and Liala Strotman attended Zonta International District 3 Spring 2017 workshop where we learned about various aspects of Zonta that we could share with our local club members.

Other: (ie: Fundraising, Special Events, Club Sales)
Peconic Bay Zonta won the 2016 United Nations Achievement Award. Co-president Liala Strotman attended the official commemoration of UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women held at the UN. We also presented a film about human trafficking, titled “Not My Life” at a library and church in Suffolk County. Pat Latona, Zonta UN Representative and member of the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons, introduced and led a discussion of the subject matter at both events. We also partnered with Mayan Hands, a fair trade organization in Guatemala, to sell handicrafts made by Mayan women

Our club hosted two Chinese cooking lessons and meals at a club member’s home in honor of the Chinese New Year. The well-attended events garnered over $1,000 for our club. Participants were informed of Zonta’s mission.

We also partnered with a local business, The Painted Canvas, to sponsor a “Paint and Sip” event. We made over $400 at this event. Co-president Liala Strotman gave a brief presentation on Zonta to the participants.

We attended the showing of “Audrie and Daisy,” a film about rape and social media bullying held at Suffolk County Community College’s eastern campus. Before the film, then-president Mona Rowe gave a brief overview of Zonta International. Later we participated in a discussion of the film with about 25 participants.

Peconic Bay Zonta members and potential members participated in the Women’s March on January 21, 2017 in Washington DC, New York City, and Honolulu, Hawaii.

* * *

by Mona Rowe
Webmaster, Zonta Club of Peconic Bay

For the Zonta year 2016-2017, in support of the Zonta mission as well as specific advocacy goals from District 3, Peconic Bay took action in the following ways (click on links for details and photos):

Contacted elected representatives on various issues

  • February 2017 – Voiced concerns about the New York State budget’s effect on domestic violence survivors and service providers
  • January 2017 – Encouraged Congressman Lee Zeldin to become a co-sponsor for Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s bill to remove the deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment

Participated in the following events

  • April 2017 – Peconic Bay Zonta was represented at the International Women’s Day event at Stony Brook University, in collaboration with Brookhaven Women In Science at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
  • January 2017 – To support the Women’s March on Washington and promote Zonta’s Stop Violence Against Women program, Peconic Bay Zonta had a presence at three locations: Christine Killorin marched in Washington, D.C.; Liala Strotman went to New York City; and Mona Rowe was at the march in Honolulu. See post on Peconic Bay’s website for details and photos.
  • October 2016 – At the local community college, Peconic Bay members attended a showing of Audrie & Daisy, a documentary about rape and social-media bullying involving underage teens. Before the film began, we said a few words about Zonta International. Afterwards, the audience of 25 engaged in discussion about violence against women and girls. See post on Peconic Bay’s website for details and photos.
  • July 2016 – Jointly, Peconic Bay Zonta and Brookhaven Women In Science (BWIS) covered Camille van der Watt's tuition for a summer workshop on scientific computing, held at Brookhaven National Laboratory. A high school student, Camille excels at math and shows a strong interest in pursuing higher education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In a later talk at Brookhaven Lab, Camille acknowledged the support of Zonta and BWIS.

Organized sessions for member education and development

  • December 2016 – For the club’s December business meeting, Annika Shapiro, a native of Sweden, prepared a traditional Lucia Swedish dinner. During the evening, Annika described 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. Annika also spoke on a personal level of the respect for women and their partnership with men in her home country.
  • September 2016 – Peconic Bay’s September business dinner centered around Peruvian food and a discussion of the status of women in that country. The evening was inspired by Peconic Bay member Liala Strotman, who had recently returned from a vacation in Peru, and our guest, Susan Smith, who visited Peru several times while she lived in Ecuador years ago to teach English. Peconic Bay often plans country-themed dinners, for which advocacy chair Barbara Pierce provides country stats on birth rate, infant mortality, fertility rate and literacy.

