Meet Daybreak’s new CEO Alisha Murray
Inspired by helping youth realize they deserve better.
This spring, the Daybreak Board of Trustees appointed Alisha Murray as Daybreak’s new Chief Executive Officer. While this is a new role for Alisha, Alisha has been a part of Daybreak in various roles since 2007. She boasts an impressive background with leadership, administrative, and direct care service at non-profit organizations within the Miami Valley area with a focus on human services, children, and youth. Read on to learn more about Alisha and her thoughts on homeless youth.
Daybreak: How does your direct care background, and working with children and youth, help you in your new role as CEO?
Alisha: I’ve always had a passion for helping youth. Throughout my experience, I’ve learned that some youth are not set up for success. There are environmental factors that can cause disruptions in a child’s life that follow them into adulthood. When I worked with children from birth to age three, I noticed that if those children didn’t have the needed support and interventions at an early age, then those issues would continue to follow them. Many of those kids end up at Daybreak as young adults because they have nowhere else to go. What I bring to the role of CEO from this experience is an ability to use my understanding of these environments to figure out how to be more proactive and preventative within the current systems or create a new one.
Daybreak: In some of your previous roles at Daybreak you worked directly with the youth. Was there a moment that made you think differently about homeless youth and the services Da
Alisha: Yes. I worked with a youth for a couple of years who initially struggled to connect with staff because she had issues with trust. She had a background of complex trauma, including having an abusive mother, an absent father, and was placed in multiple foster care placements. Eventually, we were able to build trust with her and we began to see improvements like obtaining housing and employment.
One day I asked her what had changed, and she said, “I realized I deserve better.” Her response was so powerful and moved me because her barriers didn’t define her. She recognized that she mattered and had purpose. Unfortunately, when many of our youth first come to us they don’t feel like they deserve better. My hope is, while at Daybreak, all youth will eventually have a sense of internal value and purpose despite their background and barriers.
Daybreak: What makes you most proud about working at Daybreak? What is your favorite thing about Daybreak?
Alisha: I’m proud of our mission to serve an underserved population and that we always strive to do better and improve how we help youth. We’re always looking for trends and adjusting our approaches.
My favorite thing about Daybreak is that I love hearing the stories of success. Little successes in a youth’s life like someone maintaining a job for two weeks, or someone getting their high school diploma, always makes me smile.
Daybreak: What do you wish more people understood about homeless youth?
a: Homeless youth are not bad kids. Many factors have led to them being in this situation. Some, like the youth who identify as LGBTQ+, live in a home that is no longer safe and they have to leave that environment. Almost all Daybreak youth have been exposed to trauma from a young age. For some, they’re just trying to survive. We have to start seeing things from their perspective.
Daybreak: What’s your vision for Daybreak in the next five years?
Alisha: Growth. Sadly, the need is there. Specifically, we need more space in our emergency shelter and more housing options.
Daybreak: What’s something we may not know about you?
Alisha: I’m a huge fan of Marvel movies! The Hulk is my favorite character because the complexity of his personality and his anger fascinates me.
I’m also very involved with my church. I help run a women’s empowerment group that provides an opportunity for women to come together and talk about various topics. I also like to cook meals for the community.