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

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

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

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

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

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.

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 29, 2017

Report: State should form task force to tackle youth homelessness


AUSTIN (KXAN) – A new report about youth homelessness in Texas highlights a need for comprehensive policies and a funding stream to address the ongoing issue.
Texas Appleseed partnered with Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS) and conducted more than 100 interviews with youth who had experienced or are experiencing homelessness in Texas. Both groups also pulled data from state agencies related to youth.
Clair Cole, 19, became homeless when she was 16. “I had a lot of struggles connecting with family especially in that time of my life,” she said. “I was going through a lot. They were going through a lot.”
Cole relied on couch surfing to find places to stay. But as time passed, it became harder. “[I was] feeling like I was a burden, a lot of just trying to sink into the background and just be there without being there,” she said.
She’s now 19, received her GED and has her own small business making jewelry. She also serves as a Lifeworks Youth Ambassador in Austin, raising awareness about what services are available under their provider program.
“I would never want anyone to experience the feeling of not feeling welcome in your own home,” she said.
Lifeworks says each evening it shelters or houses more than 140 youth. There’s also a counseling division for individuals and families who deal with abuse, trauma, anxiety or other stressors.
“If I had known there was an emergency shelter, I would’ve gone straight there,” she said.
The report by Texas Appleseed and TNOYS says each year, at least 1,000 students who have dealt with homelessness repeat a grade and 1,400 drop out. It also says youth in foster care are in high risk of becoming homeless. In 2016, a total of 1,250 youth aged out of foster care on their 18th birthday. In that same year, more than 1,000 children in Texas ran away from a foster care placement.
Gabriella McDonald, the pro bono and new projects director for Texas Appleseed, said schools are on the front lines of this issue, but too often, it’s hard to track.
“Sometimes, schools don’t find out they have youth who [are] experiencing homelessness until they have someone who is about to graduate and it’s time to pay for their cap and gown,” McDonald said.
Both organizations have recommended that Texas form a statewide task force led by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the Department of Housing and Community Affairs. They also want lawmakers to form a dedicated funding source to support prevention and intervention services for at-risk and homeless youth.
“There’s state funding for youth, there’s state funding for homelessness, but there’s not state funding for youth who are homeless,” McDonald said.
Terry Cole runs Street Youth Ministry. The organization holds several relationship-building events, focused around art, guidance counseling and teamwork.
“We meet them where they are,” he said. He said too often youth who face homelessness are stigmatized and viewed differently.

Jun 20, 2017

'Faces of the Transient Lifestyle'

'Faces of the Transient Lifestyle'
The black-and-white portraits of these street youth -- (left to right) "Blue," "Lauren" and "Otter Pig" -- were photographed in Austin between 2014 and 2016 by Michael Joseph, who since 2011 has photographed train riders and hitchhikers he calls "a loosely knit tribe of travelers" living transient lifestyles nationwide.

A series of Joseph's black-and-white portraits of these travelers — titled "Lost and Found" — is now on view at Daniel Cooney Fine Art in New York City. Street Youth Ministry has served some of these individuals specifically -- and lots of them generally. We invite you to learn more about Joseph's work, using the link below.
Go to the exhibition's web page

Volunteering for SYM yields 'a strong feeling of family'

Volunteering for SYM yields
 'a strong feeling of family'
[EDITOR'S NOTE: in mid-year 2016, we began to urge our donors, volunteers and other partners to share their experiences and give SYM a rating using the website. To date, there have been 27 entries, among them a gratifying testimony shared by volunteer Rodolfo Aguilar (at right in the photo, with SYM client Jose) and excerpted below. Thank you, Rodolfo!]
Volunteering for Street Youth Ministry of Austin has been a life-changing experience. The way this ministry deals with clients is inspiring, humbling, and motivating. Attending to these clients in a personal level have enriched and fulfilled my life in ways I didn't expect. I realize I can do more for them, and always find myself looking forward to the next time to be of service.

Witnessing the passion Mr. Terri places in every single relationship he builds with his clients, with genuine dignifying care and respect, and incredible patience, I've humbled myself and widened my scope in matters of life in which most people would choose to look the other way. The welcoming ambiance has a strong feeling of family and camaraderie.

Clients spontaneously find a much needed peaceful and safe place that has been set up strategically to reach them at the stage of personal, emotional, and spiritual development they are and scaffold them to higher levels of personal growth without being pushed or coerced.

They start wanting to learn more, seeking and finding that spiritual connection that anchors their sense of being, the realization that their lives are worthy and that they can find ways to achieve their dreams. Possibilities can be in their hands.
Click here for volunteer opportunities

May 1, 2017

ID's Legislation in Texas Needs Help

There are three bills pending for the 2017 Regular Legislative Session in Texas that relate to Identification for clients of street youth. None seem terribly objectionable but without support from the public it's not clear they will be reported out of committee and move forward.

