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Effort continues to establish Zonta Club in Cape

By Staff | Sep 6, 2016

An international organization focused on empowering women and girls globally and locally is within reach of setting up its newest charter in Cape Coral.

The Zonta Club, which is working on forming a Cape-based group, needs 15 paid members to charter. Since hosting its first informational gathering in July, the organization has had 13 members join up.

“We’re still two short,” Nancy Dreher, membership chair for Zonta’s District 11, said Tuesday.

She noted that there a few others interested, but they have not yet paid their annual dues.

“It has to be paid members before we can get the charter,” Dreher said.

The international and district dues cost $118 in total.

Founded in 1919 in Buffalo, New York, the Zonta Club is a global organization of professionals empowering women and advancing the status of women through service and advocacy. It envisions a world in which women’s rights are recognized as human rights, according to the group’s website.

Every woman is able to achieve her full potential, and women have access to all resources and are represented in decision-making positions on an equal basis with men, the website continues.

The Zonta Club of Cape Coral will host its first meeting Thursday, Sept. 15, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Gulf Coast Village. It will start with a social, followed by the meeting at 6 p.m. and end with a Q&A. Future meetings will be held on the third Thursday of every month at the same time and the same location.

Those interested in taking part or who want more information may attend.

“If you are interested in joining, we will be collecting applications and checks at the meeting,” Karen Pati, a member of the Zonta Club, said. “You don’t need to decide at this time, or to pay at this time.”

RSVPs for the meeting are encouraged, but not required.

“Just call or show up and find out more about us,” Dreher said.

Currently, there are Zonta Clubs in Sanibel-Captiva, Fort Myers, Naples, Bonita Springs, Sarasota, Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte. The Southwest Florida area consists of about 150 members.

Some of the partner agencies that the clubs work alongside include Abuse Counseling & Treatment, Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships, Dress for Success and the PACE Center for Girls.

On the global level, a percentage of the funds earned by the clubs goes toward Zonta International, which, in turn, uses the monies to fund women’s and girls’ projects through the United Nations.

Dreher noted that she is surprised by the Cape group’s progress.

“We had no idea it would take off so fast,” she said. “We thought it would take at least a year.”

The formation of a Cape club was tried several years ago, but it never gained ground.

“What I’m finding out is, there are so many people who want to help Cape Coral – help women and girls in Cape Coral in need,” Dreher said. “It has been great to hear what people have to say.”

“We think we’re in the right place at the right time,” she added.

The surrounding charters will serve as mentors for the newest group for two years.

According to Dreher, the first 13 members have really been stepping up.

“It’s been fabulous to see people who don’t just want to join, but who want to really join,” she said.

To RSVP, contact Nancy Dreher at nomar40@cox.net or by phone at 504-460-3993.

For information, visit: www.zonta.org or www.zontasancap.com.

Gulf Coast Village is at 1333 Santa Barbara Blvd.