Towards the end of each year, I evaluate my progress based on the New Year goals. If I didn’t hit the target(s), I consider the WHY and decide how to proceed the following year. Was it that I wasn’t emotionally invested from the start, constantly allowed myself to be distracted, or just downright lazy? I don’t even know why I added number three, I’m definitely an overachiever and lazy has NEVER been in my vocabulary! In fact, I had a toe fusion in July, was in a boot for three months, and still hosted the first Dsquared Homes for the Homeless fundraiser, while in my boot (see right foot). Last year I hit only two of my goals written down on paper, but this year, none at all. At first glance, I would appear to be a loser, but far from it! What’s happened is that while I’ve always had my annual to-do list ready by December 1st and signed in blood, lately, I’ve been listening to God. Apparently, we were never in agreement with where my focus should be, but I always thought I knew what was best for my life, despite the scar tissue.
This year I was all ears and stepped into my purpose with my one good toe, which is why I’m absent most days from my own WordPress site! God said, “quit your part-time job, stop working on your book, and fight for the forgotten voices,” which included my newly homeless son that had been raped by the mental health system. My response was, HOW can I fight a system that’s as dysfunctional as the clients they serve, and can’t I just give birth to the book I’ve been working on three years now!! UGH!!!! It’s no longer fun and regulates my life like an out of control fungus! I also complained about my lack of experience, and that EVERYONE says you can’t fight the system, that’s just the way it is. Who is everyone anyway, and why do we consider them the experts?
God said, “step into your purpose, everything you need is already inside of you, and I will supply the people needed to fulfill your mission.” So I did, founding my nonprofit, Dsquared Homes for the Homeless, which has grown by supernatural leaps and bounds. I have three teams and at least 150 volunteers. My Board of Directors is fantastic, and three have over thirteen years of nonprofit experience. The photo above is from our first charity event, a Quartermania, and it was standing room only!
My Volunteen program is a group of kids, from ages 9-17, who meet every first Saturday of the month to fill the Dsquared bags with donations collected between meetups. On a second day during the month, we meet as a team to distribute hygiene bags, snacks, water, Panera Bread treats, and blankets in the homeless community. Panera Bread’s Dough-Nation program, allows nonprofits to pick day old treats to share with those in need.
Several of my team store backpack in our cars to hand out as we travel throughout the workday, and a few supporters ask for a specific amount per month to distribute on their own. We are going viral in Arizona!
It’s exciting to get teens off of social media, which I believe is the reason for the increase in teen suicide and depression, and into the community so they can work their heart muscles, and see the realities of life. Our current team is in Queen Creek, and a seventeen-year-old is starting a new Volunteen group in South Phoenix in January 2020. Educators are getting their students involved by prepping plastic bags in the classroom for our Plarn Team, and/or sending them home with one backpack per student to fill and distribute with their parents. Seeing families serving together on the Dsquared time is a beautiful thing, and last weekend three generations from one family served with us!
Our Plarn Team (averaging 100) volunteers between Arizona and a Girl Scout group in Texas) crochets sleeping mats out of plastic shopping bags! Gary is my Director of Marketing and the only man on a team of about 100, that crochets, lol…He’s very intense about his commitment and says he’s only doing his part! Ummmm, I don’t crochet, but do my part by flattening the shopping bags so they can be cut and rolled into a ball of plarn (plastic yarn), and shipped to the crocheters.
Our Housing Committee is a group of Mental Health professionals working to create a housing model for the SMI (Serious Mental Illness) client, including Veterans diagnosed with PTSD, who will live in our Independent Housing programs. My son lived in a transitional living home after his initial onset of Schizophrenia in 2011, but watching how it was run was all the experience I had! God had to really show up on this one, which He did, of course! Three of this group either has a Doctorate or are working towards it, one has worked in the Mental Health field in every role possible, and is now a Private Consultant. The others are professionals from the various industries required to make my vision a reality.
We’ve had two interviews so far, the first by Voyage Phoenix, the second by Arizona State University who will try to feature us on Cronkite News! Renee from Slagter Real Estate is my Director of Housing and has introduced our Rider program! Agents from all over the world can partner with us by donating a portion of their sale to Dsquared, and take home one of our absolutely gorgeous riders! Our first rider is in Mesa, Arizona, check it out at the bottom of the for sale sign in the photo!
This photo is the group from last week’s trip to serve the homeless in Pioneer Park! Matt, in the front row with white socks, gave the shoes off his feet to a homeless man in need! I was as surprised and impressed as the homeless man, but still came home with mine! I guess I have a little more growing to do in that area, it was a chilly Arizona morning, lol.
Although leading a nonprofit is a lot of work and quite stressful, I’ve never felt more fulfilled in my life! Since I see how God is working in my life, I’ll only add two goals for 2020, and see what else HE has in mind! Of course, that will be completing my book, Renewal of the Mind, The Upside To Schizophrenia, and finding another career, now that I know my purpose in life, and what makes my heart sing! You can follow us at Dsquared4homeless.org, and/or email us at Dsquared4homeless@gmail.com if interested in sponsoring our Volunteen Outreach with your business logo on 100 of our backpacks or volunteering your talents to our team. I mainly need help with grant writing (which can be done from anywhere), and social media! Though I built the website because our nonprofit didn’t have the funding, it was one of the most frustrating months in my life. Yes, it took me a month to create what someone could have done in 4 hours or less, but that’s dedication!