Taking its name from a Sioux Indian word meaning “honest and trustworthy”, the Zonta Club of Charles County works to empower the lives of women, both in the local community and around the world. Zonta is entering the final days of preparation for their 29th Annual Fashion Show, and member Kelley Rollins took some time out of planning to share her organization’s story with us.
Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)
A: Founded in 1919, Zonta International is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. With more than 30,000 members belonging to more than 1,200 Zonta Clubs in 66 countries and geographic areas, Zontians all over the world volunteer their time, talents and support to local and international service projects, as well as scholarship programs aimed at fulfilling Zonta’s mission and objectives. These objectives include: improving the legal, political, economic, educational, health and professional status of women at the global and local level through service and advocacy; working for the advancement of understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of executives in business and the professions; promoting justice and universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; being united internationally to foster high ethical standards, to implement service programs and to provide mutual support and fellowship for members who serve their communities, their nations and the world. Zonta International, its districts and its clubs are nonsectarian and nonpartisan.
Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?
A: Recently, Zonta Club of Charles County presented a check for $25,000 to LifeStyles of Maryland for the support of Gayle’s House, a safe house for victims and their children who have fled to escape their abuser. Gayle’s House was named after Gayle Cooke, a mother of six and a crime victims’ support coordinator for the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office, who was shot and killed in her La Plata home in 2000 while protecting her daughter from an estranged boyfriend. This is a huge and very rewarding accomplishment for our club.
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
A: The biggest challenge that we face is getting the word out there and preventing violence against women worldwide. This is why we try to focus on: raising awareness of and improving education about violence against women and children; implementing, promoting and enforcing local laws and policies that protect women and victims of violence; and providing medical, legal, rehabilitation and reintegration services for survivors of violence. In cooperation with the United Nations, its agencies and other nongovernmental organizations, Zonta International has assisted victims and potential victims of violence and human trafficking around the globe.
Q: Are there any upcoming events?
A: Our 29th Annual Fashion Show will be held on Friday March 28, 2014 at the Greater Waldorf Jaycees starting at 5:30 p.m. This year’s theme will be “I’m Every Woman”. Tickets are on sale for $55 per person and will include dinner. There will also be a Silent Auction, Gift for Gift and Raffles during the evening. For tickets, you can contact a Zonta Club Member or go online to www.zontacharlescounty.org. We are also asking participants to bring a new or gently used timeless classic for “Attire To Inspire” a wardrobe clothing drive for women in transition to benefit Lifestyles of Maryland. If you have an item for “Attire to Inspire” please go to our website and look for the drop off locations, or bring them by the Waldorf Jaycee’s the night of the Fashion Show. This is the club’s biggest fundraiser.
Q: How can people get involved with your organization?
A: There are numerous ways to get involved. Join Zonta Club of Charles County and become part of a group of more than 30,000 individuals who belong to Zonta International who are working together to change the lives of women and girls in our local communities and around the world. Zonta Club of Charles County holds meetings once per month. From monthly meetings, our club plans and conducts service and advocacy projects to improve women’s lives in a variety of ways.
A few examples of our club’s service and advocacy club projects are:
- Supporting Gayle’s House, a woman’s shelter for victims of domestic violence
- Posting messages in the community and through social media that raise awareness of human trafficking and encourage people to take a stand against this crime
- Raising money for the Zonta International Foundation
- The Amelia Earhart Fellowship
- The Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship Award
- The Young Women in Public Affairs Scholarship Award
- Local High School and College Scholarships
- RAVE Walk (Rape and Violence Eradication) in October
- Making dresses for the Dress A Girl Around The World organization