Eden Volunteer of the Month- February 2018

Joanne Ikeda at Eden Lodge in San Leandro

We are so proud of the volunteers who choose to give their time to our affordable communities and residents. If you're interested in volunteering with Eden, please go to Volunteer with Eden Housing.

Below is Eden Housing's Volunteer of the Month

Name: Joanne Ikeda

Property: Eden Lodge

“This is a picture of my family celebrating my 70th birthday.  The two young women in the center are my daughters, and my husband is down in front!” (Joanne is second to the right wearing the corsage.)

Why did you chose to volunteer with Eden Housing? It is not too far away from where I live, and I can relate to seniors because I am one!

What have you done as a volunteer? Please describe your role and what you have worked on. I've helped some residents with computer problems.  One man wanted to change his passwords to some of the websites he uses.  Another woman wanted to learn how to Skype.  Although I am not a computer expert, I have used a computer for over 20 years both professionally and personally. Just before Christmas, I held a workshop where residents made earrings.  I have made beaded jewelry as a hobby, and I thought people would like to learn to make simple earrings.  Everyone made at least one pair and many people made multiple pairs.  They planned to give them as gifts! This coming week, I am giving a presentation on "Do you need to take Vitamin-Mineral Pills?"  I am offering personal nutrition assessments to residents to help them recognize the strengths and weaknesses of their diets.  I was on the faculty of the Nutritional Sciences Department at UC Berkeley for over 35 years.  I taught courses for students who wanted to become Registered Dietitian (RD), and I am a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist.  I know lots of people are taking supplements but are they taking the ones they really need?  I can help them find out the answer to this question.

What have you learned through your volunteer experience?  Have there been any surprises? I was surprised to learn how low an income a person has to have in order to qualify for Eden housing.  I feel badly that these seniors have so little money to live on.  Many of them have made important contributions to society.  I want to make their lives more interesting and fun

What do you like best about volunteering with Eden Housing? I think I am helping strengthen the sense of community at Eden Housing.  I hope that I am helping residents get to know each other a little better through the activities that I do.  People need each other, and if they know each other, they won't be reluctant to ask for help.  They are more apt to understand why their neighbors do the things they do, and they are less apt to become irritated by them.

Are there any tips that you would share for someone else who is considering volunteering? Don't be afraid to volunteer.  I've done lots of volunteering since my retirement 10 years ago.  I've always felt appreciated.  I've met lots of wonderful people.  If you are lonely and depressed, the best way to get better is to volunteer.  Giving to others is one of the greatest satisfactions in life.  I feel so much better about myself when I help others.  I've been very lucky in life.  I was born into a low income family, but I studied hard, got an education, and had a great career.  I feel I need to help those who haven't been as lucky as I was.

Tell us something we may not know about you. Any interesting facts you’d like to share about your life? I have two daughters living on the East Coast.  The older one is an internet marketing expert and works in advertising.  She has a beautiful apartment on the 38th floor of a modern Building.  The view is incredible! The younger one is a graduate of the Juilliard Drama department and has worked as an actress for almost 15 years.  The N.Y. Times called her the "indispensable off Broadway actress" because she has been in so many off Broadway plays.  She's also been in Broadway plays, but her Asian features make it difficult for her to get roles.  

If you're interested in volunteering with Eden, please go to Volunteer with Eden Housing.


eden housing does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, or any other arbitrary basis.