Amy Zimmerman loves adventure. She’s cuddled a tarantula. Tried sky diving, white water rafting and hot air ballooning. And she’s traveled to nearly 30 countries, soaking up exotic cultures and cuisines. It’s fitting that “adventurous” tops the list of adjectives Amy uses in the name game—the get-to-know-you icebreaker where each person identifies an adjective with their name. Amy exudes passion for life, her family, service and work. So, it’s fitting that animated, adaptable, ambitious and activist round out her top five adjectives for the name game.
The latter is fairly recent. She added it as she became involved with The Eliminate Project.
“I had not considered myself to be an activist until a coworker referred to me as one,” recalls Amy. “I am definitely campaigning for social change—I want the world to be a better place free of maternal and neonatal tetanus. I want all children to have the opportunity to grow up, to love and be loved, to have fun, to learn and to be challenged.”
Amy began championing for The Eliminate Project in 2011, though her involvement with Kiwanis began years earlier with the Carroll High School Key Club in Dayton, Ohio. CKI, CKI alumni and Kiwanis memberships followed.
Amy is currently leading fundraising efforts for the Kiwanis Club of Cincinnati. The club committed to raise US$127,500 for The Eliminate Project. One of her favorite activities has been personally designing and selling holiday greetings cards, raising US$4,200 the past three years. Amy also serves as a multi-division coordinator in the Ohio District. She identifies fundraising opportunities for the district, recruits volunteers and keeps her team motivated.
Earlier this year Amy had the chance to witness the success of The Eliminate Project in Cambodia—and add another country to her list.
Reflecting on stories from women in the remote villages of the Mondulkiri Province makes Amy tear up. “We spoke with a village woman and a maternal and neonatal education volunteer. I remember the grief and pain in their faces as they shared through an interpreter their losses of children—one of a 17-day-old and one of a 6-year-old. They don’t fully understand why their children died, but those moments left a permanent brand on their hearts.”
“Tetanus lives in dirt everywhere,” she adds. “Some women in remote and impoverished parts of developing countries don’t have quality education or access to routine immunizations. Being able to do something is the reason I am involved.”
Kiwanis first visited Cambodia in 2011 to witness MNT elimination work. Now, five years later, the World Health Organization has declared Cambodia MNT free.
“I am so grateful for the experience in Cambodia and for being part of The Eliminate Project,” says Amy. “Kiwanis and UNICEF are truly improving the world, one child and one community at a time! I’m confident we will eliminate MNT, and I’ll be able to say I was part of it.”