Apr 13, 2018

What does a typical day look like? - April 12

We had lunch, art group, Bible study, Peer Support Group and Movie Night.
Served about 25 people.
Lots of good discussion during lunch.
Had someone visit who was a client about 8 years ago, now doing great!
Collages and continued discussion for art group.
Prayer time seemed to focus on several who are recently unincarcerated, their gratitude and desires for their life.
Peer Support Group centered around staying sober.
Movie Night featured endless grilled cheese sandwiches and a riveting movie.
We celebrated many with jobs, one accepted into college, 3 return visitors from years ago, 1 new  client, and more.
We had a 15 year old drop by $100 donation from himself and his friends.
We had a recovered client drop by food to share.
We had one person stop by for a tour after seeing our invitation on the sidewalk.
Great volunteers. Great staff. Great day.
But not unusual at all!

Mar 30, 2018

“John 3:16 -- true story.”

I was leaving the drop-in after movie night when a 40-ish black man stopped me on a street corner. “I want that!” he said, pointing to my shirt. “You should give it to me."

The words on the shirt said simply, “John 3:16 -- true story.” I cracked a joke and resumed my walk. "No!” he insisted. “I really do want to talk to you." He explained that he knew me and what I do, knew that I change lives and wanted that.

He then dropped a familiar name, a former client who had gotten sober, come to Jesus and turned his life around. “I want what he has,” he said. Of course, I told him that it was Jesus who had changed the client’s life and is responsible for anything that I ever accomplish.

He asked me to mentor him. As a first step, I asked him to find a church to worship in regularly and a Bible study to attend regularly. I cautioned him not to fall into the "fixer trap" – to attend not as a homeless man but as just another sinner seeking to find out how better to follow Jesus.

We prayed together on that street corner, asking Jesus to encourage him and to help his wife, who he told me is entangled deeply in denial and addiction.

I’ll be praying for this man and I am keeping in my heart the fact that people are always watching and we may never know who or when the spirit effects people through our actions.

Happy Easter

A special Easter message from Street Youth Ministry!
Thank you
for making
this possible!
We were gathered for prayer time in what had been a slow day when Will walked in, bypassing the couches and heading straight to the kitchen. He didn't look up or say hello.

We prayed on, inviting clients to respond to questions like "God is what? I am grateful for what? I feel closer to God when?" It's part of how we help our spiritual — but not terribly religious — young adults begin to reconnect with God. The answers aren't always "nice," but they come from the heart -- maybe the gut. We repeat and honor each and every one without judgment.

After the young man filled his plate, he sat a lunch table, still apart from our prayer group, still avoiding eye contact. I was leading the prayer concert, so I invited Will to answer one of our questions. He didn’t respond, but he did look up. I could see something different in his eyes — perhaps he was high, perhaps he was in trouble. Without a response, I couldn't tell. I continued with those assembled, asking, "What do you want God to do next in your life?" Suddenly, Will blurted: “I want him to leave me alone!" Then he corrected himself: "No, I don't really want that..."

We've known Will for quite a while. He's one of those "difficult youth." Honestly, the sight of him coming in the door in early 2016 meant my staff had to re-deploy resources to handle him. We had to ask him to leave many times because he just couldn't behave safely. Lately, he's been doing great — reconciled with his father, held a job for a while, begun to realize he can't keep doing what he's been doing.

Will began to tell his story: "I was at Church Under the Bridge Sunday. I wanted to eat. They started preaching and singing, and I just started crying. I don't know why. I couldn't stop. I tried, but I couldn't. Some people noticed and they came over. They wanted to pray with me. I told them no. But I wanted it, I just didn't want to put my stuff out there in front of everyone. So I'm here..."

Having broken the ice, Will began to participate and share answers. He walked over and joined the group. The clients shared what they want God to do in their lives, talked about friends and family, and lifted up our neighborhood and the city of Austin in prayer.

When we finished, I asked Will if this had been good. He said “Yes.” I asked if he understood what happened to him the previous Sunday. He responded without hesitation: "It was the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is moving within me. I don't know exactly what to do, but I know that's what it is. Something is changing."

