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Veera Patel

BELCHERTOWN — Dana Burton, scholarship chair for the Zonta Club of Quaboag Valley, announced that Veera Patel is this year’s Young Women in Public Affairs scholarship recipient.

Patel is a senior at Minnechaug Regional High School. She is president of the National Honor Society, plays on the girls’ varsity volleyball team, and is involved with Student Council, Key Club, International Club, and World Care Club. She also enjoys volunteering at community organizations and working with and mentoring youth in sports and social skill building.

Zonta’s mission is to build a better world for women and girls through service and advocacy. When asked about her thoughts on this mission, Patel noted that, while she is proud of her Indian culture and background, she is aware that the role of women in many Indian societies is secondary. “Through my leadership efforts here in America, my ambition is to inspire other females, not only Indian, to learn how to stand up for themselves and know their value.”

Looking forward, Patel would like to pursue the fields of business finance and law at Bryant University in Rhode Island.

The Young Women in Public Affairs Award recognizes young women, ages 16-19, for demonstrating leadership skills and commitment to public service and civic causes and encourages them to continue their participation in public and political life. As an awardee, Patel will be presented with a certificate of accomplishment and a check for $1,000 to use toward college expenses. She is also eligible to compete for the Zonta District 1 and Zonta International award of $5,000.

Daily News

BELCHERTOWN — The Zonta Club of Quaboag Valley is now accepting applications for the Young Women in Public Affairs Award and the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship.

Young women (ages 16-19) who have demonstrated leadership skills and commitment to public service and civic causes are encouraged to apply for Zonta International’s Young Women in Public Affairs Award. The deadline is March 8. For details, visit www.zontaqv.org/scholarships.

Zonta International’s Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship is open to women of any age who are pursuing a business program at an accredited university, college, or institute with specialization in accounting, economics, finance, business management, business technology, information technology, marketing, operations management, human-resources management, international business, or entrepreneurship; demonstrate outstanding potential in the field; and are living or studying in a Zonta district/region. The deadline is June 15. For details, visit www.zontaqv.org/scholarships.

Daily News

BELCHERTOWN — The Zonta Club of Quaboag Valley will host a virtual information session on climate change and its impact locally and globally on Monday, March 14 at 6 p.m.

Ollie Perrault, a 15-year-old climate activist and youth climate leader of Easthampton, will be the guest speaker. She has been working with other local climate-action organizations to spark social change since she was 11.

Perrault is a founding member of a new, local, youth-led climate-action group, Youth Climate Action Now, that works to empower other young people to lead the next steps in the fight against the climate crisis.

The virtual meeting is free and open to the public. To receive a Zoom invitation, e-mail [email protected].

“Climate change is a major global crisis,” said Mary Knight, communications chair of the Zonta Club of Quaboag Valley. “While Zonta International is not an environmental or disaster-response organization, climate change disproportionately affects women and girls, and action is needed from a gender-equality perspective.”

Across the globe, women and girls are more heavily impacted by climate change than men because women, as caregivers and food providers, are more vulnerable when flooding and drought occur, Knight said. Even in stable regions, women can face systematic violence that escalates during periods of instability, and during extreme weather events, women are at greater risk of being injured, killed, displaced, and unemployed.

“Globally, women have less socioeconomic power than men, so it is harder for them to recover from disasters,” she added, noting that the United Nations highlights the need for gender-sensitive responses to climate change, but average female representation on negotiating bodies is well below 30%.

“Much of this disadvantage can be rectified through Zonta’s existing advocacy, health, education, and violence-eradication programs,” Knight said. “However, we need to ramp up our activities to ensure that girls are educated, child marriage is ended, gender equality gaps are closed, and women are supported to take on leadership positions in the workplace, community, and political spheres.”