Staying Flexible


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(This is one of an occasional series of profiles of notable people in the community, provided by the Greater Carbondale YMCA.)

The latest addition to the staff of the Greater Carbondale YMCA may be a new face, but Heather Murphy has been a contributor in the grant-writing process at the Y since 2005. Murphy has a master's degree in social work but gained the majority of her nonprofit experience at the Nonprofit and Community Assistance Center (NCAC), an organization that assists regional nonprofit orgainzations with development and education.

When Murphy and her husband, Brendan, started to raise a family, she decided to stay home to take care of their young children (they eventually had four, who now range in ages from seven months to seven years old). Through mutual connections with NCAC, Murphy and the Carbondale YMCA began a working relationship and Murphy was able to work from home and write grant proposals for the YMCA.

Due to some major family decisions, Murphy recently decided to return to the workforce while her husband pursues a doctorate degree. Murphy was hired full-time in September, and given the title of financial development director and volunteer coordinator.

"We needed a schedule that we both could manage," she said of her and her husband. "Right now, Brendan is home with the children." Once Heather's husband is accepted to graduate school, their schedules will accommodate work, school and family life due to the flexibility the Carbondale Y has given Murphy. "It's wonderful because the Y is allowing me to be very flexible with my hours. I work 30 hours here at the facility and 10 hours at home. I can flex my schedule whenever I need to. The Carbondale YMCA is very supportive and family-friendly."

Murphy feels God's timing was a key factor in being hired at the Carbondale YMCA.

"Everything fell into place," she said. "My work schedule and my husband's class schedule will be able to accommodate each other."

In addition to performing her financial development director duties, Murphy is also the volunteer coordinator.

"We have a new application form and process for welcoming volunteers," she said. "We can always use an extra set of hands."

Although the Carbondale YMCA has undergone some major expansion and renovation changes over the past several years, there are projects on the horizon that need to be funded in order to continually support the mission of the Y. Murphy says she hopes to bring a new perspective to her position by foreseeing the addition of new programs that will benefit the area residents.

"We are looking at installing a new filtration system in the pool so we do not have to use as many chemicals," she explained. "The basement where the original pool was located needs to be renovated. We would love to make it into an intergenerational room where seniors can use it during the day, and where teens can hang out at night."

In the future, funding will be needed to launch several adult programs which may include an Alzheimer's support and respite care group, and a diabetes prevention program. Murphy expects that her expertise in grant writing will help these programs and physical changes will become a reality.

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