Lifetime Achievement Honouree 2022
Linda Dennis ran her own business for many years, teaching adults in both college and corporate settings how to use desktop computers. She also wrote instructional manuals for Seneca College for their continuing education courses. With her love of learning, Linda ventured off to York University at the age of forty-seven and spent twelve years completing a degree in history (2007)—one course at a time. According to Linda, it’s never too late.
Even before retirement in 2000, Linda invested herself in countless philanthropic efforts including through her involvement with IODE, a national women’s charitable organization dedicated to improving the lives of children, youth, and those in need. She continues to serve as president of the Markham chapter.
Each local chapter of IODE chooses their own projects to support. In Markham IODE members have sponsored the children’s grief program at Evergreen Hospice; two group homes housing thirteen teenagers supported by 360°kids; Yellow Brick House; Basketeers; Markham Food Bank; literacy; and more. The common link is always children, helping with craft supplies and snacks for the grief program; school supplies for the teens in the group homes; backpacks with teddy bears and items for children arriving at the shelter; gift bags filled with food supplies for a birthday party for the food bank; and the list goes on.
For Linda, one of the fondest memories of giving back through IODE was outfitting a young woman from the group home who was preparing for independent living and starting university. Since IODE members had experience with their own children going off to university, their team filled a van with everything this young woman needed, from a computer and printer to laundry supplies to bedding and food. It’s amazing what a small group can do for just one person.
A volunteer does not work in isolation. There is a collaborative effort among the IODE members, and all have been friends for many years. Partnerships with other organizations like 100 Women Who Care Markham, another organization Linda has participated in since 2018, has led to plenty more opportunities to help others. These partnerships have provided IODE with close to $25,000 in recent years alone.
Some of Linda’s special recognition includes the Cancer Society 20-Year Award in 2005, IODE National Life Membership in 2007, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (IODE) in 2012, and the Markham Mayor’s Seniors Hall of Fame Awards nomination in 2015.
Linda considers herself blessed to live in a special country like Canada, to have such supportive friends, and the energy and the financial means to enable her to give back. She has been happily married to her husband, Rick, for over fifty-four years and together they have a beautiful family including four grandchildren.