Zonta Club hosts its 39th annual ‘Tribute to Women’

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Zonta Club of Beloit will again celebrate the personal achievements, volunteer endeavors and community contributions of women of distinction in the local area when they recognize nine honorees on April 26.

The public is invited to attend the 39th Annual Tribute to Women Awards Dinner held at the Garden Hotel Conference Center, 200 Dearborn Ave., South Beloit. Social hour begins at 6 p.m. with the buffet dinner at 7 p.m. and awards to follow. Cost is $50 per person. Checks should be sent to: Zonta Club of Beloit, P.O. Box 1352, Beloit, WI 53512-1352. Reservations are due by April 18.

The annual dinner is a major fundraiser for the Zonta Club of Beloit member of Zonta International. Proceeds from the event allow members to offer scholarships and empower women. For further information call 608-362-0055.

The honorees are:

Mary Porter

Mary’s life is filled with teaching, sharing, caring and being an active member of the community. Mary, a retired kindergarten teacher now teaches by example through her many volunteer endeavors.

She has been a member of the Beloit Lioness Club for over 37 years and has served in many leadership roles with the organization. As a Lioness, Mary has helped deliver eye tissue to the Lions Eye Bank. She has represented the Beloit Lioness Club as past chair of the Blackhawk Pioneers, an organization serving the visually impaired. As a Lioness, Mary also volunteers her time annually at Autorama, the Lions annual fundraising event.

She rings bells for the Salvation Army, volunteers at the Angel Museum, delivers Meals On Wheels, helps with Hands of Faith, and is active with the Beloit Area Retired Educators Association. She also was past president in 2011 for the Quarter Century Club for the School District of Beloit and continues to assist area students in the community.

Becky Rogers

Becky Rogers is hospitality personified. Described as “a woman with a brilliant mind and a generous heart,” she has dedicated significant amounts of time and energy to ensure that the Beloit community has events to enjoy and be proud of, as an employee, a volunteer and a community member.

Becky’s leadership and vision within the non-profit arts community is exemplary. She is one of the Beloit International Film Festival’s (BIFF) principal founders. For six years, she served as President of BIFF, shaping it into one of Beloit’s most impactful cultural events. Max Maiken, director of development at BIFF, said: “Becky is one of Beloit’s greatest champions.”

Maiken said she is always willing to help however she can and that her energy and enthusiasm attracts the best in everyone around her.

Volunteers and co-workers describe Becky as, “…amazing, hardworking, supportive and generous.”

The Rev. Neddy Astudillo, Ph.D

Neddy Astudillo, a Venezuelan born American is an eco-theologian and Latina Presbyterian pastor of Parroquia San Jose. In 1998, Neddy co-founded the Angelic Organics Learning Center, a farm-based educational nonprofit in northern Illinois, where people connect with food, farming and caring for the earth. She leads workshops on caring for the earth in addition to webinars on eco-justice and eco-spirituality.

As a volunteer, Neddy is a member of Pueblos Unidos and JOB, (Justice Overcoming Borders). In collaboration with these organizations, Neddy helped to organize prayer services in recent years to address violence in the community. She is a member of the Latino Service Providers Coalition and has held leadership roles in the past.

She is the Editor of the Latino monthly newspaper, La Voz de Beloit and is actively involved in helping the Latino population become acclimated to the community, gain access to resources, learn English and achieve a better quality of life.

Linda Williams

Linda Williams exemplifies volunteerism and helping those less fortunate. She spends a significant amount of her time helping Caritas, The Sparrows Nest and The Second Harvest Food Bank Mobile Pantry.

For the past decade, Linda has prepared a monthly dinner for the residents of The Sparrow’s Nest. In addition to the homemade meal, she also provides gallons of milk, bath tissue, paper towels, laundry detergent and Girl Scout cookies.

Linda also has been a champion for Caritas for the past several years. Every fall she begins knitting hats for babies for their annual Day with Santa holiday party. She is also the coordinator of the personal hygiene pantry in addition to assisting with delivering groceries to the residents of the Village East Apartments in Beloit. She also volunteers for the Second Harvest Food Bank Mobile pantry twice a month.

Dorothy J. Harrell, J.D.

