Meets pressing community needs by mobilizing caring New Yorkers in volunteer service.

Lydell Tyson | Team Leader Spotlight

LYDELL TYSON

Team Leader, New York Cares

I stopped in at a Team Leader training last week, and somehow Lydell's name was mentioned as we were discussing different projects. Three out of the six volunteers who were being trained all cheered his name and acknowledged what a great Team Leader he is." -Steven Alihonou, New York Cares Senior Program Manager

A wise man once shared this important life lession, “Live in the moment, pace yourself, enjoy every mile of your life, and take one day at a time.” That man is our Team Leader Spotlight of the month and someone we are honored to have leading programs that make a difference to those struggling with food insecurity in our city.

Meet Lydell Tyson, a stellar Team Leader whose leadership has been highlighted by volunteers, fellow Team Leaders, and Community Partners. Lydell is someone who creates a purpose driven environment where volunteers can see the impact they are making, communicates clear project objectives, and contributes to a high volunteer retention on his projects. 

Read what Stephanie has to say about the impression he made on her first New York Cares project:

"Lydell is a flipping rock start. His calm ease, trust in people's common sense, and sharp-but-kind efficiency was invaluable to making this project run smoothly. I could not have asked for a better first project at New York Cares."

As a leader for projects such as Breakfast at St. John the Divine, Lunch at St. John the Divine and Sort at New York Common Pantry, Lydell is someone who knows his way around a kitchen and pantry. Well, except for the coffee station...

“My favorite memory on a project is the time I tried to make coffee. I have never made or even drank a cup of coffee in my life. I attempted to make coffee for lunch service and the coffee was horrible. It tasted horrendous and looked more like iced-tea! The clients were disappointed that we did not have coffee, but they were very understanding. This is my favorite memory because that experience showed me that clients of a soup kitchen may not always act like they appreciate that you are there, but they really do value what you are doing for them. Needless to say, I try to stay away from coffee prep.”

Funny memories aside, Lydell exemplifies a true leader through and through. He has even been instrumental in identifying, and mentoring potential volunteers who have gone on to become Team Leaders themselves – initiating a ripple effect. His Program Manager, Steven had this to say:

"I stopped in a Team Leader training last week, and somehow Lydell's name was mentioned as we were discussing different projects. Three out of the six volunteers who were being trained all cheered his name and acknowledged what a great Team Leader he is."

Thank you, Lydell, not only for leading by example but inspiring the next generation of New York Cares Team Leaders!

  • Volunteer since: 2015
  • Team Leader since: 2016
  • Hours Spent Volunteering: 598
  • Describe in one word what being a Team Leader means to you: Gratifying.
What inspires you to continue your work as a Team Leader?

Being a Team Leader provides me with the opportunity to play a significant role in addressing food insecurity, social inequity, and helping the disabled community lead a full life. In partnership with not-for-profit and community organizations, I can lead and inspire groups of volunteers as these entities engage with their local communities in order to build a stronger and healthier society.

What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about running. I believe that running is much more than just a physical activity. It helps you to find balance in life and in some ways become a better person. Long distance running, especially, is full of life-lessons… live the moment, pace yourself, enjoy every mile of your life, and take one day at a time. Running has also helped me at work. In both running and excelling at work, you have to be prepared to deal with the unexpected and be flexible enough to adjust your plan based on setbacks (for example, injury/illness in running, budget cuts, resource allocation changes in a work project). And of course, when you're done with both, you celebrate!

Tell us one thing that you never leave the house without before team leading?

When I am team leading I never leave the house without name tags! I am terrible at remembering people’s names and a name tag makes it easier for me to interact with volunteers. Seeing someone’s name over and over helps me to remember everyone.

What is your favorite thing to do in New York?

Other than running in Central Park, I love visiting the many cultural institutions New York City has to offer. New York City's museums, galleries, and theaters host an incredible range of options. The choices are nearly endless, and they extend to every borough. I love to explore new genres or old classics.

Anything else?

I think it is important that individuals give back to their community in one form or another. In particular, volunteering helps build a more cohesive, safer, and stronger community, and increases the social bond between volunteers and the community. Volunteering also helps individuals, increase their self-esteem, enhance various skills, be healthier mentally, and expand career paths.

Interested in nominating a great leader like Lydell to be featured in a future Team Leader Spotlight? Submit your nomination here.