Ruby Green is United Way’s director of first impressions

Published 5:52 pm Monday, September 10, 2018

When people walk into the offices of United Way of West Central Mississippi, they meet the director of first impressions — Ruby Green.

“I’m the first face that you see when you come off the elevator, and I try to give everyone a smile, greet them with a ‘how’s your day,’ because that’s the way I want to be greeted when I come in an office,” she said. “I have been office manager and administrative assistant; I got director of first impressions about seven years ago.”

A Vicksburg native and graduate of Alcorn State with a degree in nutrition and disease, Green has worked for United Way for 17 years.

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“I was interviewed by Barbara Tolliver, who was the director,” she said, adding she was hired as the agency’s office manager and administrative assistant.

“I didn’t know a lot about United Way, but I was glad that I was able to get on board with a nonprofit, because that’s the kind of job you are able to help people and God just gave me a gift to talk to people and help them when I can.

“I love what I do; I do a little bit of everything, but my passion is talking to people,” she said. “Helping them when I can, if I can’t I try to help them find resources so they can get the service they need and the help they need.

“I’m really thankful that Mrs. Barbara Tolliver gave me the opportunity to me to become so involved and serve the people in Vicksburg and Warren County.”
Working at United Way, she said, gave her the opportunity to get out and work with the different agencies, and volunteers and talk to companies. “United Way,” she said, “Is like family.”

Every day at United Way, Green said, “Is a different day. You never have a normal day; there’s always events we’re doing, there’s always meetings.

“At United Way, we build relationships. We connect people with other people who can give those services to the clients. Clients come up to get help; some clients just come up because they want someone to listen.”

She said she has had situations where people come in and just want to talk about the situations they are in.

“I try to give them the best advice I can, and if I can’t, and see they need counseling, I send them to one of our agencies,” she said.

“I’ve had individuals come and they’ve had problems with a family member. I’m not a counselor, so I gave them the resource to go to — Grace Christian Counseling and Warren-Yazoo Mental Health.

“I talk to them because I’ve never been in that situation, I’ve always had family members I could talk to. Some people don’t have that, and all they want you to do is listen to them and that makes them feel better.

“I think God gave me the personality and the gift to give back to the community when I see someone needs it, I want to be there for people.”

Besides taking with people and making referrals, Green is also involved with United Way’s projects, like its annual campaign. She also works to help foster children at Christmas and Toys for Tots and produced the Dancing with the Vicksburg Stars fundraiser.

“I want to make sure people — children or adults — can get the things they need, not necessary what they want, what they need. If I can help one person out of 10 or out of five, I feel I’ve fulfilled my passion and my goal.”

But her efforts to help others go back top before United Way.

She taught in the school system for two years — one year at teaching home economics at Vicksburg High School and substitute teaching at Warren Central Junior High School.

“I loved doing it because there were kids in the classroom who didn’t have, and I reached out and got them what (supplies) they needed,” she said. “To this day, they’ll come and greet me, so I’m glad I kept those relationships with them, even though they’re grown.”

Green said the inspiration to give goes back to her childhood.

“When I was a little girl, my mother always told me that it’s not what you receive, it’s what you give,” she said. “She made sure we give back to children who did not have. We didn’t have a lot, but she wanted us to give if we had a dime and another child didn’t have anything, we gave them one of our nickels. That’s how my mom was.”

She has continued the tradition with her daughter when she was in the third grade.

“We had a family and we bought a whole meal for a family,” she said, adding her daughter has her daughters, do it, “Because we have a special needs grandson and he’s 10. He’s our joy, because anytime you see L.J. smile, that’s what it’s all about; having a child to smile and know they are loved.”

Green said she has no plans to stop giving “until the Lord calls me home. I love what I do.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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