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As 2018 comes to a close, it's common to reflect on all of the great things that have been accomplished this year. Wrapping up a successful year of community work and dedication, Z-Club members worked tirelessly to complete projects that truly define the aspirations of the club, and are gearing up for yet another year of tremendous success in 2019.

One of the major projects Z-Club members completed this winter was making hospital trauma dolls for children at the Golisano Children’s Hospital. For this project, every member of Z-Club stayed after school and used patterns to sew dolls. These dolls were faceless, giving the children at the hospital the opportunity to draw on their own expressions, and to use them as an outlet for what they are feeling; hence, making them “their own.” The dolls were created in many shapes, sizes and colors to ensure every child at the hospital received a doll that they felt represented them most accurately. Not only are these dolls used to comfort the patients, but they are also used for the doctors to demonstrate medical procedures the child needs, which may make their experience at the hospital a little bit easier and less intimidating. An added feature of the dolls were handmade and sewn hospital gowns for each doll (patterns created by Ruth Vevone). In this respect, the garments were alike to what the patient would be wearing, and made each doll more complete. The dolls were inspired by a similar Kiwanis project.

To make this project more personal, Z-Club members were able to deliver the dolls to the hospital. Generously transported after school by Big D’s Limos, students traveled to Golisano Children’s Hospital to drop off the dolls. Z-Club Treasurer Connor Cuthbert, who was one of the students on this trip, stated, “The experience was surreal. It’s really something to actually see how big of a difference our efforts make. It’s one thing to do the project in our school building, but it's something different when we are actually able to see where they are going.” Hospital staff members talked to our members about the children’s hospital and different career options available where one would be working with the children and families. In addition, they discussed skill sets and education requirements for these opportunities.

Since the commencement of the 2018-19 school year, Z-Club members have also been involved in many different aspects of service work. In October, for observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, some of our members went through staged simulation activities where they could get a feel for what victims of domestic violence endure. This activity was sponsored by the Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency's Domestic Violence Services. It brought awareness of this serious issue to our classrooms, and introduced us to helpful community resources. Later in the month, on a lighter note, some Z-members participated in the Petal it Forward campaign, spearheaded by Cosentino’s Florist. Thanks to our local florist, students were taught how to create beautiful bouquets of flowers for the purpose of giving them away to brighten someone’s day. The day after making the bouquets, students met in downtown Auburn to pass them out to random people they encountered. Two bouquets were given out to each person — one bouquet for the recipient to keep and one for them to continue the kind act and give it to someone else. This campaign created a ripple effect of kindness throughout our community.

Z-Club’s generous efforts throughout our community have been ongoing. In the previous month, members volunteered at Auburn Community Hospital’s 10-year Auburn OB/GYN celebration at the Owasco Playground pavilion. They also assisted in transporting goods for the Zonta Club of Auburn’s Gathering for Gratitude event. Furthermore, just before Christmas break, some members helped out at the soup kitchen at The Episcopal Church of SS. Peter & John. They passed out food alongside many other volunteers, and helped clean up. Members regularly assist at our local soup kitchen because they enjoy being able to help out.

Z-Club will continue to create a positive impact on Auburn’s community and the world alike. The club has big aspirations for 2019, and all students look forward to contributing to making plans become a reality. Overall, Z-Club is a great way for the students of Auburn High School to experience the benefits of helping others and making a difference.

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Grace Morgan, Olivia Morgan and Ashley Reilly are members of the Z-Club, a student Zonta club at Auburn High School affiliated with the Zonta Club of Auburn. For more information, visit zonta.org or zontadistrict2.org.

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