Identification has become quite difficult to obtain ever since 9/11 -- for good reasons. However, as a homeless person, it has become increasingly difficult to get Texas Identification cards from DPS. Our clients often face a very frustrating period of 3 or 4 months in order to get their ID, only to often turn around and have it stolen or lost on the streets. They often face extremely frustrating requirements such as needing ID to get their birth certificate and needing a birth certificate to get ID. Or similarly, needing an ID to get proof of social security ID and needing social security ID to get a photo ID. The only portion of the process that seems easy is, ironically, proof of residency. We are able to notarize for clients a statement testifying that they are homeless.

One proposed legislations would make it simpler for every homeless person to obtain ID. And two other proposed legislations would apply to youth in foster care and homeless young people through age 21 (or possibly 24).

HB 3354 - Was referred to Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee about a month ago – it has not gotten a hearing yet, and if it doesn’t get a hearing in about a week it will be dead.

HB 3561 - Was voted out of committee two days ago – there was a committee substitute, and this language is not on the Internet yet, but should be next week.

SB2107 – Referred to Health and Human Services Committee about a month ago, and has not gotten a hearing yet. The drop-dead date for Senate bills is a little later than house bills.

Street Youth Ministry strongly encourages citizens of Texas to support passage of simpler DPS IDs for homeless and especially homeless youth. If we want our homeless to get jobs, find housing, apply for benefits, they desperately need IDs quickly. So much of the work in social justice focuses on attempting to help homeless navigate the frustrating, changing, and challenging requirements for DSP issued ID. And these IDs are prerequisite for so many programs and opportunities that we all want our homeless to avail themselves of. It only makes sense to take away this barrier for all homeless and especially younger homeless. Many homeless reports giving up their plans to return to normalcy after repeatedly experiencing frustrations and setups in obtaining IDs. 

Please contact your representative to let them know you would like these bills to come out of committee and be approved this year!

Apr 25, 2017

Handling Anxiety as a Young Adult

by Guest Blogger - Noah Smith

Photo Credit: Wokandapix, Pixabay
Even though anxiety disorders are typically highly treatable and are the most common mental illness in the U.S. (affecting 18 percent of the population), only one-third of sufferers receive treatment. In addition to seeking professional care, there are things you can do as a young adult with anxiety to help get your symptoms under control. Doing so will help you to live a more comfortable and enjoyable life.
Risks of Untreated Anxiety
Anxiety is commonly associated with agitation, insomnia, and the inability to concentrate. It’s also associated with an increased risk of heart disease and respiratory problems, as well as irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal disorders. Headaches, both tension and migraine, are common in people with anxiety, as are allergies, sleep disturbances, and teeth grinding. Obesity has also been linked to anxiety.
Anxiety causes chronic stress, which can compromise your immune system and make you more susceptible to infections. If left untreated, anxiety can lead to a dual diagnosis with another mental health disorder or a substance use disorder. The negative effects of anxiety disorders can interfere with your life, creating issues at work, school, and in relationships. As you age, you have even more responsibilities, which will only add to your stress and exacerbate your anxiety. The earlier you can get a handle on your anxiety, the better.
Healthy Ways to Cope
Keeping your health in order is one of the most important ways to help you have a handle on your anxiety. Maintain a well-balanced diet and do not skip meals and snacks. This will worsen anxiety symptoms. Also, try to avoid caffeine and alcohol. You should also ensure you’re getting adequate sleep and establish a regular bedtime and wake-up time. Anywhere from seven to eight hours a night qualifies as adequate sleep.
According to, “Daily exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and anxiety.” Aim to exercise four or more days a week. In addition, many anxiety sufferers find relief from practicing deep breathing, meditation, or other relaxation exercises. Try to schedule rest breaks throughout the day, even if you have to set an alarm on your phone to remind you. Whether you take a short walk, meditate, practice mindful breathing, or another relaxation technique, be sure to take a few minutes several times a day for a timeout.
Find a hobby or passion and incorporate time to engage in that activity on a daily basis or as often as possible. Some people enjoy playing instruments, while others enjoy writing. A hike is therapeutic for certain individuals, and others find great joy in a game of disc golf. It doesn’t matter which interest you prefer, as long as it’s a healthy way to have fun and let loose.
Maintaining supportive relationships is an important part of successfully functioning with anxiety. Try to build loving and warm relationships with trusted individuals. This support system is an invaluable resource on your high-anxiety days and during hard times.
Dogs are good for anxiety because they provide structure and make people feel connected. They also boost your mood and reduce stress. Dogs can help you feel a sense of purpose and help you meet new people. If you don’t own a dog and don’t have the time or resources to care for one 24/7, take advantage of the sharing economy (today’s economic system in which individuals are able to share, borrow, or rent services or assets from another private individual). For example, if you’re 18 or older, you can take on dog walking as a side gig to take advantage of the health benefits of quality time with dogs while also earning extra money.
Anxiety disorder is a chronic condition, so there is no cure. It’s a lifelong disease with many ups and downs. However, living a successful and comfortable life with an anxiety disorder is possible. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle and incorporating some coping techniques, you can have better control of your symptoms.

Author: Noah Smith