Alyssa Hogle, Ashlyn Feneck and Skyler Bishuk Special for The Citizen
The 2021-22 Publicity Committee for the Auburn High School Z-Club is made up of three ambitious freshmen whose love for community service has spurred them on to join the Auburn Z-Club in start of their career in high school. This group of dedicated young women will chair the publicity committee this school year, in order to have a greater share in the overall functioning of the Z-Club.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and lingering restrictions all around us, the Z-Club is off to a good start! The club completed its first major service project of the year and Z members have volunteered in our local community. Our club’s mission is to participate in three major service projects for the year – each benefiting the community, our schools and across our borders (internationally). The standards for this high school club are high; it is mandatory for all members to help with the three service projects.
This school year, the Z members unanimously agreed to help the elderly population of our community. This demographic group had a special place in the hearts of our members, especially after COVID-19 restrictions hampered this group’s ability to have visitors early in the pandemic. The aptly chosen title for this heartfelt project was “A Bundle of Joy for Your Golden Years”. All Z members have been tasked with creating gift bags or baskets full of gifts.
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In order to carry out this project, Z-Club members set out to purchase a variety of items that the elderly might enjoy. The club also provided basketry materials and one of our Auburn Zonta sisters donated a crossword for each recipient. To fill the baskets, members purchased supplies such as warm hats, scarves, gloves, leggings, comfy socks, writing utensils, lotion, greeting cards, calendars, little ones. sachets of hard candy, lint and lip balms. Z members have included a decorated tag on each box or bag to personalize the gift basket. In addition, a member also asked students at the Booker T. Washington Community Center to make Christmas cards to include in the gift baskets. The Z members met after school for a few days to assemble the baskets. All of the baskets were then donated to The Home, also known as The Faatz-Crofut Home for Elderly. It was a very enriching experience for all Z-Club members because when we do it for others, it makes us feel good and gives us great joy to know that we are making others happy.
Although large service projects are a big part of what Z-Club is, members continue to volunteer outside. For example, when the Z-Club learned that the local soup kitchen needed help, members rushed to help. The opportunity to volunteer at the soup kitchen and help prepare meals for the community was well received by some of our new members! Plus, when some members learned of another volunteer opportunity at Home Rather, they rose to the challenge. Their job was to help wrap the gifts that would be delivered to the elderly in the community. Home Place is located in the Finger Lakes area (homeinstead.com). It is an establishment which helps the elderly to continue living at home. Helping out this organization allowed Z-Club members to be exposed to another valuable resource in our hometown.
Finally, but no less significant, the Z-Club participated in an event to raise awareness about domestic violence in our community and around the world. The club partnered with the Auburn Zonta Club on this advocacy project. The Auburn Zonta Club paid to have Centro buses wrapped in signs that alert people to the lingering problem of domestic violence in societies around the world. A fully decorated and banner-wrapped Centro bus came to Auburn High School to welcome Auburn Z-Club members, Auburn Zonta Club members and a representative from CAP Cayuga / Seneca. The group all spoke about the importance of raising awareness about this ongoing issue. Z-Club members are taking action on this issue by helping the Auburn Students Against Destructive Decisions Club in their efforts to collect toiletries to donate to domestic violence shelters.
For the coming semester, the Z-Club will have two other major service projects as well as other volunteer opportunities for our members. Our next planned service project will benefit one of our local schools. This will involve teaching a trade or skill to elementary school students in our school district. The purpose of this service work is to teach young children new skills in a fun way. Our other service work will be geared towards an international community. For this project, we are going to create “sun boxes”. The yellow box or wrapper, filled with yellow or colored materials, is used to make someone’s day. In short, the aim of the project will be to raise awareness of the mental health issues faced by Peruvian adolescents.
While it’s important to take care of yourself, emotionally and physically, it’s just as important to help take care of those around you. The Z-Club members realize this, and we also realize that as a group, we are stronger together. We can work as a team to accomplish great things to make the world a better place.
Alyssa Hogle, Ashlyn Feneck and Skyler Bishuk are members of the Auburn High School Z-Club, a youth program of Zonta International. For more information, visit zonta.org or zontadistrict2.org.