Community Profile: Zonta
We at VSAC wanted to start sharing our community connections with you all. Our organization has been running for 34 years because of you! With all your support financially, emotionally, and volunteering hours. We are lucky to have you part of our extended community. Thank you. Today, we would like to shine a light on our Community Partner Zonta.
Zonta International was founded in 1919 in Buffalo, New York USA and their first president was Mary Jenkins. There is a rich history with Zonta, including Amelia Earhart. If you would like to see more, check out this short video. Their mission statement is as follows: Zonta International is a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.
Zonta Club of Victoria
The Zonta Victoria Club was chartered in April 1968. The charter president was Phoebe Noble, Dean of Math at the University of Victoria, ardent gardener known for her geraniums and assistance in redesigning flower beds at Government House. Phoebe Noble was also asked to be an observer at the UN.
“Our members have always been very active in service to the community as well as generously contributing to international projects. Victoria members proudly represent the club at District Conferences and International Conventions and a number of them have been active at the district and international level.”
Today, Zonta Victoria services four educational institutions locally, four health & welfare organizations, and three organizations who combat violence. On top of service through money and support, they also are huge advocates of our local and international community. Zonta looks for ways to make a difference through raising awareness and having discussions. See what these amazing women are up to on their Facebook page or their website.
VSAC and Zonta became community partners in 2011. Since then, Zonta has regularly donated to our Centre for our Sexual Assault Response Team, which provides a range of services for recent survivors of sexual assault. Zonta’s excitement to connect with us with our programs is always evident and beyond their financial support, they are always willing to lend a hand.
I was asked by Zonta member Helen Arnott to participate as a judge for their Young Women in Public Affairs scholarship award. I was quickly drawn in and I wanted to participate. So, with their guidelines and the 12 wonderful applicants, three of us judges went to work. My first step was just to be present as possible with each application. Let my spirit be inspired by these young women’s spirits. And wow, yep, that did the trick. I felt the words pop off the page and wrap themselves around my heart. Talks about equality, right, visions, philanthropy, zest, school spirit, art, business, passion, public speaking, and volunteerism. Truly this section of young people in Greater Victoria are making their communities better and our futures WAY brighter. The fact that they are so well versed in local and global issues is extraordinary. I know in my younger years of volunteering I knew a lot about my local community, but I didn’t have a scope such as these young folk do now about the true issues we are all facing today. I an in awe of all of these passionate individuals, and I felt honoured to read into a glimpse of their service and advocacy.
After us judges tallied our scores, it was wonderful to see we all had a top choice for whom should receive the first prize award. When I read this applicant’s application, I had shivers running all over my skin. I had tears well up. I had something move in my stressed little heart. I found movement to fully breath calmly for a moment and pause. I had an overwhelming feeling that, “We are all going to be okay. We have this human here on earth.” Inhale. Exhale. And that my folks, is a hope that we can all feel proud of. So many of our youth today are hella impressive. They are smart, caring, intuitive and hard working. I am humbled in their clarity.
After the judging process came the best part! We were all invited to attend the awards dinner so that we can share in the energy of the successful applicant’s. So, Lindsay, Manager of Resource Development from VSAC and I went to the University Club for dinner and awards on Thursday March 23, 2017. Here, is where I exploded in joy and fervor. We sat amongst the 21 Zonta members, honoured guests, friends of Zonta and the returning award recipient from last year. While this year’s recipient was unable to attend in person, she sent us a video speech to all watch together. In that moment, I was so happy for technology and all the humans previous to be passionate enough to create such an opportunity for us to partake in this ceremony through moving pixels on a screen. What happened again, was my entire body responded to this young women’s accomplishments and desires. Her commitments and attitudes. I cried, laughed, gasped, and got shivers. This evening was a blessing. Here I was, surrounded by people of all ages, all backgrounds, all passions, all standing in solidarity that work is yet to be done to heal this world, and in this small room with wide visions, it feels possible.
Thank you to Zonta for all their continued inspiration. Thank you to all of the young people that are out there helping others shine brighter. Thank you to VSAC for providing me this unique experience. And thank you to Helen for the invite to be a judge, it was my pleasure.