Linda Lyke has worked at Cedar Crest since 2010, overseeing volunteers for Assisted Living, the Health Care Center, and Cognitive Care – and with nearly 100 enthusiastic volunteers at a time, her days are definitely never dull!
Linda is responsible for recruiting volunteers (both from the community and Cedar Crest residents), processing applications and background checks, giving orientations, scheduling, and coaching of volunteers, if needed. People find Cedar Crest and its volunteering opportunities through a number of ways: their local church, high school, job center, VolunteerMatch.org, and more. Some students at Craig High School in Janesville participate in an intergenerational program during the school year, so visitors might see more "young" faces at Cedar Crest then too.
Linda notes, "Independent Living residents are always welcome to volunteer in other areas of the community. Some periodically stop in to see me at the Activity Office to inquire about opportunities, as well."
And what sorts of activities are available? Volunteers can choose to deliver mail, transport residents to Cedar Crest's chapel, accompany wheelchair-bound residents on walks, play games, or assist with in-house entertainment, such as simply sitting with the attendees. Linda encourages volunteers to think about how their role at Cedar Crest can be tailored to their own interests. She notes that one volunteer likes to lead hymns and play the piano, while another teaches residents how to make their own jewelry (Cedar Crest provides the supplies). A husband and wife duo organizes regular games of euchre. No matter their preference for activity, Linda aims to be very accommodating with volunteers' schedules and asks that they commit to at least 1.5 hours a week or several times a month.
There are also a number of opportunities for Independent Living residents to lend a hand in the Independent Living community, although Linda does not oversee volunteers for that area. Almost 60 people regularly help with activities such as organizing games, planning social outings, giving tours of the Cedar Crest community, organizing crafts, and assisting with computer and Internet usage.
"It sounds like we have a lot of help – and we do – but more volunteers are always welcome, in any area of Cedar Crest!" says Linda.
A volunteer herself, Linda has worked in the nonprofit community for more than 15 years. She previously served as Community Relations Manager for the United Way of North Rock County (now, the United Way Blackhawk Region), is president of the Milton Seventh Day Baptist Church's leadership council, and is secretary of the Milton Library Foundation's board.
"It's been so rewarding to see how our volunteer program has grown over the years," emphasizes Linda. "When I started here, there was no formal program, so I've really been fortunate to build it from the ground up, along with Cedar Crest's management. And it's important for me to understand what others look for in a volunteer role and what they need to have a positive experience."
Linda has been married to her husband, Jim, for nearly 30 years, and they have a son and a daughter, both in college. She enjoys hiking, gardening, scrapbooking, travel, local theatre, and of course, volunteering.