Archive for July, 2012

July 31, 2012

How We Grow Partnerships


Street Youth Ministry depends on our partnerships. We we entered our forth year this summer! It’s been an amazing journey from the beginning. And we owe a lot of Pastor James Lee, who first challenged us to make use of volunteers! (Thank you, James!) That has grown to an amazing and virtual army of people who support the ministry by doing, collecting and buying!

However, we are still expanding and need even more relationships. We will depend on church and group partnerships. So how do we start?

We’ve been tracking our partnerships carefully since the beginning of the year. As of May, we have 32 groups or partners at one stage or another! That’s up from 24 at the end of 2011 and 13 at the end of 2010. We have the goal of adding three volunteer partners and three ministry partners this year. So how do you help?

We believe that long-lasting partnership are built from the grass roots up. We are interested in partnerships of three years or longer, since we know that our mission is a long-term endeavor.

We have defined three stages of partnership. The first is getting started. The second is growing relationship. And the third is formalizing the partnership. We can supply you with a checklist of opportunities for each stage of partnership.

During the getting started phase, you identify three self-starter volunteers who can jump right in to our ongoing events, identify a service project to organize at your church, and invite us to speak at a Sunday school class or two. In the second stage, we expand these things and identify some lay leaders who can help grow the relationship with us.

In the third phase, we look at what your church might want to own with SYM. In the case of ONE Chapel, it was owning our Monday night outreach. They trained to use SYM procedures, keep the same records we keep, and are completely integrated in our volunteer sign-up and in-kind donation flows. In the case of University United Methodist Church, it was discovering that they had a clothing closet already serving the homeless but not serving many of our clients. We worked together to identify boundaries and overcome them. Today, they serve between 15 and 25 of our clients every week! Another partnership example is with Austin Stone. One of their missional communities now owns a Wash Day service project on the first Monday of every month.

If you want to help get a partnership started at your church, just reply and ask fo rour partnership checklist! We’re happy to share, encourage you, and discuss how to move forward from stage to stage.

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

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July 27, 2012

Why I Give


I recently received a thank you card from your organization for a donation I made. You indicated in your note that you were interested in my connection to the ministry. My son is a street youth in Austin and liked your Facebook page, which led me to your organization. My donation was made in order to help my son, or someone else’s son or daughter, as they struggle with being homeless and in need.

 

I am impressed with your organization’s mission and the ministry that you do. For several years, I worked for an organization that provides transitional housing and services to women and their children, along with a food pantry, clothing assistance, and other services to those in need in my community. I understand the needs of your organization as you try to serve those in need. Next time I get to Austin, I hope to volunteer with the Street Youth Ministry organization for a few days.

 

Today I made another donation to your ministry. I hope to continue contributing to your wonderful organization.

 

Tell us why you give?

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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Become a fan on Facebook!
Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

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July 23, 2012

Giving Your Personal Daily Best


God has put the words “rising expectations” in front of us many times this year. It’s been a sort of catch phrase all year long. And the words have been brought to life again recently at a Bible study.

 

When it’s hot outside, people sometimes misbehave. They are tired and grumpy. But on this day, things were just out of control. I had to stop Bible study repeatedly for rude interruptions and name calling. I asked for help. I asked people what I should do. I got lots of suggestions.

 

Many said I needed to be tougher. Others said I needed to have more rules. Some wanted me to exclude some clients (who are often higher maintenance). None of this really set with me. I went home and prayed for God to show me the solution. I spent a couple of restless days and nights, but the answer came.

 

We have added one rule: we expect you to give us your personal daily best. When you can’t behave that way, we want to meet with you individually but we ask you to leave our group event for the day. What does it mean?

 

It’s personal best behavior. That means it varies from person to person. Some of our clients are lower functioning. So their personal best may be lower in some ways than others. Some of our clients are doing great but they can still challenge themselves to give us their personal best behavior.

 

It’s daily best behavior. We all have ups and downs. Right after a breakup, we can’t give the same personal best as on a day when everything is going right. But we can challenge ourselves to be our best on any given day.

