By John Anderson
If you see a woman tooling around town in a light-blue VW Beetle Convertible, it’s most likely the new Executive Director of the Auburn Senior Center/Elder Affairs, Mignonne Murray. Ms. Murray brings a wealth of knowledge and experience into her new job along with the energy that younger people have.
Although a committed vegetarian, Ms. Murray agrees that pronouncing her first name is easy if you think steak, as in filet mignon. Murray has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Wheaton College and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Framingham State College. After graduation, she worked as a Resident Services Coordinator at the Newton Housing Authority.
Ms. Murray then moved to Wales, UK with her husband so he could complete his Master’s and PhD in Political Theory. While there, she worked as Manager of a 55 and older housing development. This complex was social housing similar to Section 8 housing in the U.S.
Most recently, Ms. Murray spent four years as the Assistant Director and Program Developer for the Division of Human Services and the Council on Aging in Natick. In addition to administrative, programming and supervisory responsibilities, Murray gained experience in grant writing, which will certainly be beneficial to Auburn.
Having been in the Auburn job for about two weeks when we talked a week ago, Mignonne Murray was still learning the new faces and personalities at the Lorraine Gleick Nordgren Senior Center, and she assessed, “It’s a new situation for everyone.” She sees senior centers as “an invaluable second home to seniors.” “They come for each other, and they look out for each other.”
Murray wants to get the word out to Auburn seniors about increasing programs. Auburn Mass Daily is certainly willing to be a messenger, and Murray said, “Even if the seniors don’t use a computer, their caregivers see the web sites.” She would like to increase the exercise classes that attract the baby boomers as well as the educational classes and lectures which appeal to some in every age group. Murray will be looking for volunteers to instruct many of these classes. She also sees the need to reach out to and assist homebound seniors.
The Natick Senior Center was a pilot site for “Aging Master” designed by the National Council on Aging. The 12-week course, which largely incentivizes health care, was taken by 35 seniors, and she’d like to see it brought to Auburn.
Mignonne lives in Natick with her husband Matthew and their 5-year-old daughter MacKenzie who started Kindergarten last week. Welcome to Auburn!