Rest, Resources and Readiness are at the core of HQ and drive our work. But as Sam, our Education and Employment manager likes to say: “The fourth “R” is Relationships.” The bonds we form and strengthen with our youth, staff, board, volunteers, community partners… These are at the core of HQ. We believe each and every one of us is an important piece to ending youth homelessness. In that spirit, we are highlighting stories of the people who make up HQ. Their lives and stories contribute to everything that makes HQ unique and amazing.
Meet Megan Huxhold, a volunteer whose life has led her around the world, giving her a unique perspective around the ways we trust people, create relationships, and reach healing. From an early age, Megan was involved in creating relationships as a part of a quaint project. “The project brought Northern Irish sports teams from areas which had extreme religious tensions to play in America as a religiously neutral space,” she recounts. “Here, instead of being Catholic or Protestant, they were just teenagers.” This experience with mediation showed that Megan could continue to do more. “I saw myself as something bigger than me, than my family.”
This experience fostered an interest in Europe, which eventually manifested in studying in Ireland and spending a decade abroad. Although she began her studies in International Business, she found her passions changing. “I began studying people instead; I wanted to give voice to the customer.” This desire to center and empower people is at the center of Megan’s ethic.
Megan experienced the ways in which different countries approached welfare. “Australia is going through huge changes in their welfare system, especially for people with disabilities,” she says. “Before, people were just given a company, and the company told them what services they needed. The person had no control over their lives and welfare, and instead companies told them what to do.”
She was able to witness the way in which this paradigm shifted. “The government put the power back in the hands of the people. Now, people are able to choose how to distribute and manage their welfare in a way which suits their specific needs, which makes them feel valued and empowered.” Through this change in welfare, the government was able to give a voice to a marginalized community, as well as agency over their own self-interest.
Throughout her professional life, Megan was also faced with deep realizations about her personal life. “It took me almost 30 years to realize I came from an abusive family,” she recounts. “It’s hard to express to people who haven’t come from that.” It took Megan years of thought and reflection to understand the origin of her “soul-tired” exhaustion, stress, and depression. Through counseling and support, however, she was able to create a space of healing out of pain.
This is what brought Megan to working with HQ: “I don’t want it to be so painful for other people.” After going through years of healing, Megan learned about HQ and took our HQ 101 class. “I thought, “yes, this is exactly what I want.” It was so warm and inviting, and I wanted to cry because everything that was being given was what I was trying to give to myself in my own life.” Just like she experienced happening in Australia, HQ represented a paradigm shift towards providing care which is not only effective, but coming from a place of respect, dignity, and validation.
Today, Megan works with HQ as an analytics advisor, occasionally joining us to assist during drop-ins, as well as donating meals and goods with her partner, Dan. Her experiences and growth have given her the strength to acknowledge her scars and use her strength to help others. That empathy, vulnerability, and passion for care are exactly what we feel is at the foundation of HQ. We’re proud to say Megan is an integral part of HQ, and that the story she brings with her is irreplaceable.
Article composed by Carlos Garay Negrón