Aug 9, 2023

Broadcast Interview on Overcomers.TV


Terry Cole is founder and executive director of Street Youth Ministry, a nonprofit public charity he founded in 2008. SYMin, as it is known, provides homeless young adults with guidance counseling that changes their lives. SYMin serves 500 people each year and has expanded regionally and even nationally. Terry’s team meets clients’ basic needs and works to reactivate faith as a resource for many of them, providing support groups and Bible studies and enabling thousands of prayer requests each year. Terry uses business principles learned in his 25 years of high-tech engineering to leverage data-driven techniques as he leads an amazing team that is trusted, encouraging, inspiring and always keeping things fresh for the young adults it serves. The ministry motto is to “know, love and serve homeless young adults.” The supporters in the SYMin network find their eyes are opened as they learn to enjoy, love and support the amazing SYMin clients, investing in better futures for each of them.

Mar 6, 2023

Salvation Army Downtown Shelter Closure Will Force More People Experiencing Homelessness onto Austin’s Streets

I participated in the press release regarding the loss of 200 beds this month. It was organized by Central Presbyterian Church. We were on the press release with a logo and quote.
We spoke for 5 minutes before the cameras and a mayor city staffer. The facebook link should take you to minute 23 of the thirty minute press conference:

And we did an interview with KVUE that resulted to this tiny sound bite that aired last night:

Feb 16, 2023

Meet the 2023 Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame Members


Each year, the Trailblazer Community gathers to nominate their Trailblazer heroes for the distinguished Salesforce MVP honor. While we’ll be announcing the new class of 2023 Salesforce MVPs later this month (hold on to your hoodies, folks!), we couldn’t be more thrilled to officially recognize the newest members of the Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame.

What is the Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame?

The Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame is a special community of our most dedicated long-time Salesforce MVPs. Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame members have been renewed as Salesforce MVPs for a total of 5 years and have consistently showcased the program pillars of expertise, leadership, and generosity. This special group of Salesforce MVPs has dedicated themselves to the Trailblazer Community in deep and meaningful ways for many years. In fact, the Salesforce MVP Program was created in 2010 to recognize the incredible impact many in this group were already making, whether it was breaking the leaderboard by answering 100,000 questions in the Trailblazer Community, blazing trails for women by starting the first Women in Tech Community Group, or so much more. Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame members are the ultimate connectors. You’ll find them mentoring and guiding newcomers making a career transition to Salesforce, and they’ve been helping others solve complex problems, even before we had an online space to do so! Many of the Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame members that you see below are offering their time and knowledge, free of cost to nonprofits and universities around the world. They’re creating organizations to amplify diversity and inclusion in the tech industry and are supporting underserved communities. These individuals truly exemplify what it means to be a Trailblazer.

Updates to the Hall of Fame

Beginning this year, Salesforce MVPs who have been renewed for 5 years are inducted into the Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame, which recognizes their incredible accomplishments and tenure of giving back to the Trailblazer Community. By elevating Salesforce MVPs to the Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame, we honor their dedication and intentionally create space for new leaders to emerge within the Salesforce MVP program.

Many members of this year’s Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame class have been with the Trailblazer Community since the very beginning. In fact, prior to the 5-year term limit, many who are being inducted today were renewed as Salesforce MVPs for 10 or more years. Together, these Trailblazers created Salesforce’s spirit of “paying it forward,” established our Trailblazer Community Group program and community conferences, and forged the Trailblazer Community into the global phenomenon it is today.

Introducing the new Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame members

It’s time to introduce you to the dedicated, exceptional leaders and product experts who make up this year’s inductees into the Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame. Drumroll, please…

