Community dedication recognised
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.
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.