 

Best isn’t perfect. Nobody would be around if we needed everybody to behave perfectly.

 

Why would we want this? Almost all our clients agree that they want to get better. Most want to get off the street eventually, if not now. But everyone agrees that the street (and indeed the world) doesn’t always bring out the best in us. We want to provide a place where that’s different. We want to offer an environment that is encouraging. One that builds people up. And a community that joyfully and lovingly holds you accountable to raising your expectations of yourself.

 

We’ve already asked people to leave. We’re starting with very concrete external things like breaking or messing something up intentionally. And we’ve already had to ask people to apologize for name calling or leave. It won’t be easy but we will set a deeper cultural expectation for our events. We believe that as our clients expect better things in our environment, our clients will also expect better things in their lives and in themselves.

 

The payoff is already hinted at. Three times we’ve already heard clients use the phrase with one another, “That’s not your personal best.” Twice it was successfully done to encourage someone to make a better choice. 

 

Join us  and volunteer at one of our weekly events.  Ways you can become involved with SYM.

 

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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Become a fan on Facebook!
Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

Follow SYM: Facebook LinkedIn Blog RSS Twitter Plaxo Etsy Etsy Blogger Google Buzz Tungle.me YouTube Google Plus

 

 

July 20, 2012

Top Ten Things to Buy if You’re Homeless


I recently found this article on the web, written by an older woman, named Kylyssa, who had been homeless: http://www.squidoo.com/what_to_buy_if_you_are_homeless.  It outlined what she would have done with $100 if she found it while she was homeless. I decided to test this paper with our street youth clients here in Austin during our self-care time on Thursdays.

 

We began with her premise that your goals should shape your spending. She proposed three goals: get a job, keep the job, and save money to get your own place. The street youth agreed with this goal, although for some of them it gets changed to include school. Then she concluded that to do these things, you must be clean, well-groomed, rested, and fed. For our clients, we could also added addiction free and well-adjusted mentally.

 

The first item on Kylyssa’s top ten list was a backpack: a home for all your possessions when you are homeless. The street youth agreed. They often get one free from SYM or from Lifeworks. However, we don’t always have them and we limit them when they are lost repeatedly. I challenged this group on Thursday to answer the question, “Is a backpack so important that anyone without it should be willing to beg enough money to buy one at Goodwill or Savers?” After much discussion, the agreed that a street youth should, no matter what. [We have yet to verify that you can actually buy a backpack used for $5 or $10.]

 

The second item on Kylyssa’s list was a mylar blanket. She claims it would help keep you warm and keep you cold. Given that it’s summer, it wasn’t agreed that one should get such a blanket. But they did agree that a sleeping bag or blanket in the winter is essential. And they agreed that having a bulky blanket or sleeping bag can be a serious detriment to getting a job. Having a sleeping bag is a “tell” that you’re homeless. (It’s not allowed inside a public library, for example.) And there isn’t any place reliable to keep the bag. So in the end they agreed that the woman was mostly right. A space blanket might be the best except for when it’s really cold because it can fold up so small and be hidden inside your backpack.

 

The third item we discussed was bar soap and antiperspirant. To get a job and keep a job, you need to look and smell clean. Soap kills the bacteria that make us smell bad. Antiperspirant (not just deodorant) is very help to suppress sweating and reduce bacterial body odor. It is available in sample sizes from Lifeworks. SYM gives it away when we receive it and we typically give away full size solid, but it’s not always available. We discussed that this was so important, that the street youth believed a client should be willing to beg to get enough money to purchase a good antiperspirant at CVS or a dollar store. Waiting for it to be available for free isn’t consistent with their goals. This was an eye opener for some youth. It began to establish a principle: “Be willing to invest in yourself so you can achieve your goals. Don’t wait for it to be free, but take advantage of free when you can.”

