Each year, the Zonta Club of Northern Beaches Inc., District 24, holds an annual breakfast fundraising event for International Women's Day.
At the event, Hon. Rob Stokes, local state member, announces the Pittwater Woman of the Year Award, an annual award recognizing the outstanding achievements and contributions of local women.
The club’s local area is known as Pittwater and this year, the Zonta Club of Northern Beaches Inc was selected to receive the award.
Rob Stokes started his address saying “Volunteer members of the Zonta Club of Northern Beaches today are acknowledged as the first ever joint-recipients of the Pittwater Woman of the Year award.”
He continued by saying “as one of the most energetic, passionate and effective volunteer groups in our community – with the loyal assistance of countless supporters throughout our community – the group has been able to directly assist women in our local area, as well as in remote corners of the world. The work they do to fund, prepare and dispatch birthing kits to women in developing countries is not only inspiring, it is also a powerful way of connecting communities at opposite sides of the world. Last year 4,800 kits were financed and assembled. … This award is a great way to acknowledge their inspirational efforts and the positive messages they spread throughout our community.”
The advocacy work of the club has a long history and the projects continue to expand.
The club provides support to four local agencies, including the refuge and shelter.
Kitchen starter kits are purchased and delivered to women moving from the Refuge to
School backpacks with stationery, book lists, and lunch boxes for children from Kindergarten to Year 7 are also given.
Support programs are also offered for women at these centers, which provide assistance for them to attend courses giving them skills to re-enter the work force. This is often backed up by
providing child care while the women attend the courses.
Study grants have been awarded to women studying at tertiary facilities, and the latest, a University Veterinary Science student, who has had her text books and some equipment paid for each year.
Sponsorships have also been given to Year 11 and 12 (their final years of high school) students in four schools through a Student Support Program. These are grants allowing students to
purchase items for major projects, attend camps, pay for formal tickets or any other extra activities which are often too expensive for families and disadvantage the students.
The club has established a Z Club at a local high school, which is encouraging young women to be active in supporting advocacy projects. The students participate in the Zonta club’s major fundraising events.
The club also sews, fills and distributes breast care cushions to local hospitals and last year funded and packed over 4,500 birthing kits for distribution in developing countries.
While continuing with these advocacy projects, the club, as part of the Domestic Violence Network, is working toward organizing for a safe house in the area and are looking at different models.
Marching in Anzac Day Services, working at Australia Day Breakfasts and receiving the award has raised the profile of the club and opening doors for more community recognition and support.