* * *

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

Membership efforts are intended to align with the goals of the Biennium 2016-2018

  1. Dues paid last year 9, dues paid this year 9
  2. In May we lost two members. Liz Freher is moving to Florida but intends to join a group there. Barbara Pierce after many years of service has decided that her time will be devoted to tutoring but has agreed to continue to receive emails and assist when possible. She was our advocacy chair. Mona Rowe has volunteered to take on that role.
  3. The membership plan is the same as last year and can be found on our website. We will be looking to replace the one or both of the members we lost. 
  4. Our goal was to recruit at least one new member and maintain 9 members for a total of 10.  We lost 2 and gained 2. We did not achieve our goal of a net gain of 1.  (We were ahead until May.)
  5. While we do not have a retreat, we do have planning for the year ahead embedded in the fall, winter and spring meetings. We brainstorm and revise and actually accomplish quite a bit. 
  6. Mentoring program is informal. The person who recommends the new member and the president generally explain expectations and responsibilities. 
  7. We are definitely more visible and have used our fundraisers to raise awareness as well. We have instituted a cooking class and craft event, which we intend to continue. 
  8. We retain our members by making meetings fun, brief and interesting, and most importantly work on projects that align with member passions and Zonta goals. 
  9. Membership is kept informed by forwarded emails, discussions of upcoming events in meetings, and reporting back on anything Zonta discovered through interaction with other members. 
  10. Crafts and cooking were highlighted.
  11. Our group is small so we discuss and share all responsibilities. Basically everyone gets some leadership experience, which we support with brainstorming and assistance. Co-presidents attended a workshop recently and shared what they learned. We believe in the empowerment of the individual by achievement. 
  12. We did not sponsor or organize a new Zonta group.

Area, District and International Involvement
  1. Co-presidents attended the 2017 spring area workshop. We see the value and have asked the treasurer to put a line in our budget to cover fees.
  2. Neither of us had attended before. 
  3. Attendance of members at area, district and international events is a goal moving forward. Mona Rowe did attend Lunafest, an event sponsored by Zonta in O’ahu, Hawaii. We believe we must nurture attendance.
  4. We were reimbursed for registration. We will have money built into our budget to attend events both local, national and international. 

There were changes this year: some members retired, some moved away, some focused elsewhere. We survived, had successful events, and bonded around women and their issues. 

* * *

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

Peconic Bay Zonta covers East End of Long Island, and we focus on projects that will benefit that area. In particular, the nine members of our group focus on projects that improve the 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 issue news releases about all of our public events.  For example, in January 2017, we gave a scholarship to a student who completed an English as a Second Language course at Suffolk County Community College’s eastern campus. We sent a photo and news release about the scholarship to the local media, and we posted the photo and caption on our website. We helped to empower the scholarship recipient, Myra Lopez, by encouraging her to continue to focus on her language skills, which help her in her job as a teacher’s aide.

We also posted photos of members and potential members at women’s marches on January 21, 2017 in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Honolulu, Hawaii. Mona will occasionally post photos and captions of Zonta events she attends in Honolulu, and we are interested in making a connection with that Zonta group to share ideas to further fulfill our mission of advancing the status of women.

Our new fundraising efforts have been very successful this year, and we have taken photos at each event and sent them to the local media and posted them on our website. For example, one of our members who used to own a catering business hosted a series of two Chinese cooking lessons and a lunch/dinner for 16 women, garnering over $1,000 for our club. The event celebrated Chinese New Year and we discussed the status of women in China, cognizant of our international mission. 

We also held a successful “Paint and Sip” event at a local business, The Painted Canvas. The business helped us to get customers for the event, and gave us about 20 percent of the proceeds. Again we took photos at the event and posted them on our website. The publicity was important for both the business and our club. 

We hope to continue to form new business and community partnerships and publicize them in the future. For instance, we are planning to hold a series of “Women and the Arts” events over the next year for fundraising and to gain public recognition of our club. On our agenda are classes to be offered in dried flower arranging, felt jewelry making, and creative greeting card creation.

