Thursday, March 15, 2018

All Girls Are Special!

Margarita Basurto in a violin lesson
with Nicholas Orifici 
at East End Arts School
In 2017 . . . Peconic Bay Zonta gave a music scholarship to young Margarita Basurto, a violin student at the East End Arts School. Excited by Margarita’s progress, we have renewed her scholarship at the school.

Recently, Zonta members Liala Strotman and Annika Shapiro sat in on one of Margarita’s lessons with her teacher Nicholas Orifici (see Orifici's faculty bio here).

Said Annika, “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. Recognizing Camille’s potential in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), both organizations were happy to support her participation.

Today, according to David Biersach, her mentor at Brookhaven Lab, 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 at BNL.

COMING UP: In 2001, Zonta giving gets a girl airborne – literally!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Zonta Rose Day, March 8

– Zonta Club of Shreveport
Zonta International celebrates Rose Day on March 8, which is also International Women's Day. On this day, Zonta members worldwide – 30,000 in 66 countries – take stock of progress made in gender equality, call for change, and celebrate those who work to improve the lives of women and girls around the world.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof also champions the focus on women. Here’s what he wrote in his introduction to the NYT 2018 guide to making the world a better place:

“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. Globally, moms even tend to breastfeed their sons longer than they do their daughters. Only one company in six worldwide has a female top manager. Girls are 50 percent more likely than boys to never attend any school at all, according to Unesco. A United Nations study of 10,000 men in the Asia/Pacific region found that almost one-quarter acknowledged having raped a woman.”

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’s Riverhead campus. The college’s ESL program equips second-language learners with the linguistic ability necessary to thrive academically, professionally and socially. Immigrants, in particular, benefit because better English skills will ultimately assist their ability to find work, to have an income to buy goods and services, to pay taxes, and to live cohesively within the community.

Below are the women who have received Peconic Bay’s ESL scholarships to date, starting at the top with our latest awardee.

   Ana C. Aucapina Tigre, East Hampton, originally from Ecuador
   Maria Guadron, Calverton, originally from El Salvador
   Myra Lopez, Riverhead, from Guatemala
   Zhuzhanna Mihal, Moriches, native of Ukraine
   Ginet Rendon, Hampton Bays, originally from Colombia
   Lilian P. Garces, East Hampton, native of Columbia
   Inci Tubluk, Wading River, originally from Turkey
   Nelly Abad, East Hampton, from Ecuador
   Maria Paula Sierra Narvaez, Montauk, native of Columbia
   Veronica Rivas, Amagansett, from Columbia

COMING UP: All girls are special!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

An Open Letter from Zonta International

Charo Mina-Rojas, an Afro-Colombian human rights defender, speaking at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security
Zonta International joined 390 other organizations in signing an open letter to support women and women’s organizations from conflict-affected countries. All are calling for “political and financial support from the international community, not empty promises.”

This action was taken on October 16, 2017, just days after the United States government enacted the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on October 6, 2017. The bipartisan act will strengthen efforts to prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflict by increasing women’s participation in negotiation and mediation processes. 

Here are three things you should know about the new law:

It recognizes the critical link between women’s participation and peace – Research shows that higher levels of gender equality are associated with a lower propensity for conflict, both between and within states. And data from countries around the world demonstrate that women’s inclusion in peacekeeping units, police forces, and the security sector improves accountability and decreases abuses against civilians.

It requires a U.S strategy to grow women’s participation in security efforts – The law requires training for diplomats, development professionals, and security personnel to support the inclusion of female negotiators, meditators, and peace builders around the world.

It reflects a growing global movement to advance women’s inclusion in the security sector – To date, 69 countries have launched national action plans to increase women’s participation in security processes and improve women’s protection from threats of violence. These countries range from developing nations like Afghanistan and Kenya to high-income countries like Japan and the United Kingdom.

You can read the open letter here. Be sure to scroll down to see all 391 signatories, with Zonta International at the end. The list is impressive!

