Empowered woman, Cindy Doyle
She is probably the only one who is surprised. "I am astounded to receive this honor. I feel humbled - I feel the volunteers should be honored for their work, not me," Cindy Doyle says about being named Empowered Woman of the Year 2009. The recognition, given by the nonprofit organization, Women Empowered, Inc., acknowledges "the woman whose attributes and activities positively affect the Island community." Ms. Doyle will be honored at a brunch on Saturday, May 30, at Mediterranean restaurant in Oak Bluffs.
"This Island would come to a standstill if not for the volunteers," Ms. Doyle says, adding, "I should be the one giving something to the community for what they have given me. It feels a little backwards to be on the receiving end."
A community activist, Ms. Doyle moved to Martha's Vineyard in 2001 from Rhode Island, where she worked as a psychotherapist. She had been coming to the Island since 1978, with her husband Robert, who is a substance abuse counselor.
"I didn't know many people, and I decided not to work once I moved here," Ms. Doyle says. "My children were grown, so I decided the best way to meet people was to get involved."
Get involved she did.
Shortly after moving to the Vineyard, Ms. Doyle began participating with the Island's YMCA and its efforts to build a swimming pool. She became a member of the Dukes County Health Council (DCHC), a coalition of community members, public officials, and health organizations, where she spearheaded the creation of its Youth Task Force (YTF), and she serves on the board of directors of the Martha's Vineyard Donors Collaborative (MVDC), a collaborative of donors working together to strengthen the Vineyard's nonprofit community.
The chances of meeting Ms. Doyle and not being impressed by her passion for the goals of these organizations are slim. Inspired by her experiences as a mother and as a new grandmother, she lends the youth of Martha's Vineyard her voice.
Ms. Doyle noticed that those under 20 years old were not represented in a DCHC survey on the general health and well being of the Island population. "So I became very noisy about representing children in the Dukes County Health Council," she says. "I'm not looking for any new projects now because of my granddaughter, Emma, but 20 percent of the year-round population on the Island is under 18, so they need somebody to advocate for them."