By Karen Carr Keefe
Sometimes it takes as little as $3 to save the life of a newborn baby.
A plastic sheet, a small piece of soap, gloves, three pieces of string, a sterile blade and five sheets of gauze - these are the simple, but lifesaving elements in the birthing kit assembled by women in two service clubs in neighboring communities.
The Zonta Club of Grand Island partnered with the Kenmore Zonta Club to help assemble 500 of the birthing kits on Feb. 25 at the Church of the Advent in Kenmore.
The women volunteered in order to help moms-to-be across the world to have a clean, healthier environment when they have their babies.
Each day, nearly 800 women die giving birth in developing countries. For every death, countless more women and babies suffer infections or disease or risk HIV. The Zonta project aims to make a difference in countries where women may not have access to resources we take for granted, such as clinics, hospitals or medicine.
Kathy Barrus of the Kenmore Zonta Club said the birthing kits will be delivered to rural mountain communities in Guatemala. Barrus' daughter-in-law, Linda Barrus, a nurse practitioner at the Cleveland Clinic, will be going on a 12-day medical mission trip to Guatemala with a group of volunteers from John Knox Presbyterian Church of North Olmsted, Ohio.
About 40 Zonta clubs in Western New York, Ontario and Pennsylvania have been involved in the assembly of the kits, which are then sent through partners to developing countries such as Kenya, Haiti, Nicaragua, Ghana and Swaziland.
The district to date has assembled more than 39,000 of the kits, an accomplishment that won a Zonta Service Recognition Award at a recent international convention.
The Zonta Club of Grand Island is part of a worldwide service organization of professional women whose goal is to improve the status of women through service and advocacy. The club has awarded more than $115,000 for scholarships to help Grand Island women pursue higher education.
Zonta offers scholarships
The Zonta Club of Grand Island will award four scholarships in three categories this year at its annual awards dinner on June 27.
Two $750 awards named for charter member Veronica Connor will be presented to two high school seniors. To be eligible, the senior high school candidate must reside on Grand Island and be accepted at a college. For those seniors attending Grand Island High School, applications are available through the guidance department (due April 26). For those attending other area high schools, applications are available online through Isledegrande.com or by calling 716-479-2599 and leaving a message.
Memorial Scholarship Award - One $750 scholarship will be presented to a woman between the ages of 18-25. This award is in memory of deceased Zontians who gave of their time and resources to improve the status of women. To be eligible for this award the applicant must be at least 18 years old (not a high school senior) and be enrolled in a degree or certification program. Applications are available online through Isledegrande.com or by calling 716-479-2599 and leaving a message (due May 15).
Career Advancement Scholarship Award - The Career Advancement Scholarship will recognize one woman over age 25 with a $750 award. She must be a resident of Grand Island and be attending or have proof of acceptance in a program to further her education or help re-enter the job market. These applications are available online through Isledegrande.com and by calling 716-479-2599 and leaving a message (due May 15).
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