April: Officer Elections; Victim Awareness

At its regular monthly meeting, Zonta Club of Hilo elected a slate of officers for the next biennium which begins June 1.

Barbara A. Hastings was elected president; Janice Higashi, first vice president; Sheila Evans, secretary; Jan Haraguchi-Abundo and Karolyn Lundkvist, directors.  Ellen Aoki,  second vp and director Bev McCall remain on the board.  Bonnie Geiger will fill the unexpired treasurer post.

Terri Lum, Kathleen Nielsen, Lisa Faulkner Inouye and Phyllis Shinno at April meeting. Lum and Inouye spoke on victim awareness.

As part of National Child Abuse Awareness Month, National Crime Victim Rights Week and Sexual Assault Awareness Month,  Zonta Club of Hilo hear from
Lisa Faulkner Inouye who spoke about the development of the County of Hawai’i Office of the Prosecuting Attorney’s federally funded project to develop a “Comprehensive Strategy for Juvenile Justice.”  Over 100 persons from across the Island convened to help develop this community-driven plan.

One of the outcomes of this effort was the determination of Four Priority Risk Factors faced by Hawai’i County youth:  Availability of Drugs, Family Management, Family Conflict, and Early and Persistent Anti-Social Behavior.  These Risk Factors are the focus of community efforts to reduce juvenile delinquency in Hawai’i County, and remain the guideposts for the Prosecutor’s Office involvement in prevention and education activities.

The group also heard form Terri Lum, Director of the East Hawaii Children’s Justice Center addressed the history and development of Children’s Justice Centers across the nation and in Hawaii, and the need for a safe place for child victims of sexual assault, severe physical violence and child witnesses to crime to be able to talk about what happened.

She described the Center’s operations and the community and agency involvement that helps to keep the Center going, and the sad fact that sexual assaults continue to occur, that children are often victims of someone they know, and that there continues to be a need for places like the CJC.

The next meeting is May 9, 5 p.m. fellowship; 5:30 meeting starts.  Installation of officers; Guest Speaker, noted Honolulu volunteer and medical missionary, Nancy Pace, M.D.

Note: On April 23, Zonta Club of Hilo will do its annual Weinberg Friends project, supporting Neighborhood Place of Puna.


Zontians support elementary science

In an effort to promote study of science in youngsters, particularly girls, Zonta Club of Hilo sponsored BrushBot Family Focus Night Wednesday (Oct. 27) at Waiakeawaena Elementary School.

Zontians Eleanor Hirano, Dawn Pung, Amy Iwamoto, Irene Nagao, Barbara Hastings and Bev McCall were on hand to watch the kids do experiments to find the center of gravity and to build toothbrush robots.  McCall is also principal of Waiakeawaena.

Zonta Hilo Hears about Heifer International

When women around the world have control of income, it tends to be used for the family,” said Wendy Peskin, who worked as a fundraiser for Heifer International. When men have economic control “it’s not that way.”

Heifer International works mostly with women in rural areas, often where men are absent.  Its mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty


Peskin talks about international self reliance.


and to care for the earth. Beginning with heifers more than 60 years ago, the group has branched out to many types of animals and been providing families with a source of food and training, rather than short-term relief. Millions of people in 128 countries have benefits from these gifts that promote self reliance.

“Pass on the gift,” Peskin said, is a cornerstone of the Heifer program.  “If you get a cow, the first calf must be raised and passed on,” she said.  Generations and generations of animals have been passed along, “that has an enormous multiplying effect.”

It also has the effect of giving a poor person the dignity to pass on athe gift to someone else, she said.

Heifer International does not send people into the countries to handle the training and gifts.  “They hire people in the area,” Peskin said.  When a village woman exhibits leadership skills, Heifer is likely to train her as a para-veterinarian so she can serve her community.

Peskin said when a woman has an income, its likely she will no longer uffer at the hands of an abusive husband. Often, she said, the woman’s initiative creates meaningful work for her husband in tending the food crops sustained by the gift animal.

