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!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Exploring Peru

We started our recent September business dinner with pisco sours, a Peruvian cocktail made with aguardiente distilled from fermented grapes. The main course included potatoes and chicken, staples in Peru (along with guinea pig, which no one had the courage to prepare). To finish, we enjoyed a Peruvian jelly-roll cake filled with beach plum jelly, a Long Island embellishment.

The meal was inspired by Peconic Bay member Liala Strotman, who 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 member Barbara Pierce provides country stats on birth rate, infant mortality, fertility rate and literacy. The numbers tell something about the status of women in a particular country. Here’s a sampling of country stats from around the world. (Think of the cuisines we have explored!)

                birth rate         infant mortality                   fertility rate                     literacy
                (births/1,000)  (deaths/1,000 live births)  (children born/woman)   (% over 15 read, write)
                                       Total    Male    Female                                             Total    Male     Female

China      13.71               21.16   19.43   23.08         1.77                                90.9     95.1      86.5
Italy           9.18                 3.38     3.59     3.16         1.39                                98.4     98.8      98   
India        22.22               30.15   34.61   25.17         2.72                                61        71.8      50.5  
Liberia     37.25               74.52   78.96   69.95         5.13                                57.5     73.3      41.6
Mexico    20.04               19.01    20.91  17.02          2.37                                91       92.4      89.6
Peru        18.28               19.59    21.79  17.29          2.18                                94.5    97.3      91.7
U.S.         13.68                 5.98      6.64    5.3            2.06                                99       99         99

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Summary Reports

The "Zonta Rose" was introduced at the
1984 Zonta International Convention in Sydney, Australia.
At the conclusion of each Zonta year, Peconic Bay's president submits a summary report to Zonta District 3. Likewise, chairs submit achievement reports. See below highlights from all reports for June 2015 through May 2016.

President's report – Advocacy: Leadership Matters: At the 2015 District 3 spring workshop for areas 1 and 2, Area 1 Director Patricia Latona suggested to the Peconic Bay club that we organize an event on human trafficking, drawing on the experience of her Zonta Club of Westchester. Pat knew that in recent years, Peconic Bay had looked for activities that 1. increase our international involvement and 2. strengthen the club’s advocacy record.
     Working over many months with Pat, Peconic Bay member Diane Greenberg organized a program on human trafficking at a local library in October 2015. The audience numbered close to 30. Pat was the speaker and discussion leader for the evening. Her knowledge of the topic and experience in presenting the material made the night a success. Pat is a Zonta International representative to the United Nations and is active on the UN Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons.
      She started the program with an overview of human trafficking and then showed the film “Not My Life.” This documentary takes viewers into a shocking world where millions of children are exploited through forced labor, domestic servitude, begging, sex tourism, sexual violence and child soldiering. The ensuing discussion was lively, and Pat was careful to suggest ways that folks could take action now and work toward long-range solutions to the problem.
     Afterwards, Peconic Bay member Kathy Walker thought we could bring the program to her community in Patchogue. Deborah McKee of the Zonta Club of Suffolk was in the audience. Together, Kathy and Deborah, joined by Peconic Bay members Linda Rundlett and Liala Strotman, arranged a successful event at Kathy’s Patchogue church in January 2016. This time, the headcount was over 60.
     Through these two events, Peconic Bay expanded our efforts on the advocacy front and increased awareness of human trafficking around the world. The bonus: joining forces with other Zonta clubs. Thanks to Pat of Westchester; Diane, Kathy, Linda, and Liala of Peconic Bay; and Deborah of Suffolk. PS: Peconic Bay attracted two new members through this activity.
– Mona S. Rowe, President

Advocacy – Completed advocacy activities in two primary areas: 1. Contacted elected officials to pass anti-trafficking legislation and to help victims of domestic violence; 2. hosted two programs on human trafficking. Also have begun a dialogue with The Retreat, which supports victims of domestic violence.
– Barbara Pierce, Advocacy Chair

Membership – Membership remains stable at nine, with all of us eyeing potential members. While we wish to add additional members to insure fresh ideas and sufficient help in projects, we are finding this present membership number and group of women to be working extremely well. Peconic Bay’s membership plan is posted on our website, updated by Diane Greenberg for the years 2016-2020.
– Liala Strotman, Membership Chair

Public Relations – Since we are a very small club, our resources for public relations are limited. Nevertheless, we have garnered articles and photos in the local media by issuing news releases and photos about our club’s activities and targeting them to key publications. We update our website at least on a monthly basis. We also printed business cards for all members this year so that we can hand them out to those interested in our club, and we purchased a new banner to be displayed at our public events.
– Diane Greenberg, Public Relations Chair

Service – This year, we focussed on Maureen’s Haven, which helps the homeless on eastern Long Island; Mayan Hands, a fair trade organization that benefits women and girls n Guatemala; and Pecnic Bay's ESL scholarships for women at the Suffolk County Community College Eastern Campus (Riverhead.) Looking ahead, we will participate in the AdoptaFamily program through The Retreat. We continue to discuss ways in which we can raise money and interact with the local community.
– Kathy Walker, Service Chair

United Nations – Peconic Bay highlights Zonta International’s activities at the United Nations in different ways. Perhaps most exciting was that Liala Strotman attended the official commemoration of the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, held at the UN on November 25, 2015. She brought her orange scarf to a club meeting, where she shared information from this event. We would like to schedule a club visit to the UN in the next few months to increase our collective knowledge of the UN.
– Mary Ann Miller, United Nations Liaison