  • Adam Kramer
  • Adam Olshansky
  • Adam Spriggs
  • Akira Kuratani
  • Alex Sutherland
  • Amber Boaz
  • Amit Chaudhary
  • Andrea Tarrell
  • Angela Mahoney
  • Becka Miller
  • Ben McCarthy
  • Bill Powell
  • Brendan Conroy
  • Brian Fear
  • Brian Kwong
  • Calvin Smith
  • Carl Brundage
  • Caroline Renard
  • Chris Zullo
  • Christian Szandor Knapp
  • Chuck Liddell
  • Dale Ziegler
  • Daniel Appleman
  • Daniel Peter
  • David Litton
  • David Liu
  • Deepak K Anand
  • Don Robins
  • Eliot Harper
  • Enrico Murru
  • Evan Johnson
  • Fabien Taillon
  • Florence Parodi
  • Gaurav Kheterpal
  • Geraldine Gray
  • Guillermo Pedroni
  • Ikou Sanuki
  • Ines Garcia
  • Jackie Travieso
  • Jessica Murphy
  • Jitendra Zaa
  • Joanna Iturbe
  • Jocelyn Fennewald
  • Jodie Miners
  • Johan Yu
  • Junko Nakayama
  • Karen Fitton
  • Keiko Niimi
  • Keir Bowden
  • Kerry Townsend
  • Kristi Campbell
  • Lizz Hellinga
  • Louise Lockie
  • Maria Belli
  • Mary Tagler
  • Matt Lacey
  • Matthew Morris
  • Mayank Srivastava
  • Megan Himan
  • Meighan Brodkey (In Memory)
  • Melissa Hansen
  • Michael Kolodner
  • Mike Martin
  • Misty Jones
  • Monica Sandberg
  • Nana Eto
  • Nick Lindberg
  • Ohad Idan
  • Patrick Connelly
  • Patrick Solum
  • Paul Battisson
  • Peter Churchill
  • Peter Lyons
  • Phil Weinmeister
  • Phillip Southern
  • Rachel Watson
  • Rakesh Gupta
  • Rakia Finley
  • Rebe de la Paz
  • Rebecca Lammers
  • Roy Gilad
  • Ryan Ozimek
  • Sadahiro Suzuki
  • Santanu Boral
  • Shonnah Hughes
  • Shun Kosaka
  • Stacey Whitaker
  • Stephanie Foerst
  • Stephanie Herrera
  • Steve Molis
  • Stuart Edeal
  • Susan Thayer
  • Terry Cole
  • Tigh Loughhead
  • Toya Tate
  • Trish Perkins
  • Vinay Chaturvedi

Congratulations again to our new Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame members! We’re deeply grateful and inspired by the magnitude at which you share your knowledge, time, and passion. Learn more about these incredible Trailblazers and the Salesforce Hall of Fame Program on the Salesforce MVP page.

In memory of Meighan Brodkey

We’d like to recognize and honor a true MVP and bright star who we recently lost, Meighan Brodkey. Meighan’s light will always shine bright in our community. In fact, the title of Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame barely scratches the surface of all she has accomplished and the lives she has impacted.

Leader. Mentor. Friend. Teacher. Cheerleader. Champion. These are just a few of the words the Trailblazer Community has used to describe Meighan. She embodies what it means to be a community leader and Salesforce MVP. Nicknamed “Mother of Ohana Slack,” she single-handedly built a community of 10,000+ Salesforce professionals, who are connecting and sharing knowledge around the clock. Join us in keeping Meighan’s spirit alive by joining the Ohana Slack Community.

Meighan helped others love themselves and love what they do. Even when someone had a difficult time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, she had a way of picking them up and dragging them through that tunnel on her back, with a witty remark, and a joke to make them smile along the way. Her energy and passion were contagious. She was everyone’s biggest advocate. Her selflessness and the sheer magnitude of all she gave to others—her time, compassion, knowledge, and love—are part of every incredible story shared about Meighan. Her spirit and #trailheart will live on through the thousands of people she helped lift up.

May her memory continue to inspire others!

Have a favorite Meighan story to share? Please share your story in this digital memorial, which has also been shared with Meighan’s friends and family. You can also join the #ohana-slack-mother-memorial channel in Ohana Slack.

Clients are engaging more with us!


   We are very proud of how clients are engaging with us in the new year!
   We've thrown a lot of change at them in order to expand our schedule. Housing and employment are the top achievements. Getting AND maintaining them are so important to stability.
   Given the holiday season, we are also very proud of the self-care, stability and family reconciliation achievements. Lots of other great progress here. In terms of expressed goals, the same ones appear but are joined by college. Education and growth are key to recovering from the special form of American poverty that we call being a "street youth."
   It's not about physical relief only -- that is important. It's not all about housing, though that is important, too, For young people who have found their way to the street, self-exploration and additional maturity, healing and growth are keys. We are proud to be part of these stories -- each and every one!