That's where we left it. Will has a difficult struggle ahead. But we continue to organize our ministry life so we can be there for him, on his best days or his worst. It's a pattern we see all the time. It takes years, but these awesome people recover their identities in God, in Christ, and in the world. It's a privilege to behold.

Thank you for making it possible!

Terry Cole
‘I don’t make
 the bad choices
 I used to!’
John John was a very difficult client in 2015 — always getting into fights, frequently high and belligerent. We had to exclude him from service several times. He was banned or excluded from service for longer periods of time at other places.

John John left home right after high school and got involved with organized trouble immediately. Now, however, he's sober, working and housed. "I have almost a whole paycheck saved,” he said recently. “That's more than I've ever saved in my life. And now when tough things happen, I don't make the bad choices I used to. I'm growing up and have learned to cope better. Thank you so much for sticking with me!"

We now are talking about John John's future and what path to learning and growth he wants to take. We are proud of John John!
A bonanza of 'swag'!
 Volunteers from the local sales staff of Salesforce.com donated "swag" left over from trade shows and events. They shipped it from California, assembled it into gift sets and delivered them to three organizations, including hundreds of backpacks and blankets to SYM!
Request manna bag instructions

Dec 27, 2017

2017 Highlights in Review

2017 SYM Highlight #10
We need all sorts of items. We keep them listed on our wishlist page. We appreciate used items no longer wanted at home, but we also maintain an Amazon wishlist for some items. We also appreciate shoppers who watch for sales of individual potato chip bags, which we use for outreach. YOU CAN HELP!

2017 SYM Highlight #9

Read about our internship and pass the word to mature high school juniors for summer and college students all year round. We offer a small weekly stipend. We also accept art and craft supplies of all sort for our twice-weekly groups. YOU CAN APPLY!

2017 SYM Highlight #8

Each year we focus on end-of-year fundraising. Help us avoid having to reallocate staff time to fundraising by giving now at Donate.StreetYouthMinistry.org.

2017 SYM Highlight #7
We share quarterly newsletters and monthly prayer team updates, each highlighting one aspect of ministry. Over time, you get a really good idea of what we're about. Sign up for one or both on our single sign-in page. READ OUR NEWSLETTER!

2017 SYM Highlight #6
Each year we focus on end-of-year fundraising. Help us avoid having to reallocate staff time to fundraising by giving now at Donate.StreetYouthMinistry.org.

2017 SYM Highlight #5

We highlight needed items regularly in our quarterly volunteer letter or on our facebook page. And volunteer signup for 2 hour shift to help out daily at volunteer.StreetYouthMinistry.org.

2017 SYM Highlight #4
Each year we focus on end-of-year fundraising. Help us avoid having to reallocate staff time to fundraising by giving now at Donate.StreetYouthMinistry.org.

2017 SYM Highlight #3
Our missionary staff members are all fundraising staff members and have monthly prayer letters. Contact any of them to join their letters. marissa@StreetYouthMinistry.org. Each year we focus on end-of-year fundraising. Help us avoid having to reallocate staff time to fundraising by giving now at Donate.StreetYouthMinistry.org.

2017 SYM Highlight#2
The drop-in mean expanding our budget by $110,000 overnight. We are still working to recover from this rapid growth financially. Our end of year fundraiser must raise about 30,000 to pay for services already delvered in 2017. If we do not break-even, our staff will have to shift valuable time and energy from services to fundraising in 2018. You can help us.  Donate.StreetYouthMinistry.org.

2017 SYM Highlight #1

Our mission is to know, love and serve homeless young people so they can find more stability, sobriety, reconnection with God and a faith home. We do that by establishing long-term relationships across years to deliver cost-effective and high-impact life coaching. We welcome you to become a part. Use our new chatbot to find out how you want get involved. GET INVOLVED!

Dec 7, 2017

SALESFORCE NEWS: Welcome 28 New Salesforce MVPs!