Part of the Heifer training, she added, is centered around issues of gender.  Frequently men are victims of their cultural milieu.  During gender workshops, the men and women detail their day’s activities.  The men are often surprised by what the women do.

Heifer also promotes sending girls to school through a “girl child education fund.”

Go to heifer.org to see how you can help with a gift as small as $10.

Zonta Club of Hilo Inducts New Members


Nagao, McCall and Aoki


Bev McCall, elementary school principal, pictured here with Irene Nagao and Ellen Aoki, was inducted into the Zonta Club of Hilo at the October program meeting.  At the September meeting, Jan Haraguchi-Abundo, a sales promotion officer, was inducted.

The inductions are part of Zonta Club of Hiloʻs membership drive.

Watch Ted.com video on “Century’s Greatest Injustice”


Ted.com offers the following video: 18 minutes.  Sheryl WuDunn who, with her husband Nicholas Kristof, (both journalists) wrote Half the Sky. The Ted.com presentation is called: “Our Century’s Greatest Injustice.”

Click here to view the Ted.com presentation

Some notes I gleaned from the presentation:

Between 60 and 100 million missing females in the world. Demographers have shown, missing in current population. In the last half century more girls “discriminated to death” than all the people killed on all the battlefields in the 20th century.

One of best ways to fight discrimination and poverty – bring girls into the workforce and/or educate them. Educated women – have fewer children.  Educated men, only a slight reduction.

Women and girls aren’t part of the problem.  They are the solution.

Sex trafficking – at peak of slave trade 1780s   80,000 slaves from Africa to new world. Today 800,000 (10 times) are trafficked across international borders (doesn’t include those within borders.)  $40,000 in today’s money – a slave’s worth back then. Today, you can buy a girl trafficked for a few hundred dollars.

Maternal mortality – 1 woman dies every 1.5 minutes in childbirth around the world.  Poor rural females, mostly.

Others – devastating  injuries; most devastating,  obstetric fistula, tearing that leaves woman incontinent, and often left to die.  (Zonta International has a project in this area.)

Larry Summers, when he was chief economist at World Bank, said, “the highest return on investment in the developing world is in girls education.”

Little bits of help can be transformative.

Please take the time to view this 18-minute, excellent presentation.

Barbara Hastings

Zonta International Accepting Scholarship Nominations

Zonta International’s Young Women in Public Affairs Awards recognize young women for demonstrated leadership skills and commitment to leadership in public policy, government and volunteer organizations. The 2011 District YWPA recipients will receive US$1,000; five international recipients will be selected from the district recipients to receive additional awards of US$3,000 each.

There have been a few changes to the eligibility criteria for the 2011 Young Women in Public Affairs Award. Those changes our outlined below.

• Applicants must be 16 to 19 years old.
• Applicants must be living or studying in a Zonta district or region at the time of application.
• Applicants must also demonstrate evidence of the following:
• Experience in local or student government
• Knowledge of Zonta International and its programs

• Advocating on behalf of Zonta International’s mission to advance the status of women worldwide.

Applications for the 2011 Young Women in Public Affairs Award are now available on the Zonta International website. Please note that the application has been revised and make sure that all applicants use the 2011 version.

Rowena Loo, a Hilo Zonta founder, passes

Rowena Mae Busse Loo, a founding member of the Zonta Club of Hilo in 1950, passed away peacefully on Tuesday evening, June 29, 2010.  She was 90 years old.

Rowena Loo

Rowena’s life should stand as a model for triumph over hardship.

Born on October 30, 1919 in Coer d’Alene, Idaho, Rowena was the older of two children (younger brother William) of Henry and Effie Busse.  Rowena experienced a difficult life in her growing-up years as her father relocated his family often in pursuit of employment in order to support his family.  But times were bleak and to survive, Rowena recalled that she and her brother often helped themselves to potatoes, chickens and eggs from their neighbors’ fields.

