The New Voices Team
My name is Mónica, but everyone calls me Moni. I am from San Carlos de Bariloche, a city in the south west of Argentina. I became a Lion in 2006 because of the Leos.
I am a university professor, but before I joined Lions, I had worked as the English Department Head in a high school. Students in my school had service hours in the community, and I arranged teaching English to teenagers under very poor living conditions. The program aimed at helping them with the language so that they could get a job related to tourism. Bariloche is a very touristy city, and it has the biggest ski resort in the country.
My local Lions club heard about my job, and asked the school if the students would be willing to work in a prevention campaign with Lions. The other Head of the school summoned me and told me about this project, which of course I agreed to participate in. The students were so carried away that they wanted to become Leos. The local Lions asked me if I wanted to join their club, and manage the Leo club since these young people were my students. I accepted.
My club organizes sight campaigns in the Patagonian desert, where the population has almost no medical assistance. We usually spend two days there, and we sometimes have to stay the night in a very remote school, or camp, because there is nothing in the area. The local hospital’s physicians usually join us, and apart from eye screening we also have medical check-ups (pediatric, gynecological, dental, and others). I love participating in this activity because it gives me the chance to be in touch with people with all sorts of problems. I make a list of their needs as I spend time entertaining children while they wait to be assisted, or I make tea for the elderly as they wait for their different doctors. I also work in statistics, and keep records of people’s ailments.
One moment I will never forget was during one of these campaigns. An adolescent left the optician’s room, running outside. He was crying and shouting something we could not understand. We all ran after him until he stopped and stood looking at the tree in the yard of his school. He sobbed and he couldn’t speak. After a while he said to us, “This is the first time I can see the leaves of my favorite tree in my school yard. I always sit here during break time.” We all cried with him. We had provided sight to a young man who could not avance in his studies because he did not have a pair of reading glasses. A miracle? Yes, a miracle. Lions make dreams come true. That is why I love being a Lion, because I feel I receive much more than I give. Because as a Lion we can change lives, as we did with this young person.
LCI has given me many opportunities through the years. I am a faculty member and I have had the chance participate as faculty in several institutes, and this has been a fantastic chance to meet Lions around Latin America. I get to know a lot about their activities, I get ideas from them, and most importantly, I have made lots of friends.
As Lions keep growing as a family, we have many tools to develop new programs and projects. We are very creative, and I am sure we can become even moreso. We can and will meet more challenges this year, because these will make us change to better our service in our communities, by reaching them with new dreams.