by Karen Keefe
Grand Island Zonta Club
Three Island service clubs got together March 26 to share information about their goals and talk about working more closely together.
The Zonta Club of Grand Island hosted the joint dinner meeting with the Rotary and Lions clubs at the Buffalo Launch Club.
"We all work for the same purpose — to help the community," said Zonta Club President Maria Burns. She and the other two club presidents gave brief talks about their organizations' history, current projects and ideas for future cooperation. Burns said with the club's goal of advancing the status of women, a key project each year is awarding four scholarships - two to high school seniors, one to a currently enrolled college student and one for career advancement.
Rotary President Akhtar Mirza suggested the clubs unite to sponsor a forum on Grand Island social issues, such as bullying, domestic violence or drug problems. "Put an alliance together ... make this happen in three months," he urged. He said such an open discussion could help make "a cleaner, happier and stronger Grand Island."
Lions Club President Tom Witkowski, whose membership focuses on service to the blind and to children, said the club is working with Erie County Department of Social Services on developing guidelines for the Island's service clubs to determine financial need for those they help. The Lions also partner with the Ross Eye Center to bring better diagnostic tools and treatment options to both young and older eye patients.
Zontians, Rotarians and Lions also learned about each other's upcoming events, hoping to get the word out and possibly sell some tickets for good causes. These include:
•The Zonta Club's Spring Fashion Fling at noon, April 21, at the Buffalo Launch Club.
•The Rotary Club's annual Lobsterfest at 6 p.m. June 7 at River Oaks.
•The Lions Club's annual Spaghetti Dinner from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Grand Island on April 22
and its Special Kids Picnic in July at the Buffalo Launch Club.
The three clubs have all helped with such community projects as The Miracle League, the Relay For Life and the Neighbors Foundation.
In addition to their many local service projects, each club participates in international service.
•Zonta provided financial aid to a Ugandan woman so she could earn her college degree in the medical field.
•Rotary worked to establish a 24-bed hospital in Nepal.
•The Lions Club collects eyeglasses, hearing aids, walkers and wheelchairs and medical equipment for the disadvantaged all over the world.