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Meet Your Neighbor

Linda Doyle


by: CONNECTION PHOTO: DREW DAKESSIAN - Doyle.Age: 60

Neighborhood: Hillsdale

Claim to fame: Active volunteer work in the Wilson High School area

Aka: Wife to Bob Kaplan, a biology professor at Reed College, and mother to Jessica, a graduate student in archaeology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Casting the net: Doyle first started volunteering when her daughter was a first-grader at Rieke Elementary School; she helped Jessica’s classmates learn keyboarding and then basic word processing. When Jessica moved on to Robert Gray Middle School, her mother followed, volunteering as a tutor for ESL students. Doyle continued that work at Wilson High School after her daughter started school there.

Lock, stock, and barrel: Doyle has a mas- ter’s degree in public health and used to work for the Multnomah County Health Department, but took an early retirement so she could focus solely on her volunteer work.

“I got so much energy from working with kids that I just said, ‘You know what, I’m just going to do this,’” she explains. “I’m not employed with a paycheck, but I am fully engaged.”

Broad spectrum: At Wilson, in addition to her ESL work, Doyle helped start and continues to maintain the Wilson Spotlight, a newsletter of student accomplishments; created an alumni website and newsletter; and co-founded the Wilson Area Arts Council (WAAC) when Wilson’s music program was threatened in 2004.

“I love the sciences — I wish more kids would get involved in the sciences — but it just kind of struck a chord that the arts were just getting cut left and right,” Doyle recalls. “I guess I’m stubborn, and I said, ‘I’m going to do something about it.’”

One popular program of the WAAC has been In The Bag, a yearly fundraiser in which celebrities and other people of note donate hand-decorated purses and other autographed items to be auctioned off, with the proceeds benefiting the WAAC. Doyle founded it with fellow volunteer Jacie Evans in 2010.

Salt of the earth: Doyle does not perform community service, but helps shed light on the community service of others. In her regular column for The Southwest Community Connection, she pro- files fellow Southwest Portland-area volunteers. But finding subjects can sometimes be a struggle, because like Doyle, they avoid the limelight and fly under the radar.

“They’re just like me: they don’t want to talk about it,” Doyle explains. “I appreciate why they don’t want to talk about it, but they’re just some fabulous people and they just give, give give, and they make this place so special.”

Rubbing elbows: When asked to what makes her tick — as a volunteer and as a citizen of Southwest Portland — Doyle cites a character from Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Tipping Point.”

“The character, ‘the Connector,’ that really is important to me,” she says. “It’s about making connections.”