Mindy Smith (left) and Carroll Gerow

Here Comes Colbie!

Two-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat is coming to Kauai, so get ready to rock out for a good cause. It’s a benefit for Zonta Club of Hanalei and the group’s largest fundraiser to date.

“We don’t get a lot of live music, and this is quality,” says club president Carroll Gerow. “This is a wonderful program that’s going to happen.”

“Colbie Caillat and Friends in Concert,” which also will feature performances by Caillat’s fiancé Justin Young, Anuhea and local band OCDC, will take the stage at 6:30 p.m. at Kauai Christian Academy.

All the musicians have agreed to donate their time and talent, and just thinking about their graciousness brings tears to club treasurer Mindy Smith’s eyes.

“It makes me want to cry,” she says. “I will cry that night.”

The idea for the concert was Smith’s — Caillat is her hanai niece.

“I’ve known her since she was a baby,” she says.

She jokes that she was “crazy” to come up with the concept and agree to serve as chairwoman. But crazy as it may seem, it’s bound to be a heart-warming celebration dedicated to carrying on the club’s mission to support the growth and success of women.

“It makes me feel happy to help people,” says Smith, who owns Bubba Burgers in Hanalei and has lived on Kauai since the early 1970s.

Raising money and volunteering their time is what the team of 27 North Shore women do through their volunteer work with Zonta Club of Hanalei. Its programs include Pink Pineapple, which assists young ladies with self-esteem, and volunteers also help out at St. William Church each Friday, supplying clothing, diapers and other items to people in need. The group also supports other organizations that promote healthy and happy lives for women, like YWCA Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing and Hale Opia.

Gerow knows firsthand how important organizations like these are to the community, as her ex-husband physically abused her.

“So I’ve been there too,” says Gerow, who is now happily married to husband Dave. “And that is a lot of the kind of work we do.”

While Gerow had the help of family members to get her through her tough times, she knows others don’t always have the same support, and that’s where her group comes in.

They also empower women by awarding annual scholarships. In an average year, about 15 women are awarded $1,000 each to pursue higher education.

“Not only does it give women money, but it gives them self-esteem and they see that they’re really valued — all of their work through high school and college is paying off,” she says.

Since 2009, the club has distributed more than $70,000 in scholarship money.

“I didn’t have an education, and my parents didn’t push me to get an education,” says Smith, who has since achieved not one but three degrees: in biology, accounting and interior design. “It’s really important to me because I know how it opened my eyes.”

Zonta Club of Hanalei formed its charter in 2007 when Robin Savage-Thomson saw the desire and need for women on the North Shore to have their own group. Smith and Gerow are charter members and have remained committed to serving the community, especially on the North Shore.

“I love helping women any way I can,” says Gerow, who manages Hula Moon Gifts in Hanalei and has lived on Kauai since 1999. “It’s so nice to be able to give them a hand and help them.”

Umbrella organization Zonta Club International boasts more than 30,000 members who volunteer their time in 67 countries. It was started in 1919 in Buffalo,

New York, by women who were just beginning to enter the workforce at the time, had college degrees and were able to vote. The more than 1,200 clubs across the world work cohesively to improve the legal, political, economic, educational, health and professional status of women locally and globally.

Zonta Club of Hanalei is made up of women with varied backgrounds, from lawyers and accountants to business owners and retirees.

Smith and Gerow are proud to be part of such a diverse team. The dynamic (and hilarious) duo is excited and hopes the upcoming concert will raise $40,000.

To purchase tickets ($45 or $75 VIP), visit zontaclubofhanalei.com.

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