Feb 11, 2023

New art group lets clients be creative!

   We are excited to announce the first edition of “Word on the Street” — a newspaper created by street youth, for street youth. Each edition will feature creative work by SYMin clients, plus information intended to guide anyone in need to available resources.
   In our first edition, beautiful paintings, clever haikus and powerful prose illustrate two major themes -- death and hope of life after loss – as when the silence and cold of winter are succeeded by the beauty and new life of spring.
   This winter, like many winters, our community lost a beloved friend. One client writes about how losses affected her, influenced her recovery and ultimately led her to growth, change and new life after loss.
   The content is produced by SYMin’s new “Outside the Lines” Creative Group, which meets twice a week in our upstairs Learning Center. Many clients find it possible to process difficult thoughts and emotions through art, making room for healing. This is therapy for me,” said one client. “Thank you for starting this group.”

Feb 5, 2023

Volunteers help new parents get skills they need.


   In recent years, we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of clients who are retaining custody of their newborns. The need for better parenting began to surface increasingly among client goals, so we set out to discover how to help them.
   We have a grant for consultants for new moms or those planning to be, so we enrolled parents at Christmas and invited volunteers to shop for modest gifts and development resources appropriate for children. The response has been very good.
   A SYMin volunteer, Jen Harold, took a list of our clients and matched a mom volunteer at her church to each one. They purchased and wrapped gifts of a book and a toy for each child, along with a laminated insert containing ideas for parents to use in development help and play with their children, a support gift for each parent with words of encouragement, and a Starbucks gift card.
   To be eligible, clients had to be active and have some type of regular contact with their children.
   One client, new mother of the twins pictured here, gushed her appreciation: “Thank you, Terry Cole, Suzanne Zucca, Tondra Jade Daily, and Alan Richard, for being a part of Street Youth Ministry!” she wrote. “The girls love their gifts!!!! There are so many people I would love to thank for helping me become the person and mother I am today.
   “Let’s start here: Without Street Youth Ministry, I probably wouldn’t have survived on the streets of Austin. These amazing people … loved me through my drug days, my sober days, my homelessness, my housed self, my sick days. One big thank you from my small little family to yours. I can’t wait for y’all to meet the girls in person instead of over video!!! I miss y’all dearly!

Jan 14, 2023

Scripps News - For homeless youth, sometimes finding a place to live isn't the answer

For homeless youth, sometimes finding a place to live isn't the answer

The goal of Street Youth Ministry, a non-profit, is not to find teenagers housing, because many of them just don't want that.

Volume 100%
For homeless youth, sometimes finding a place to live isn't the answer.
Rich Pedroncelli / AP

There was a time in Sadie Haas' life when she could never imagine she’d be living under a highway overpass on the north side of Austin, Texas. A tent with only a sleeping bag and a small bag of clothes are the only possessions she owns.

"This is my first time being homeless," Haas said, while sitting on top of an upside empty milk crate.

Through the honking of semi horns and the often deafening revving of engines from the highway above her, Haas slowly explained how she ended up here a few months ago. During a robbery in her home, she says, she was shot. Unable to work, she lost her job. Like so many Americans, she was one paycheck away from losing it all.

"Life knocked me down 10 notches lower," she said. "No one prepares you for that. There’s no schools for that."

Orphaned at an early age, she had no family to fall back on. Haas is among the nearly 4.2 million young people in this country who experience homelessness in a given year.

"No one is here to make sure things are gonna get better. No one holds your hand. You’re out on a limb by yourself," she said.

The days out here are long, and sometimes dangerous. The nights often feel even longer. But on the streets of Austin, Texas, if you listen close enough, you can hear a bit of hope coming from the basement of a church downtown, where Terry Cole greats a small handful of teenagers who trickle in.

"Hi, Uncle Terry! What’s up?" one of them exclaims.

Cole has been helping this country’s youth homeless population in non-traditional ways. He’s the founder of Street Youth Ministry in Austin. The goal of this nonprofit is not to find teenagers housing, because many of them just don't want that. Instead, it’s to help them get over whatever hurdle they may be facing on any given day or night.