Mona plans to take a Zonta webinar on websites, which will focus on putting a public face on our efforts.  Our club may consider starting a Facebook site in the future.

Our club’s website, which contains photos and information about all of the activities mentioned above, plus more, is accessed at:

* * *

United Nations
by Mary Ann Miller
Treasurer, Scholarship Chair, and UN Liaison, Zonta Club of Peconic Bay

During the June 2016-May 2017 year, Peconic Bay Zonta focused on the district goal of promoting events to increase international awareness (#7). Our members developed meetings and programs to highlight the cultural traditions related to the role of women in Sweden and China.

Annika Shapiro hosted the club’s December 2016 meeting in her home and prepared a special evening for the holiday season, a Lucia Swedish dinner. In addition to a delicious meal, Annika who grew up in Helsingborg, Sweden, described Swedish life and traditions related to women’s role in society. Club members were surprised to learn that Sweden has very liberal paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted.

In January 2017, Annika hosted two fundraiser cooking classes attended by a total of sixteen community members to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Rooster. The menu consisted of traditional favorites including Sweet and Sour Soup, Mandarin Beef and Mo-Shu-Ro-Pork with Chinese pancakes. Sampling was encouraged and the conversation turned to a discussion of the status and lives of women and children in today’s China.

The Chinese cooking classes were successful as fundraisers to support the activities of Peconic Bay Zonta but were also designed to increase international cultural awareness. The projects developed by Peconic Bay Zonta support and advocate for women in our local Long Island, NY, community as well as internationally. These activities by extension support the goals of Zonta International. These events were publicized in Peconic Bay’s blog (

Peconic Bay has continued our ongoing relationship with Mayan Hands, an organization that supports fair traded handicrafts of Guatemalan women. A booth showcasing a variety of unique baskets, friendship bracelets and purses was set-up at the Riverhead NY Street Fair, May 2017. Sales totaled $500 and went directly to the Guatemalan women who crafted the goods. This booth provided a good forum for conversation about the status of women in developing countries.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Partnering with East End Arts in Riverhead

photo by Kathy Walker

East End Arts in Riverhead hosted Peconic Bay Zonta’s August meeting at their art gallery.

East End Arts Executive Director Patricia Snyder and Education Director Diane Giardi (see photo above, third and fourth from left) showed a film about their organization and discussed possible ways our Zonta group could partner with them to benefit the local community. Zonta members in attendance were: (from left) Diane Greenberg, Liala Strotman, Annika Shapiro, Linda Rundlett, and (not pictured) Kathy Walker.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Peconic Bay Zonta Awards ESL Scholarship to Maria Guadron

Maria Guadron (center) of Calverton won a $300 scholarship from Peconic Bay Zonta, a service and advocacy group that works to improve the status of women. Peconic Bay Zonta scholarship chair Mary Ann Miller( left) and co-president Diane Greenberg presented Guadron with the 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) program. The local Zonta group awards the scholarship biannually to a female student in the college’s ESL program who is studying to achieve an educational goal.

A native of El Salvador, Guadron came to the U.S. thirteen months ago. Having earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in health services management, Guadron worked as a nurse in her native country. Learning English is her priority in her educational goals since she would like to pursue her career in nursing in the U.S. Also, a proficiency in English will help her communicate bilingually with her 10 year-old son and eventually, her newborn daughter.

Based in Riverhead, 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.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Yard Sale Success!

Peconic Bay Zonta co-presidents Liala Strotman (left) and Diane Greenberg found hidden treasures in their homes for their club’s fundraiser yard sale. Five members participated in the very successful sale, which featured items as diverse as a Nordic track, hand-made jewelry and signed original artwork.

The club made a profit of $835 from the sale, which will be used to fund scholarships for female students who are taking English as a Second Language courses at the local community college. Friends of Zonta baked breads for the sale and helped to distribute leftover goods to local charities.