COMING UP: Zonta Rose Day is March 8, which coincides with International Women’s Day.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

East Hampton Resident Wins Peconic Bay Zonta ESL Scholarship

Photo by Paul Turano
Ana C. Aucapina Tigre of East Hampton won a $300 scholarship from Peconic Bay Zonta, a service and advocacy group that works to improve the status of women. Peconic Bay Zonta Co-president Diane Greenberg (left) gave Aucapina Tigre her award at Suffolk County Community College’s eastern campus, where she has been taking the school’s English as a Second Language (ESL) courses to improve her language skills. The local Zonta group awards the scholarship biannually to a female student in an ESL program who is studying to achieve an educational goal.

Aucapina Tigre came to the U.S. from Ecuador nine years ago. She works as a line cook at Page 63 Main in Sag Harbor. She would like to improve her English and earn her General Equivalency Diploma so that she can progress in her career and perhaps eventually become a sous chef or executive chef. She said that she strives hard to learn English and advance her education for her 11-year-old son, who is still in Ecuador. She has not seen him in nine years, but she talks to him every day and hopes some day he may join her in the U.S.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Doing Business: Planning Fundraising and Service Projects for 2018

Peconic Bay Zonta members (from left) Kathy Walker, Annika Shapiro, Liala Strotman, Betsy Kaplan and Linda Rundlett (along with Diane Loffredo and Diane Greenberg, not shown) held their monthly meeting at Annika's house on December 13, which is Saint Lucia’s feast day in Sweden. The popular event in Sweden is also known as the Christian festival of light.

Annika, a native of Sweden, greeted guests with a delicious hot mug of glogg, a Swedish spiced wine drink, as they came in from a freezing cold night. Club members discussed fundraising and service projects planned for 2018 as they enjoyed a potluck dinner.

After dinner and dessert, Kathy and others stayed on to wrap 50 journals for donation to girls in the Butterfly Effect Project. This nonprofit community group based in Riverhead, New York, works to empower young girls by giving them tools to help them achieve academic success and an emotionally stable and self-confident future.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Soup's On!

From tomato dill to beef barley with lemon, five delicious soups were on the menu at Annika Shapiro’s kitchen on a brisk fall day. A Peconic Bay Zonta member, Annika held a soup-tasting fundraiser for sixteen women 
at her home.

Annika put the finishing touches on the five soups, answered everyone's questions about soup making, and passed out the five recipes, plus a recipe for homemade bread, which she served with the meal.

Peconic Bay Zonta co-president Liala Strotman helped with the soup preparation, and her counterpart, co-president Diane Greenberg, gave a short talk about Zonta. Together with fees for the tasting, donations and proceeds from a raffle of a soup tureen, the event raised $1,070.

Thanks to a generous donation from Diane Giardi of East End Arts, who also helped with serving the soups, each of the participants took home a beautiful ceramic bowl made at Greenport Pottery as part of an “Empty Bowls” project. As part of this hunger-fighting program, each guest chooses a bowl to keep as a reminder that there are always empty bowls in the world. In exchange for the bowl, the guests give a minimum donation to feed the hungry. Thus, part of the soup-tasting proceeds will go to Island Harvest, a food bank for Long Island.

Photo credits: top, Bill Greenberg; bottom, Liala Strotman

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Local Zonta Volunteers Feed the Homeless

Peconic Bay Zonta members Liala Strotman of Wading River (left) and Mary Ann Miller of Hampton Bays pack up a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal for the homeless.

Liala Strotman, co-president of Peconic Bay Zonta (second from right), and her volunteer helper Betsy Kaplan (second from left) join volunteers from Maureen’s Haven to feed the homeless at  the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Cutchogue.

Members from Peconic Bay Zonta prepared a Thanksgiving meal for approximately 30 homeless adults on eastern Long Island. Club members make a turkey dinner with all the fixings as a yearly volunteer service project. Peconic Bay Zonta is a local chapter of Zonta International, an organization that works to empower women and girls worldwide through service and advocacy.

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