Helen Keller once said that “What I am looking for is not ‘out there’ it is in me.” In early 2002, I subscribed to receive emails about possible volunteer opportunities at Prevent Blindness Texas. After much curiosity and a spark of interest in PBT’s volunteer opportunities, I decided to visit the PBT office and find out more information about becoming a volunteer. To my surprise, I was instead notified that the “Kid Matters Program Coordinator” would soon be leaving PBT and instead, I was offered the opportunity to apply for the part-time position. What started off as a possible volunteer opportunity quickly turned into a wonderful and rewarding job experience.
My name is Monica Saenz and I currently serve as the state program director for Prevent Blindness Texas. Since June 2006 I have been responsible for facilitating the planning, coordination and evaluation of programs for Prevent Blindness Texas and its branches and/or regional offices. My key responsibilities include developing and maintaining collaborative partnerships with service organizations and community resources, as well as providing guidance and technical assistance to offices in program implementation. Over the past few years my job duties have expanded to include creating program delivery models to expand within the regions, actively seeking funding sources to support the continuation of our programs on a statewide level, and implementing social media programs, as well as our newly designed website to increase our visibility. Prior to assuming my current position in June 2006 I also served as the Kid Matters Program Coordinator, Client Services Coordinator, and Houston Program Director.I never thought my part-time job would turn into one of the most rewarding and fulfilling career experiences. Some of my proudest moments at PBT include working with new staff and learning from their previous work experiences and innovative ideas, hearing the wonderful news of our volunteers getting accepted into optometry school, BUT most importantly receiving success stories from grateful clients who have received assistance through our sight-saving programs and services. Throughout my 10 years at Prevent Blindness Texas I have realized that providing support to the PBT team and knowing that our programs and services have made and continue to make a difference in many lives has also made a difference in my life. Whether it’s the school nurse, teacher, parent, or adult who calls and says that an eye exam and/or eyeglasses has made a difference in their lives, this is one of the many reasons that reassures me that “it is in me” to continue my work at Prevent Blindness Texas and/or in the non-profit and health industry.
I encourage everyone to find out more information about Prevent Blindness Texas by visiting us at our website or by following us on Facebook or Twitter.
Monica, thank you for everything that you have done for Prevent Blindness Texas, its clients, its partners, and the nonprofit and health industry, in general.