"Our product is guidance counseling because we want to help them change their lives when they’re ready," Cole said.

For Cole and the staff here, their main goal is to simply get homeless youth in the door. They run everything from a food pantry to a talent night in an effort to do that. During talent night on Wednesdays, homeless youth are encouraged to get up and perform. Some sing, others dance, and others might read a poem.

"Truthfully, talent night is about building community," Cole said.

Sometimes young people just come here to put their feet up for an hour, and that’s okay with Terry Cole. His mission is to play the long game: whatever it takes to make that initial connection and get these kids in the door. Then over time, the goal is to work with them to maybe find a job or mental health services, or even just a new sleeping bag.

"This is a hard age group and almost all of our clients have been thrown out of one or all social work agencies, and many of them have been thrown out of here at least once," he explained.

At the end of any day, for those who are homeless, Cole says sometimes all they need is to be given a chance — no matter their age.

Dec 20, 2022

Day in the Life


Tue 11/22 -- Clients enjoyed a catered Thanksgiving meal with tons of food and conversation. “The best Thanksgiving ever because of this community!”

Thu 11/3 -- Today on outreach we served 17 people before returning to the Drop-in Center for peer support group. A client helped lead it by providing the ice breaker and the closing.

Tues 11/1 -- Today clients picked up food bags, socks and underwear during our outreach to the Austin Central Library.

Sun 10/30  -- We took a field trip to a Trunk or Treat and asked kids to be good Samaritans and place Band-Aids on our fake-blood booboos! Lots of fun!

Thurs. 10/27 -- Today clients met us at the Austin Central Library to pick up outreach bags and make prayer requests. They participated in on-site Bible study, followed by peer support group. They finished the day selecting items from the Sunshine Store, then some performed during Talent Night, which was a blast with solos, a sing-along and dancing!

Thu 11/10 -- Volunteers sometimes get the best jobs! This one was able to play with the child of a client while the clinet performed at Talent Night.

Dec 13, 2022

Counseling leads SYMin clients to brighter futures!


Counseling leads
SYMin clients to
brighter futures!

   We all know homelessness is a central issue in Austin. We focus on one small but high-potential piece: helping street-dependent young adults and their children find hope and stability.
   Diverse clients ages 28 and under find practical support and, more important, guidance counseling for the long haul.
   Clients are helped to envision brighter futures, then build them. They learn skills that equip them to set goals and achieve them: finding housing, re-entering the workforce and recovering from substance abuse.
   Clients who engage deeply in counseling perform two to four times better than those who do not. We update this calculation regularly on our website.

Group sessions

   Clients have multiple weekly opportunities to engage in counseling, either one-on-one or with others, e.g. peer groups, men’s and women’s groups, Bible study and Prayer Chorus. Some are accessible in-person from multiple sites, and all can be reached on-line from anywhere.
   Attendance has grown steadily. The photo above was taken in the support group room of our new upstairs Learning Center, and all seats were taken!
   In October, 27 clients attended peer support groups, and we counted 75 deep conversations on impactful topics. Nineteen clients reported 59 goal completions; six new clients joined the meetings.


   We lead staff and volunteers to outreaches in suburban Austin, the Austin Central Library, and San Marcos several times each week.
   We hold group sessions inside the library, and we deliver bags of food tailored to clients living either on the street or in apartments. This has opened us to new clients who cannot reach us at the Drop-in Center.
   In October, we met 103 clients on outreach, including 66 for the first time. Twenty-six engaged in deep conversations, and 15 clients accomplished a total of 36 goals.

Learning Center

   Our Learning Center is stocked with laptops purchased with grant money from the city and the Glimmer of Hope Foundation.
   Clients take advantage of two programs to earn points redeemable for above-average value rewards like laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc. Some watch videos teaching life skills, then take quizzes over what they saw to earn their points. Some engaged in “soft skills” training, a program designed by a company used by several Fortune 500 firms.
   Learning the skills gives clients a better chance to obtain and hold good jobs and enables them to navigate the ups and downs of employment in the real world.
   In October, a total of 10 clients took advantage of this new facility and the training, and the number is growing steadily.