Linda Dooman describes herself as retired — sort of. While she no longer has a full-time job, she generously gives her time and energy to Family Programs Hawaii, an organization that has been part of her life since 2001.

During the time Dooman’s husband Jim was a member of Rotary Club of Honolulu, the club asked the couple to volunteer for a Friends of Foster Kids (former name of Family Programs Hawaii) summer picnic. The couple stepped in with a willingness to give back to the community, and three months later were asked to join the board. Dooman served on the board for 10 years, and in the last few years has served on the organization’s donation committee. “I love raising money,” she says. “I’m never afraid to ask.”

She also works to collect toys for its Annual Holiday Party for all of the program’s keiki, to the tune of 1,500 gifts. “I also make all the Christmas toy boxes for our collection at Christmas,” adds the caregiver, who watched over her mother and mother-in-law before they died.

A veteran volunteer at Family Programs Hawaii events, Dooman still finds each experience inspiring. “When you see 1,500 kids running around the event all dressed up and so ready for Christmas and to see Santa, it’s amazing,” she says.

In addition to her holiday projects, she volunteers in the office two days a week, helping with any needed filing or shredding and answering phones. She also has served on the Goddess Gala committee that services Family Programs’ Project Visitation, and has been a big help at its summer picnics (although Family Programs hasn’t held one in the last few years).

Dooman finds each program the organization offers to be so important to helping the community. She speaks highly of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, which works to find good adoptive homes for children, and Hawaii Adoption Resources.

She has enjoyed her time with Family Programs Hawaii and still gets emotional seeing the different people the organization assists. “We’re able to connect with them,” she explains. “What we do really does make a difference when kids graduate high school and go on to college. You know what you’ve done has helped so much to make their lives better.”