Leon County banks on Green

Cecka Green
From left to right: Marvin Green Jr., Chaela Green, Marhee Green, Marvin Green III, and Cecka Green.

By Vaughn Wilson
Special to the Outlook

When 68-percent of Leon County residents voted for the creation of the State of Florida’s 10th Children Services Council, the next phase for the county was to decide on funding, while seeking a leader. The new director would be the CEO of a municipal unit responsible for managing a $5-$10 million budget as provided in a tax rate. The complex position required an organizer, a strong communicator, a friendly face, and an understanding of what it takes to fight for the children of Leon County.

In November, Cecka (Trueblood) Green was unanimously appointed to the position. 

“Under the leadership of Cecka Green, the heights to which the Children’s Services Council can soar is unlimited,” said Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor. “Her heart, the compassion, her network of associates aligned with her in a positive and favorable way.  She’s grown up in this community and brings a whole lot to the table.” 

Green said she understands that with her appointment, residents will rely on her expertise to navigate a better situation for the children and families of Leon County seeking quality living conditions, healthcare options, mental health intervention, educational experience, fairer engagements with law enforcement, and better opportunities for employment preparation.  

“It does not fall feint on me that while there are lots of programs, providers, stakeholders, and people in the community that are doing their best to help children, youth, and families, there is more that needs to and can be done,” Green said.

Raised on the Southside of Tallahassee, Green matriculated through the FAMU Developmental Research School and then through FAMU.  The English graduate, who also earned her Certified Public Manager’s affirmation from Florida State University, has been preparing for this position with virtually every move she’s made since graduation.  

Encapsulated by her exceptional communication and organizational skills, Green has worked for the Department of Children and Families, Florida League of Cities, Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association, Voices for Florida’s Children, and the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.  Green acknowledges that each assignment enhanced her understanding of the issues and varied methods of addressing underserved communities in Florida.

The struggles of families living on the Southside are very familiar to Green, who grew up there and has a personal first-hand perspective. 

“My parents divorced when my sister and I were very young,” she shared. “Both of my parents were very educated. Living with my mom, who was supporting our household on a teacher’s salary, was tough during the summer when she had to scramble to find other employment to close the gap. I remember a couple times when our lights got cut off.  I went to work at 13 to help out our family, so I understand what it means to families trying to figure it out,” Green said.

Green is married to Marvin Green, an entrepreneur and a former associate athletics director at FAMU. They have three children Marhee, Chaela, and Marvin III.

Coming to the CSC directly from serving as executive director of the Children’s Home Society of Florida, Green’s preparation appears tailor-made for the position.  She guided the CHS, which provided early childhood programs, counseling and partnerships with foster care, adoption, and community schools with detailed focus.

Many units within the county will partner with CSC to provide a better-rounded solution for area youth. Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil shared his hopes for the council during a forum where he was addressing crime in the county. 

“I am looking forward to working with our newly-formed Children Services Council …Their expertise can help close the gaps on some of these re-occurring issues we’ve not been able to get a handle of,” McNeil said.

Proctor added that he is confident Green will be an effective leader for the Council. 

“Currently (the council) is a configuration on paper, but with the creativity, the work ethic and the spirit of Mrs. Cecka Green, I expect the CSC to exceed what we drafted on paper,” said Proctor. “The Council is going to be an awesomely powerful instrument if we get out of her way and allow her to give vision and further implementation of the CSC.”

Green said she will honor the community’s trust in her leadership. 

“What the referendum says to me is that the voters of Leon County were looking for a new thing and it was a new thing that they did not mind funding,” she said. “My passion to assume this role is focused on a deep desire to unite the diverse sectors of our community.”

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