Community Profile: Mom's Murphy
There aren’t many at Paradise who wouldn’t recognize Ms. Alfreda Murphy if they came across her walking the courtyards or doing her laundry at the laundromat. As a resident of Paradise for eighteen years, Alfreda has certainly earned the nickname so many know her better as – “Mom Murphy.” Alfreda was born and raised here in D.C., studying first at Shore Jr. High and then later at Cardoza. When I asked her to describe the D.C. she knew as a child, she smiled broadly and said, “Oh, I loved it. Everybody was easy going, everybody got along. Back then, people were different. Kids obeyed their parents and everybody tried their best to be a good neighbor.” Nevertheless, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed in D.C., and that’s Mom Murphy’s dedication to her community. In years past, Mom Murphy would cook for as many as 80 children attending Paradise at Parkside’s summer program. Knowing the young adults of Paradise as children makes it especially hard on Mom Murphy when she sees young people not living up to their potential by loitering in courtyards and smoking marijuana. “They know I love them.
I just want them to do better. I wish they had it in them to go find a job and go to work.” Being a good neighbor means a lot of things to Mom Murphey, including showing respect, and doing everything you can to help others. Mom feels a strong response as a community elder to get after the youth if she sees them misbehaving. She keeps a good spirit about this responsibility and said, “some of them listen and some of them don’t. I keep trying though.” Mom Murphy wears a lot of hats at the Community Center, and on any given day you might find her helping distribute the senior food boxes, calling numbers for bingo, or just sitting with the staff talking about the latest news story. In regards to all it means to the staff to have a dedicated community elder like Mom Murphy on the team, Miss Tina stated, “she’s a real jewel for us to have in the community center, and she’s been here so long. We always know we can count on her.” By Anna Sutton.