Her mother, engaged in an illegal activity during the Prohibition, wound up in jail where she later died of complications from appendicitis.  Her father, a broken man, vanished with Rowena’s younger brother and left her with an aunt who was unable to care for her.

Rowena ended up at a Salvation Army GIrls’ Home, which provided her with a more stable environment –  schooling and an education that resulted in a nursing career.  Rowena’s love of music led her to sing in the Salvation Army choir and provided her with the opportunity to play the cornet and alto horn, an instrument she cherished and kept to her dying days.

Rowena applied for and was accepted for the position of live-in nurse at the Salvation Army’s Girls’ Home in Hilo, Hawaii in 1946; she arrived in Hilo by ship. She immediately made a mark, helping her charges at the Girls’ Home.  On one occasion while taking one of the girls who became ill to the Hilo Hospital, Rowena had a chance encounter with Dr. Walter Loo.  After a courtship, not without complications, they were married and raised five children – two of whom live in Hilo, two in California and one son who predeceased his parents a few years ago.

Rowena’s 60-year involvement in the Zonta Club of Hilo was full, taking on various committee assignments and supporting the mission of advancing the status of women locally and internationally.  She was honored at the Zonta International District 9 Conference in September 2007 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel during the welcome reception and “Hoike”.

Rowena attended all club meetings to the extent that her health allowed (she recovered from a heart operation in her later years), faced carefully made up, dressed comfortably in her muumuu and hair coiffed with a red streak in her forelocks, even after her mobility was reduced to confinement in a wheelchair.  But how she loved the club’s yearly Holiday Dinner and Auction!  She delighted in donating mementos from her past and invited her entire “ohana” or caregiver’s family to the occasion – all who lovingly called her “popo” (Chinese for grandmother).

Her quiet presence and frail voice will be missed by the Zonta Club of Hilo as members will bid Rowena good-bye at a memorial service which will be held on Saturday, July 17, 2010 at Dodo Mortuary Chapel.

Hilo Zontian Elected Area Director

Mele Spencer, Area Director

PRESS RELEASE — (Hilo, Hawaii—June 15, 2010)—Mele Spencer of Hilo was elected to the Zonta International – District 9 Board, covering Arizona, California, Hawaii, one city on the Mexican border, Nevada, and Utah.  Spencer will represent Hawaii’s six Zonta Clubs for 2010-2012.

Kathleen Nielsen, President of the Zonta Club of Hilo said Spencer follows “a long line of Hilo Zontians who have assumed duties at the district level.  Her leadership will insure the direct link between Zonta International, District 9 and the Hawaii Zonta Clubs.”

“In this austere time,” Spencer said,  “women and children are the most likely to be affected by economic turndown.  Zontians must focus resources on those in need and continue to advocate for them.”

Spencer and her spouse, Joseph, operate a plant and tree farm in Pana’ewa Hawaiian Homes Farm Lots.  She is the president of the Keaukaha Pana’ewa Farmers Association, and is a former program manager for USDA, Rural Development.  She has been a member of Zonta Club of Hilo for 12 years.

Zonta International and its local clubs advance the status of women around the world through service and advocacy.  Individual clubs develop local programs and priorities that are consistent with the overall goals of Zonta International.

The Zonta Club of Hilo provides four annual scholarships, participates in a variety of projects including support of robotic programs in our schools, Hale Ohana shelter, Weinberg Friends program and advocates on issues affecting women. This year the Hilo chapter is focusing on a Weinberg project at the Neighborhood Place of Puna, to help women in need.  The club is one of 1,200 clubs with 31,000 members worldwide in 67 countries and areas.

Zonta International is a recognized NGO with United Nation status and supports service projects in Rwanda, Guatemala, El Salvador and Liberia.  The organization raises more than $3 million annually to support international projects.

Membership is available to executives and professionals committed to advancing the status of women through service and advocacy.  Information on Zonta International and the Zonta Club of Hilo can be found on www.zonta.org or www.zontadistrict9.org, or calling Ellen Aoki, membership chair, at 808-959-9098.