Using Memories

 In Reflections
Reflections from the Front Lines

Using Memories

Clear space for new, fresh, and positive feelings.

It’s been 15 days since my last post. Fifty-two + weeks since losing my sense of smell; sometimes I smell things in the air, however if I dig in close to smell something there’s nothing. Like a dog with its nose in the air, I have caught whiffs of fried onions, coffee (!), burnt popcorn, and tea tree oil. Fun times.

At the Human Services Campus, the unsheltered number is consistently over 800 and the sheltered count over 900. The weather is changing with chills and clouds, today fog and humidity. As of late, I hear myself talking and feel like Debbie Downer. I promised to several that I won’t be all doom and gloom at the upcoming breakfast event. So, on that note, I am going to focus this Reflections post on the positive. For there are always good things happening, even though the need and demand for services is unrelenting.

Positive, “tell me something good,” grateful for items:

  1. The 18th Annual Mike McQuaid I am Home Breakfast is December 14th! This is our sole fundraising event. Our goal is $1M. Registration is still open for in person and virtual attendance at It is 100% free to attend, and we will be asking for donations.
  2. The unsheltered resident nearest my office window has set up a space that is super organized and includes a table that has a glass vessel holding flowers and water. This held up through the weekend rains. Watching her care for her possessions and calmness is like watching normalcy in chaos. If she can be calm, then so can I.
  3. There are growing partnerships with animal serving organizations to bring veterinary care to our pet clients. As a dog lover, knowing that the services will continue to expand is promising and heartwarming.
  4. Community members have been overwhelmingly generous with donations of clothing and accessories, so much so that our hallway is overflowing. And, we are seeking volunteers to help sort through and organize everything! It’s a good “problem” to have.
  5. HSC Board Members are engaged, advocating, influencing, raising money, leading, strategizing, amazing people HSC can count on.
  6. STN TV, who selflessly created The McQuaid Mission in early 2021 and allows HSC to continue co-producing this livestreaming show. In partnership with other organizations dedicated to improving our community. Now produced monthly on the first Thursday of each month, those Thursdays are the best days of the month.
  7. Donors, funders, stakeholders that continue to call and ask, “what do you need?” Those that sincerely ask and genuinely listen.
  8. Colleagues who are trusted co-conspirators for the greater good. Some I have known for over 15 years and some only a few. I am energized, inspired, lifted up by their friendship, mentorship, support, and at times commiseration. Coming with age and experience is the broadening network of people I can reach out to…. wow. I’m a fortunate human.
  9. HSC employees who make the magic happen. The front line, do whatever it takes people who show up and serve our clients every day, 365 days a year. The development team that raises the resources, works with volunteers, and manages those clothing donations. Our finance, HR, admin and operations teams that although small in number tackle all the behind the scenes tasks that keep the Campus running.

After the initial uncertainty and anxiety when the world heard the words “global pandemic” and “stay at home,” through the loss of lives and impatience with wanting to hear the words “pandemic over” and “endemic.” The last week made me realize that I want to lift the cloud of grief that has been hanging over me. Not to forget, not to ignore, however to clear space for new, fresh, positive. To move towards using memories, not to let memories use me.

About the Human Services Campus

Founded in 2005, the Human Services Campus is a collaborative force of partner organizations united on one campus to end homelessness. Located just west of downtown Phoenix, 16 independent agencies on the Campus see nearly 1,000 individuals every day, offering a holistic range of client services including: reunification with family and friends; mental, physical and dental health; shelter; employment; meals; legal services and housing. Having all of these resources in one location with intra-agency communications makes it more feasible to provide a customized engagement for each client to help end their homelessness. For more information, visit

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