Grey Mist Lifting

A Weekly Blog About Lives Changed Through Eye Care

Brian Foster, Executive Director

With thanks to you, Mona. Happy Volunteer Week!


Mona Soyland has volunteered in our Calgary office every week for over a year, donating more than 120 hours of her time. Thanks, Mona!

Mona Soyland has volunteered in our Calgary office every week for over a year, donating more than 120 hours of her time. Thanks, Mona!

This week is National Volunteer Week – a time to recognize, celebrate and thank Canadian volunteers. Operation Eyesight is fortunate to have a large group of wonderful volunteers who help in our head office in Calgary – many of them on a weekly basis. One of our dedicated weekly volunteers is Mona Soyland.

Mona first heard about Operation Eyesight at a social gathering. No longer able to work full time due to a medical condition, she was hoping to find an organization to volunteer with on a casual basis – and Operation Eyesight was just the place she was looking for!

“Volunteering is a way for me to contribute to society while I’m not working,” she says. “And Operation Eyesight is a great place to volunteer. Everyone’s welcoming and they make me feel like I’m part of the family.”

Since she started volunteering in January 2014, Mona has come to understand, believe and promote Operation Eyesight’s mission to eliminate avoidable blindness. Her volunteer support includes making donor thank you calls, updating the database, conducting research, working in booths at festivals, and even taking photos and editing videos.

While she has a knack for the more creative tasks, she enjoys helping in any way needed. “I like to look for the challenge and try new things,” she says. “If I want to learn, the staff are always there to answer my questions.”

Mona is a virtuoso when it comes to donor thank you calls. Her kindness and enthusiasm is enough to brighten anyone’s day.

“I’m always interested in why people donate to Operation Eyesight,” she explains. “I love hearing their stories, and I can usually tell on the phone if someone is going to be talkative or not.”

If you’ve ever received a thank you call from Operation Eyesight, chances are Mona was the bubbly voice on the other end of the phone.

If you’ve ever received a thank you call from Operation Eyesight, chances are Mona was the bubbly voice on the other end of the phone.

Donors often tell Mona that they appreciate Operation Eyesight’s careful use of donation money. “Operation Eyesight is a great organization that uses its funds wisely,” confirms Mona.

Mona says she would definitely recommend volunteering at Operation Eyesight to others. “It’s a great opportunity for those looking to challenge themselves,” she explains. “You can explore your limits from the office, or you can get involved with the festival side of things. And the best part is, the hours are flexible.”

Mona also volunteers with her condominium board, and she recently signed up to assist the visually impaired through the new “Be My Eyes” smartphone app. In her spare time she enjoys photography, watching movies, socializing with friends and travelling.

Thank you for being “part of the family,” Mona. We’re grateful to have compassionate and talented volunteers like you.

Happy Volunteer Week to all of our office volunteers: Alisha, Anita, Anjali, Jason, Jie, Joe, Joseph, Jueping, Laurie, Linda, Norma, Shreya and Sylvia. Also “thank you” to our youth club members, our school committee volunteers (Lisa and Sylvia) and our many festival workers!

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