Com­mu­nity ded­i­ca­tion recog­nised

Eastern Courier - - OUT & ABOUT - LIU CHEN

The Zonta Club of East Auck­land cel­e­brated its Zonta Rose Day and In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day last week.

Zon­tians and guests gath­ered for a din­ner and pre­sented the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s Rose Day Awards to women who con­trib­ute to the ben­e­fit of the com­mu­nity.

Co-founders of Com­fort Kidz, Mary Ann France and Natalie Kim Cal­lard, and Jenny Fos­ter, the town cen­tre man­ager of the How­ick Vil­lage Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion, re­ceived the an­nual prizes for the first time.

‘‘I al­ways have a high opin­ion of Zonta. I’m very priv­i­leged to be one of the peo­ple they se­lected,’’ Mary Ann says.

Founded in 2015, Com­fort Kidz has pro­vided up to 550 sets of small blan­kets and back­packs with per­sonal hy­giene items to trau­ma­tised chil­dren who were taken to the Multi Agency Cen­tre in Manukau.

Natalie Kim says the award was an un­ex­pected sur­prise, and she’s grate­ful that their ef­forts have been recog­nised by an or­gan­i­sa­tion on a ’’sim­i­lar type of mis­sion’’.

‘‘We were not work­ing for the award. We’re work­ing to pro­vide a com­mu­nity ser­vice, and be able to cre­ate links in the com­mu­nity to peo­ple who are marginalised,’’ Natalie Kim says.

‘‘It’s the peo­ple in the com­mu­nity that are mak­ing these prod­ucts, and they’re the ones that the prize should go to.’’

Be­ing town cen­tre man­ager for seven years, Fos­ter’s re­spon­si­ble for li­ais­ing with ser­vice clubs, schools and other so­cial groups, as well as pro­mot­ing the vil­lage’s re­tail and hos­pi­tal­ity busi­nesses and Satur­day mar­ket.

She felt ’’over­whelmed and hum­bled’’ about the award.

‘‘I thank Zonta sin­cerely for the recog­ni­tion, and recog­nise their value and work in the com­mu­nity,’’ Fos­ter says.

‘‘I see How­ick as hav­ing the com­mu­nity strength, pas­sion and sup­port akin of a ru­ral com­mu­nity in the heart of a su­per-city that’s rapidly be­com­ing face­less and im­per­sonal.’’

Zonta Club spokes­woman Gay Gal­lagher says: ‘‘The women have done re­mark­able things in our com­mu­nity and of­ten it has been a com­mit­ment for many years.

‘‘It’s lovely to ac­knowl­edge that as of­ten they ex­pect noth­ing in re­turn for their lov­ing ser­vice.’’

The awards evening con­cluded with a speech by Cather­ine Thomas, a Year 11 stu­dent of How­ick Col­lege, who talked about the im­por­tance and rel­e­vance of fem­i­nism.

The club’s vice-pres­i­dent Sharon Dob­son (mid­dle) with awardees from Com­fort Kidz, Mary Ann France (left) and Natalie Kim Cal­lard.

PHO­TOS / SUP­PLIED

Year 11 How­ick Col­lege stu­dent and guest speaker Cather­ine Thomas and her mother Va­lerie.

Zonta Club of East Auck­land pres­i­dent El­iz­a­beth Amiss with awardee Jenny Fos­ter.

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