By Megann Horstead | For The Bugle
To commemorate the celebration of Women’s History Month, Zonta Club of Joliet hosted its annual fundraiser to support local social service organizations, international projects and scholarships.
Each year, Zonta Club offers grants to one agency within the Joliet area and this year’s event benefitted Guardian Angel Community Services.
The fundraiser is meant to spread awareness for Zonta Club and what they do.
“We are a service project organization,” said Yolanda Reyes, president of Zonta Club of Joliet. “We do service projects for social service agencies.”
Board member Marilyn McSteen said it’s important for people to recognize the work of Zonta Club if they don’t already.
“We’re really advocating for the advancement of women,” she said. “We want to make sure that other people know and understand why it’s important to support women, know and understand why it’s important to advocate on behalf of women and girls, and make sure that word is getting out there.”
Zonta Club of Joliet has previously supported organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity and Catholic Charities of Joliet.
Last year, the fundraiser brought in $18,000.
Roughly 230 guests attended this year’s fundraiser at Crystal Grand Banquets in Lemont. Highlights that day included lunch, a silent auction and a live auction.
As part of the program, Zonta Club recognized the Warren-Sharpe Community Center’s executive director Kay Bolden as its ‘Woman of Distinction.’
To select a Woman of Distinction, Zonta Club typically accepts nominations from its chapter members and the organization processes that information.
“Kay Bolden was selected because she does many things first of all in her community and in our community,” Reyes said. “She does things for women and children.”
“She’s changed the lives of many people in the community that she serves through the Warren-Sharpe [Community] Center,” she said. “She’s the first executive director of the Warren-Sharpe [Community] Center. She’s been there for over 25 years serving the community tirelessly. She’s really working on new and innovative projects and programs that will change the lives of the children and the families that she serves at the center.”
Bolden gave to credit to the women of Zonta Club for the work they put into improving the lives of others and recognizing her.
“The women of Zonta don’t just walk the walk, they talk the talk,” she said. “That’s why because who you are, that I am so honored and so humbled to be included in the sisterhood today,” she said.
Bolden said even as time progresses, the issues women faced and sought to overcome long ago ring just as clear in 2017. The main difference is that it’s packaged differently, she said.
“At Warren-Sharpe [Community] Center, I work with girls and young women everyday who are fighting a battle with poverty, who are struggling to overcome not just class bias and gender bias but racial bias,” Bolden said. “Because even now in 2017, the value of girls especially of black girls and girls of color [are] so easily dismissed. Speaking for the sisterhood if I may, I want you to know the Warren-Sharpe Community Center is determined not to lose this generation of girls to violence and poverty.”
Bolden urges young women to recognize the power they hold.
“We need them to take their place in the sisterhood and to play the crucial important role they’ll play in the coming years,” she said.