May 24, 2019

Bangor’s Zonta Club has long history of helping

One Bangor organization can stand tall as the world celebrates United Nations Day, commemorating the effective date of the U.N. charter, which occurred 50 years ago today.

The women of The Zonta Club of Bangor share an impressive history with 36,000 members of more than 1,100 Zonta International clubs in 65 countries.

“An Open Letter to the Women of the World,” from `Folake Solanke of Nigeria, ZI president, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations and the Fourth World Conference on Women in Bejing, China, contains this footnote: “Zonta International was the only Service Club among 15 Women’s Organizations to sponsor the United Nations Women’s Conference at the birth of the United Nations in June, 1945.”

That history should make all Zonta members proud of the organization founded Nov. 8, 1919, as they strive to fulfill its mission as “a worldwide service organization of executives in business and the professions working together to advance the status of women.”

The ZI president also wrote, “in view of the increasing role of women in Member Nations of the U.N. and Affiliated Organizations, we urge you to prevail on your Governments to promote the full participation of women in the pursuit of Women’s Health, Human Rights and World Harmony.”

Locally, President Bette Clark of Bangor tells us that Zonta members work to help several organizations, including Spruce Run, a shelter for battered women; The Good Samaritan Agency, a pregnancy, adoption and educational service for pregnant young women and young mothers; the Bangor City Nursing Facility; Abnaki Girl Scout Council; and The Children’s Campaign of Eastern Maine Medical Center.

The membership is there for its own as well, Clark said, of collective and individual efforts to suport fellow member Bonnie Haghkerdar of Bangor and her 11-year-old daughter, Arian, a cancer patient undergoing therapy in Milwaukee, Wisc.

Mother and daughter shared a marvelous experience through Zonta when Bonnie was chosen to attend an international meeting last year, and Arian accompanied her to Hong Kong.

Bangor Zonta raises funds through a fashion show, its Veterans Day Weekend craft fair at the Brewer Auditorium, and “Home for the Holidays,” a December house tour.

Today, we also recognize Zonta’s partnership with the United Nations Development Fund for Women, which helps fund women’s self-help projects. From 1986 through 1992, ZI contributed $1.5 million to this project, which it continues to support. For the 1992-94 biennium, the goal was $500,000 for projects in Chile, Ghana, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Zonta holds “non-government organization” status at the UN and, in addition to being a key player in many U.N. organizations, maintains active representatives at U.N. sites in New York City; Geneva, Switzerland; Paris, France; and Vienna, Austria.

The first rodeo in this area in 17 years, sponsored by the Old Town Rotary Club during the second weekend in September at Bass Park, was a hit and will return next fall, said club President Dennis Sanborn.

“It was successful in several ways,” he said. “It was well-received by the public, financially it was a good project, and it helped broaden the community awareness of the role of the Old Town Rotary Club and what we’re capable of.”

Already scheduled for the second weekend of September ’96, the second event will be slightly different from the first. “Next year we’ll probably concentrate on having more for youngsters,” Sanborn said.

And while there were some glitches the first time around, “they will be corrected” next year as the club works to improve its product, he said.

We received a great letter from Ona M. Patterson of the Maine Veterans’ Home in Augusta in response to our cribbage query about people having played the ultimate 29-point hand.

Patterson wrote: “I am 92 years old and am living in a nursing home for the past seven years and never had a `29′ hand until I came here.

“My first tournament I defeated a 5-time champion and had my first `29′ hand. Since then, I have had a second one and two `28′ hands.

“Cribbage is a great game and I am still playing and have two trophies.”

The Standpipe, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; 990-8288.

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