Voices of Volunteerism: Linda Cravens
Written by Isabel Smith, Volunteer Programs Coordinator
As a non profit, the Greenway Conservancy depends on the efforts of our many talented volunteers, both in the park and in the office. It is their dedication to The Greenway that makes it possible for us to have such a dynamic public space.
Volunteer Spotlight: Linda Cravens
Linda Cravens is a dynamic woman; when we meet for this interview she knew everyone who walked by us, and was warmly saying hello, giving directions and filling the room with her joyful energy.
As a former psychologist in the Cambridge Public Schools, Linda spent her career helping kids and compensating for emotional/ learning disabilities. Linda is a giver. She has been volunteering on The Greenway since day one and has contributed almost 1,000 hours of her time to the Greenway Conservancy over the years.
In her retirement, Linda has made volunteering an important part of her life. “The great thing about volunteering is that people actually want to be there. For me, when you stop working full time, you get to a point when you have the opportunity to tap into another part of yourself, and volunteering has helped me do that.”
Linda has explored a wide breadth of volunteering opportunities in Boston. She started her volunteer career helping out a friend who owned a local retail store and has since given her time to many organizations around the community. She first moved to Back Bay from Lexington then over to The Greenway neighborhood when the expressway was coming down and by then she had already caught the “gardening bug”. Even before The Greenway officially opened she was here planting and digging in the dirt. “For me, when I was doing horticulture it was like mediation. For very little effort you can create something beautiful.” In fact, she twinkled as she told me, “I once won Mayor Menino’s Roof Garden Contest!”
Somewhere down the line a friend encouraged her to become a docent at the Museum of Fine Arts. She had always had a passion for the arts, but had never translated that into work or volunteering. From day one Linda was hooked. She said that while learning about the art, both at the MFA and on The Greenway, “you reach a point where you can’t wait to share the stories with guests. I’m confronting art that is truly exciting, and it helps me let go of all other concerns.”
Currently Linda is a Park Ambassador for the Greenway Conservancy, and especially enjoys guiding free tours for the public.
I asked Linda why volunteering was important to her and she told me,“If you open yourself up to doing volunteer work in a thing that you love, you seem to attract people, you learn and you grow.”
Would you like to take an Art Tour with Linda, or learn more about volunteering with the Greenway Conservancy? Check out our website!