When Charlestown’s Ginaya Greene-Murray applied to run the Turn It Around youth group in 2017, she wasn’t the typical candidate.
Some on the hiring committee didn’t think she had the right experience, and admittedly, she didn’t have the typical youth development credentials.
But she got the job, and this week she leaves the position anything but typical, having run that program and others in the Charlestown Coalition for several years – making a deep imprint on the organization and the youth that count her as a mentor and a friend.
Greene-Murray announced she would be leaving the Coalition, and members and co-workers gathered with community members last Thursday, July 15, at the First Church in Charlestown to share memories and bid farewell.
Greene-Murray, a lifelong Charlestown resident, said she was compelled to apply for the job after being recruited by Coalition colleague Shannon Lundin-White. While she had youth development experience at her church, she never had worked in mainstream youth development. However, she had a calling, she said, especially in her hometown.
“I just felt like I’ve always had a calling to encourage young people to be their best,” she said. “It sounded like the perfect fit for where I was at in my life – to be able to serve youth and especially the young people in my own neighborhood. I particularly wanted to work with a broader group of kids that are so kind and caring and aren’t always perceived that way here. I wanted to change that perception in Charlestown and I think we have.”
Greene-Murray said she will be transitioning to a human resources position where she will do work internally within the new company, and she said it was just the right time to make the move – despite the many tears that were shed during the good-bye party for her.
“This was a great time to transition for me as a mom, and it was either now, or I probably would have never left,” she said. “I feel like I’ve given this group all I have and the season was over.”
Sarah Coughlin, director of the Coalition, said Greene-Murray was the perfect candidate to lead the organization when she come on.
“She had the energy and all the skills we needed at the Coalition,” she said. “She exceeded all our expectations. We were just getting started on our social media and newsletter and she blew it away. She was also able to build great relationships with kids that were just very hard to engage.”
That was clearly the case last Thursday after a large group of teens, some that were currently in Turn It Around and some that had graduated from the program, came back to tell their favorite “Ginaya Story.”
There were lots of laughs and lots of tears, but Greene-Murray said she will still be living in Charlestown, and she’s only a phone call away.