Zonta members Pat Munn, left, and Bev Burton show some of the many Christmas gifts the Zonta Club of the Corry Area is donating to Safe Journey for victims of domestic violence.

As members of Zonta International, the Zonta Club of the Corry Area works year-round to support Zonta’s mission of “empowering women through service and advocacy.” Zonta International is a leading global organization of professionals building a better world for women and girls.

The main goal of Zonta International’s advocacy is eliminating gender-based violence against women. That advocacy includes observing “16 Days of Activism,” which focuses on “Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women, Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy.”

The focus of 16 Days of Activism is to raise public awareness of worldwide problems. Every year during this time, Zonta clubs and Zontians worldwide take action and advocate to end gender-based violence in all its forms.

The global campaign begins Nov. 25 and runs through Dec. 10.

The campaign’s goal is to get more people to not look away but to speak up and take action. Through a multitude of events, projects and advocacy efforts, Zonta clubs and members around the world are dedicated to ending gender-based violence.

Connie Cooper is the president of the Zonta Club of the Corry Area. She said the club has set a goal to raise awareness of, and take action to prevent, gender-based violence during the 16 Days of Activism.

“Follow our Facebook page for daily messages highlighting the issues surrounding and actions you can take toward ending violence against women and girls. Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ every day to spread the message.”

To view the page, join the campaign to end violence against women and share the messages, go to Facebook.com/Zonta Club of Corry.

On Nov. 8, Zonta International celebrated its 103rd anniversary. For Zonta’s 100th anniversary in 2019, the Corry Zonta club purchased a yellow banner with the theme “Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women” in black letters. The banner also shows the symbol of Zonta. For a few weeks each summer, the banner is displayed across North Center Street to spread the word to the Corry community about Zonta’s mission.

But the Corry Zonta club does so much more. Zonta International’s ongoing service efforts are demonstrated through numerous local projects and programs and through partnerships with the United Nations and its agencies.

“Locally, the Zonta Club of Corry supports the efforts of Safe Journey and its affiliate, Purple One, both financially and with service projects,” Cooper said. “Specifically, during the 16 Days of Activism, the members of the Zonta Club of Corry donate Christmas gift bags filled with essential items to be given to women and children in shelters who are fleeing domestic violence with the hope of bringing a little joy to their world during the holidays.”

The Corry Zonta club also invited Steven Sears, program specialist at Safe Journey, and Erie County District Attorney Beth Hirz to recent meetings. Sears spoke about Purple One, a bystander intervention program where victims can seek help from trained individuals. Hirz explained the widespread challenges facing women and girls in Erie County and the practices put into place to help them. She also discussed practices in place to help victims of human trafficking.

The Corry Zonta club also volunteers for Shower the Shelter, when members ask the community to donate essential items to Safe Journey for victims of domestic abuse.

The Corry club is a member of District 4, Area 5. District 4 includes 31 clubs with about 620 members in six areas from eastern Ontario, Canada, to western New York and Pennsylvania. Area 5 also includes clubs Warren, Erie, Bradford, Jamestown, N.Y., and Olean, N.Y. District 4 was home to the first Zonta club, established in Buffalo in 1919.

Sheena Poole, of Ontario, Canada, is the District 4 governor.

“I’m very proud of the Zonta Club of Corry. Members are increasing awareness and tackling issues to ensure women’s rights are recognized as human rights and that no woman or girl lives in fear of violence,” Poole said. “The International Zonta Says No campaign brings 62 countries, 1,103 clubs and 26,790 members together to say ‘No.’ We need community members to partner with the Zonta Club of Corry to stop the injustices and build a better world for women and girls. Join with Zonta and say ‘No!’”

Violence against women and girls threatens countries, inhibits economic progress, and prevents women from contributing to their community and creating better lives for themselves and their families, according to Zonta International.

Cooper said the Zonta Club of Corry is more than willing to join in the effort to halt violence against women and girls.

“It is such an honor and privilege to serve the women and girls in our local community. The need is great and we are here to help in any way we can,” Cooper said.

In addition to Cooper, officers of the Corry club are Judy Daley, first vice president; Marie Zamiska, second vice president; Reva Lowry, treasurer, Maryann Mook, secretary; and board members Barb Diehl and Donna VanTassel.

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