by Debbie Angwood, President
The Zonta Club of Casa Grande Valley is an organization made up of dedicated professional women here in the Casa Grande Valley. Our mission is to advance the status of women and girls by supporting their health, welfare, education and development. As President, I have a passion for serving youth and have developed the theme, “Shaping the future for successful youth through education, inspiration and leadership.”
Our club has sponsored a successful Z Club at Vista Grande High School. This program helps high school students develop leadership skills, promotes career exploration and encourages members to participate in community, school and international service.
We plan to expand Z Clubs in Maricopa and Eloy in the near future. We also plan to support a Golden Z Club, which will be for Central Arizona College (CAC) students.
About Junior Z
by Michelle Fogarty, Zonta Member and founder of a Z club program for girls at the middle school level
The Junior Z club began during the 2016-2017 school year, under the name Girls In Action, as a club housed in Grande Innovation Academy. With the support of the principal, the club started with eight girls in grades 5th through 8th and quickly grew to 15 consistent members. The focus of the group was to discuss issues facing girls in middle school. As a teacher, working with middle school-age students, I found that issues once facing high school girls were now impacting girls in middle school. This club provided a place for the girls to address issues and concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
Together, they faced bullying by male students, handling situations effectively, and appropriately demonstrating role model-type behaviors. Even more important is the fact that the girls are now viewed as a leadership group in the school.
The members also completed service projects. They brought awareness to bullying by planning Unity Day Activities at the school. They sponsored Kindness Week, developing activities and skits for scholars in all grades. They assisted with Zonta 70th birthday and marched in the Veteran’s Day Parade. They served Pancakes for a Santa Breakfast and dined with Kindergarten students, who were dining alone. Next year, the girls have plans to complete service projects both inside and outside of school.
At the beginning of the year, the girls described being a girl using adjectives such as “good,” “strong,” “the best” and others. At the end of the year, the girls were able to describe being a girl as, “insightful,” “empowered,” “beautiful,” “leaders,” “amazing,” and other positive words. The girls have learned that, “It takes One to Start a Revolution.” The goal, in the girls’ words, is to be that ONE.
Formal Proposal to Zonta International to recognize Z club style programs at the middle school level
Proposed Amendment to Establish a Category for Intermediate Students:
SECTION 10. Z Tweens & Teens in Action, Z Clubs and Golden Z Clubs.
(a) Z Tweens & Teens in Action, Z clubs and Golden Z clubs are service programs formed and sponsored by a Zonta club. Guidelines are in the Zonta International Z Club and Golden Z Club Manual.
(b) The sponsoring Zonta club shall pay a charter fee and an annual renewal fee in U.S. dollars.
The renewal fee shall be used toward the administration of the Z Club program of Zonta International.
Rational for proposal:
What are Z Tweens & Teens in Action, Z Clubs and Golden Z Clubs?
The current description in the Z/Golden Z Club Manual fits exactly with the proposed goals for Z Tweens & Teens in Action. By adding the Z Tweens & Teens in Action to the current Bylaws in the Z/Golden Z Club manual, it does not change the intent or language already accepted. Service projects in middle school, though similar in nature to examples in the manual, need to be age-appropriate.
Why Z Tweens & Teens in Action, Z/Golden Z Clubs?
Z Clubs first began in 1948. Society has changed and issues (low self-esteem, violence, drugs, early pregnancy, etc) affecting high school and college-age girls now are issues facing middle school girls. Current research shows 24 percent of girls in middle school have been impacted by sexual harassment and inappropriately touched. Conflicts that once began in high school are now a middle school problem. All issues have exploded by the spread of cyber-bullying and social media exposure. The support to girls provided by Z/Golden Z Clubs is needed at the middle school level.
Supporting community and international service projects is one way for Z Tweens & Teens in Action to become well-educated and have positive self-esteem. Z Tweens & Teens in Action members can be mentored by the local Z/Golden Z Club members as they collaborate on service and advocacy projects. Zonta Club members provide resources and information which encourage service to the school and community and an international awareness. Association early in the Zonta mission creates a lifetime of empowerment, beginning at a critical age. Not only do the Z Tweens & Teens in Action, Z/Golden Z Club members represent future members of Zonta, but their service and advocacy gives credibility to the Zonta mission. This will result in increased awareness and membership.
Adding mentoring to the possible activities of Z/Golden Z Clubs will enhance opportunities for youth taking responsibility for training and encouraging other youth as well as setting examples for service and advocacy.