A world-wide women’s club is forming its first chapter in the Bronx.
Zonta International, which has about 1,200 chapters with more than 30,000 members in 67 countries, operates with the goal of advancing the status of women.
Bronxite Marsha Gilles is working to bring that mission to her borough. The 95-year-old club works to address problems that women face locally and around the world, including health education, domestic violence, and human trafficking said Gilles, who was a part of the Westchester Zonta club for seven years before striking out and establishing the Bronx chapter.
“It’s about service, advocacy, and a wide variety of women’s issues,” she said.
Although it’s a world-wide club, she said serving local women is a priority for the chapter. In order to do that, the club will partner with other organizations to host local events and fundraisers.
“We try to get into the community to see where the need is,” said Gilles. “We want to be hands-on.”
So far, plans for the fall include a school supply drive, and helping women dress for success, said Gilles, who has high hopes that the Zonta club will make a name for itself in the borough and reach many people.
“We want to have a strong presence in the Bronx, so people know what we’re about,” she said.
Since the chapter is currently in the beginning stage, the focus for now is on reaching potential members through social media and word of mouth. Although the chapters are usually made up of mostly female members, Gilles said the club is inclusive to men who would like to participate.
The Bronx chapter will officially be chartered in September as long as the founding group has 25 members, said Gilles, adding the new chapter is about 17-member strong right now.
The group is already hosting monthly meetings at the CenterLight Healthcare Center, 2401 White Plains Road. The next meeting will be on Wed. Aug. 6 at 4 pm.