We're excited to welcome 28 new Salesforce MVPs and welcome back 102 re-awarded MVPs to the MVP Ohana today! We're also thrilled to announce 10 new inductees into the MVP Hall of Fame.
The Salesforce MVP program honors and awards those making exceptional contributions to the Salesforce Community. Salesforce MVPs are true trailblazers who dedicate their time and energy to forge a path for future learners to succeed. They bring the spirit of Ohana to life by inspiring others to learn Salesforce and connect to our thriving community.

We receive hundreds of community nominations for new MVPs during twice yearly nomination periods, so achieving this award is not an easy feat. It takes true dedication to helping others - through online answers and collaboration, leading Community Groups, blogging, sharing expertise through presentations, and countless other contributions that consistently surprise and delight our Ohana. 
We are thrilled to introduce you to the newest class of MVPs and the returning MVPs. Say hello, and congratulations! Follow them online, connect at your local Community Groups, and meet them at countless events around the world!

New Salesforce MVPs

Receiving their 1st MVP recognition

Amit ChaudharyGuillermo Pedroni
Terry ColeBill Powell
Laura DiazSamantha Safin
Stuart EdealMonica Sandberg
Ines GarciaPritam Shekhawat
Megan HimanAbhilasha Singh
Joanna IturbeCarlos Siqueira
Misty JonesCorey Snow
Michael KolodnerAdam Spriggs
David LittonSadahiro Suzuki
Sue MaassChristian Szandor Knapp
Kim McClureMary Tagler
Junko NakayamaColleen Whelan
Amy OplingerAlba Azcona Rivas

Returning Salesforce MVPs

MVPs awarded again! You can find all of our current MVPs on Twitter here.
Abhinav GuptaJesse Altman
Adam OlshanskyJitendra Zaa
Adam KramerJodie Miners
Adam MarksJohan Yu
Aiden MartinJonathan Baltz
Alex SutherlandJoni Martin
Amber BoazJustin Edelstein
Andrew FawcettKalman Sweetwine
Andy OgnenoffKaren Fitton
Angela MahoneyKartik Viswanadha
Anup JadhavKatie McFadden
Ashima SaigalKelly Bentubo
Beth BreisnesKerry McClauss (McDonough)
Bill GreenhawKevin O'Hara
Blakely GrahamKylee Durant
Brad StrussKyla Longe
Brent DowneyLars Nielsen
Bryan BoroughfLauna Saunders
Calvin SmithLori Witzel
Carolina Ruiz MedinaLuke Cushanick
Cheryl FeldmanMaria Belli
Chris ZulloMark Ross
Christine PechterMartijn Schwarzer
Clara PerezMatthew Morris
Dale ZieglerMayank Srivastava
Dan ApplemanMichael Slawnik
Daniel BallingerNana Gregg
Daniel PeterNicholas Zinser
David ChengNik Panter
David GillerPatrick Connelly
Deepa PatelPaul Battisson
Don RobinsPeter Churchill
Douglas AyersPeter Knolle
Edward SchlicksupPhil Weinmeister
Elena InurrateguiRachel Rogers
Elizabeth DavidsonRakesh Kumar
Eric DreshfieldRebecca Lammers
Eric WuRyan Headley
Gaurav KheterpalRyan Ozimek
Geoff FlynnSharif Shaalan
Geraldine GraySharon Klardie
Gorav SethShinichi Tomita
Jackie TraviesoShivanath Devinarayanan
James LoghryShonnah Hughes
Jarrod KingstonSimon Lawrence
Jason AtwoodSusan Thayer
Jean-Luc AntoineTaiki Yoshikawa
Jean-Michel MougeolleTakahiro Yonei
Jeff MayThomas Taylor
Jen NelsonVamsi Krishna
Jennifer LeeVinay Chaturvedi

New Inductees to the MVP Hall of Fame

The Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame is an emeritus status that recognizes the exceptional individuals that have been awarded Salesforce MVP 5+ times. These MVPs receive this honorary title for life, and can be renominated back into the program in future rounds based on their community activity and contributions at that time.
Andrew GrossMatthew Lamb
David PierMichael Farrington
Jared MillerNick Hamm
Jason PaquetteScott Hemmeter
Jason VenableWill Nourse

Nov 30, 2017

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Merry Christmas
from Street Youth Ministry!
""For unto us a child is born,
Unto us a son is given."
 -- Isaiah 9:6
'What do you do?'
It's a question we ask everyone, and nonprofits are asked a lot. We ask our clients a lot, too. I mean we actually ask our clients, "What do we do for you?"My heart skips a beat every time we ask, because I hope the answers reflect the energy and passion we pour into ministry.

