Our third episode of the Zonta on the Move podcast is now available wherever you listen to podcasts. This episode examines the Kankakee Club's 2016 domestic violence and human trafficking campaign and partnership that honored the club's 60th anniversary. Joining us is Rhonda Thomas, President of the Kankakee Club at the time of this ambitious endeavor, along with owner of Kankakee-based Hoekstra Transportation, Steve Hoekstra.
Rhonda, in addition to being President, has served in several other board positions and is currently the Assistant Treasurer and co-chair of the Service Committee. Through her membership with Zonta, she also became involved with 2 local Kankakee agencies:
Clove Alliance - as a 40-hour trained volunteer working with survivors of sexual assault.
Harbor House - as a 40-hour trained volunteer working with survivors of domestic
The Kankakee Club's goal and mission to bring awareness to the issues of domestic violence and human trafficking aligned perfectly with Steve Hoekstra's newly developed goal to do the same. Steve had recently been made aware of how pervasive human trafficking is and how the trucking industry has unwittingly been involved in perpetuating it. Having learned of efforts such as Truckers Against Trafficking to educate, equip and train truck drivers on this issue, Steve set about to training his staff immediately.
Additionally, his company ethos involves giving back to the community. One way they do this is by featuring a local non-profit organization on a truck trailer wrap. The trucks travel the Midwest, allowing the non-profits to gain exposure they might not otherwise have. Through a mutual acquaintance, Steve learned of the Kankakee Club's campaign and they quickly joined forces to have a truck wrapped with the Zonta Says No to Domestic Violence logo along with contact information for those needing assistance and for reporting possible cases. Rhonda and the club quickly raised funds to have a second truck wrapped as part of their 60th anniversary campaign.
The trucks with the wraps are still on the roads today and Steve's staff still get trained. Rhonda and the Kankakee Club have spoken at various conferences about this endeavor and have assisted other clubs in doing similar projects.
This is an incredible example of a true community partnership for which Zonta and Hoekstra Transportation can be proud of.