A few years ago, Dorothy J. Harrell retired from her full-time job in Washington, D.C. and relocated back to her hometown, Beloit. As an attorney, Harrell has worked as a strong leader in several venues including the Director of the National Endowment for the Arts, and New Enterprise Associates, Inc. as well as spokeswoman for the National Education Association (NEA).

After graduating from Northwestern University, Dorothy became an elementary school teacher in the School District of Beloit for 20 years. She continued her lifelong journey of learning while also teaching second graders, attending and graduating from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Dorothy has continued her service to others by volunteering as the President of the NAACP, Inc. local Beloit Chapter; trustee board member, New Zion Baptist Church; School District of Beloit Diversity Committee; administrative counselor/advisor for academic Pathways, to name a few. She regularly engages families by mentoring parents and youth, and sharing her enjoyment of movies and reading books.

Dolores Ward

Dolores worked for M & I Bank for 43 years. She started as a clerk in the bookkeeping department and worked her way up to assistant vice president and audit portfolio manager of BMO Harris Bank before she retired in 2013. During her banking career, she served as president of the American Institute of Banking for two years.

As a volunteer, Dolores dedicated 15 years to Rock County ARC. Additionally, she served as a Den Mother and later Cub Master of Cub Scouts for the Boy Scouts of America at Morgan Elementary School. She has volunteered for more than 10 years at the Angel Museum and recently was elected as treasurer of the Angel Museum Board of Directors.

Dolores also belongs to the Doll Collectors Club which purchases and donates dolls to the Rock County Jail Chaplaincy Program. The dolls are given to local inmates’ children at Christmas time. A gift of money is provided so children living outside the area also get a gift.

Tirzah Casper

Tirzah Casper, through her own personal experience, has taken the initiative to assist other families whose children have autism or other special needs. She has first-hand knowledge of the struggles some families face in a traditional educational setting.

As a parent advocate, Tirzah provides respite for parents in need, advocating for their health and well-being. As a volunteer, Tirzah facilitates an ongoing parent support group each week that helps parents of special needs children have a safe place to discuss their struggles and frustrations. Her advocacy also involves collecting detailed information to support and assist families during their journey of diagnostics and therapies.

Tirzah has been a board member for Family Respite Care Services since March of 2014. Since joining the board, Tirzah and her children have volunteered countless hours each month for the Janesville program. In addition to volunteering and serving on the board, Tirzah assists with a number of fundraising events for Family Respite Care Services including the Rummage 4 Respite event.

Sherrie Swanson

Over the last 13 years, Sherrie Swanson of Beloit Regional Hospice has trained more than 400 volunteers. They contribute more than 5,000 hours of service annually with office work or patient services. Sherrie embodies their mission of “Supporting the Spirit of Life” by carefully reviewing the skills of volunteers and matching them to the needs of the organization, patients and their families.

Sherrie has given the patient volunteers the opportunity to assist families during emotional and stressful times. Many Stateline Area hospice families have been grateful recipients of volunteer visits. During the visits, volunteers read to patients, provide emotional support or are compassionate listeners.

The volunteer services that Sherrie coordinates, positively impacts the hospice patients, their families and the community. Through her mentoring, Sherrie empowers the volunteers to enhance the lives of others. Aside from her work as a volunteer coordinator at Beloit Regional Hospice, Sherrie is an active member in her church and shares her passion for helping others by facilitating a women’s Bible study, mentoring young moms, and assisting in the music ministry.

Shirley Chamberlain

Shirley Chamberlain is an active retiree spending numerous volunteer hours assisting Girl Scouts in the community. Shirley has been involved with Girl Scouts since her granddaughter joined in kindergarten more than seven years ago. Not only does Shirley attend and assist with meetings, she also chaperones all programs for the troops. She provides ideas for outings, meetings, and activities for the girls to participate in. Shirley has been a leader, mentor, advisor, and “grandma” to more than 50 girls in four troops.

In addition to Girl Scouts, Shirley has delivered Meals On Wheels, volunteered at the Rotary Gardens in Janesville, and attended Beloit Family Respite Night for the past two years.

This past fall, Shirley started volunteering as a trainer for Endeavor, an organization that provides dogs to children with autism. Her granddaughter Alyssa, now in seventh grade and a cadette Girl Scout, is working with Endeavor and Shirley on her silver award project: training dogs for people with autism and increasing awareness of the need for these dogs in our community.
















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