(Pause. We have a brand new capability called a smart bot. If you'd like to help out this Christmas, click here (mobile and computer friendly) and tell us how. Answer a few questions and our smart bot will guide you to your best option! And we'd like feedback. Tell you wht you think by replying.)
It's a question we ask everyone, and nonprofits are asked a lot. We ask our clients a lot, too. I mean we actually ask our clients, "What do we do for you?" My heart skips a beat every time we ask, because I hope the answers reflect the energy and passion we pour into ministry.

The most frequent answer is: "You feed us." Indeed, we provide about 50 meals a day -- about two per person! Food matters. Every youth pastor knows that food will be at the heart of every event, at least initially.

Someone else will say, "You give us clothes and coats and socks." True enough. Volunteers sort through tens of thousands of donations every year, putting them into bins: S through XL, tops, bottoms, shoes, outerwear -- in our "store." People pick through it every day looking for what they want or need.

Then someone will say, "You give us a safe play to hang out." I believe we serve more homeless young people than anyone in Austin. Some ministries spend more on certain items. Some have case managers.. We work alongside all of them, but we attract the largest number and variety of homeless young adults.

We make first contact with more than 500 individuals a year. One of our challenges is getting this very large and diverse group to hang with us and do so safely and cooperatively. Conflict is more common that you'd think. We offer a variety of activities: structured opportunities like art group, prayer time and Bible study; unstructured times like drop-in; social events like game night and movie night. Our staff is trained and keeps things safe and clients’ thinking positive.

Then someone will say, "You're there for me when I need it." We engage deeply in life coaching on a broad range of topics. Like that insurance company commercial, "We know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two!" We've served homeless young adults for nine years now, so we've coached them through thousands of difficult problems. And here is the deal -- almost all our clients find their way and get better. A few, sadly, end up in prison, but even there, they get better. A few others, tragically, die far too early. But so many write or text us about their successes -- achieving stability, getting sober, reconnecting with God and finding a place for faith in their lives!

Just yesterday, a young man who has been a handful for some years told me this:"When you stepped up to operate the drop-in center this year, some people didn't like it. They wanted things to stay the way they were. But you've made things better. You're one of the sweetest, kindest people I've ever known, even though you hold me accountable for some of the mistakes I make. I've not taken advantage of your services like I should. I want to start counseling to figure out some of my life problems." We look forward to it!

Homeless young adults are our passion. Helping them achieve stability is our mission. We do that by being real, relevant and transparent. Their needs are many, but they’re the same needs of any young adult: to learn, discover, have a mentor, be able to make mistakes, get second chances. They are also homeless, so they need to rise from poverty's grasp. A new university study found that 1 in 10 young adults in the U.S. experiences homelessness now. Our job is tough, but we are here … and we love these people.

Thank you for being a part!Terry
Year-end Giving
We are looking for $69,826 in special gifts, so the ministry can leave the year in the black. If you are blessed and able to share, we invite you to consider giving a tax-deductible gift to reduce this amount. You can donate online, by appreciated investment, or by check:
  Click here to donate on-line:
Street Youth Ministry, 408 W. 23rd St. Basement, Austin, TX 78705
Leave a message on our hotline for the business office to begin a gift of appreciated investment:
So grateful for our TEAM!
Our team of people has grown so much this year, a thankful complement to our first year's operation of the Drop-In Cooperative. Here are Marissa (left), Billy (center), and Darvin (right) at our Thanksgiving worship with a couple of clients who participated! They are the heart and soul of knowing, loving and serving street youth!