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!

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