 

The next item on the list was brushes for your teeth and hair. People immediately felt this was necessary. SYM has dental care supplies but rarely combs or brushes. Lifeworks provides sample sizes for dental care and usually has combs. The youth quickly agreed that this was a low cost item and they should be willing to purchase it for themselves at a dollar store if it’s not available for free.

 

The next item was clothing. Clothing results in a long discussion about whether you need interview clothing or not these days. It was agreed that a lot of jobs are available without a suit or dress for interviewing. But it was agreed that a nice interview outfit–not dressy but smart–gives the youth confidence. So keeping a nice set of clothing to wear was agreed as a good idea. Lifeworks and SYM provide clothing regularly but nice clothing that fits is always a challenge, and it’s not available all the inexpensively at thrift stores because so many people enjoy shopping that them these days. Our strategy is to help them find clothing and then see that they have the ability to wash them through our twice monthly Wash Day.

 

Undergarments were next on Kylyssa’s list. A lot of street youth do without. The paper makes the point that this obviously makes your clothes get dirty fast. We provide socks regularly. Underwear is harder to find donations for. We need a good source of men’s boxers from a wholesale source. This is an area to improve our service in.

 

The next item on the list was a plastic drop-cloth. Kylyssa recommends sleeping and sitting on it instead of the ground. Again, her main focus is staying clean once you’ve gotten clean. Our clients agreed it would be good. So many times they pull together a good outfit and get clean, and then along comes a rainstorm or they have to sleep somewhere nasty, and it’s mostly lost. Again, our strategy is to give them access to wash twice a month.

 

Hats and gloves were next on her list. We give these away by the buckets in wintertime. They are compact and go a long way to improving comfort. They easily tuck away and don’t scream, “I’m homeless!” like a stack of bulky blankets do.

 

Next on the list was a phone number. We totally agree. We often recommend that street youth sign-up for Google Voice so they have a free phone number and answering machine to receive messages on. They can even make calls out from a borrowed cell phone this way. And we tell parents of street youth that one of the best gifts is to purchase a cheap phone and a monthly pay-as-you go service plan for their youth. They can keep in touch with family, friends, and use a phone to save lots of travel time when they are searching for a leg up. Street youth agreed. They are fond of using Cricket phones, but we encourage them to use pay-as-you go service that is lower cost.

 

An address was next on the list. You need it to receive a W-2. You need it to apply for jobs. You need it to receive benefits. Many post offices, including the one in our service area, will no longer rent a PO Box to someone who is homeless. You have to have an address to rent a PO Box! Post masters can make exceptions and we encourage them to do so. Clients under 24 can use Lifeworks as their address. We plan to allow homeless clients to use an official SYM address in the near future.

 

Food is next. You can’t be starving and find and keep a job. However, we strongly recommend our clients not purchase food often. Once you are in a work situation, you need to figure out how to cook as soon as possible. We have an excellent food pantry operated by Micah 6 and you can get a week of groceries every week. So we encourage clients to save every bit of their pay and not purchase food and drink until they are in their own living space. Of course, the lure of fast food and snack food and Starbuck’s is hard to resist.

 

A watch was the last item on Kylyssa’s list. We agree that it’s important to be able to wake yourself up and arrive at places on time. We are able to supply street youth with watches if they ask and have an employment reason.

 

After this very long review of top ten things, I asked what was missed. Transpiration was the big item. You need a bus pass or a bicycle to get around town. If you only have bus transportation, your employment opportunities are severely limited. A bicycle expands the job circle quite a bit. Daily bus passes can be obtained through Lifeworks for those under 24. If employed, a monthly pass can be obtained through Lifeworks. We don’t work with bus passes yet. There are several lotteries where you can get a bus pass maybe 25% of the time. There is a problem, however. To get any of these requires investment of your time (a minimum of an hour or two). That might be OK for a weekly or monthly bus pass, but it’s hard to maintain daily. So our clients often choose which days to try for passes and which days not to try. This can limit their job searching time and taking care of themselves. We discussed how if they truly want to achieve the original goals: get a job, keep the job, and save money, they need to be willing to invest in themselves including a weekly bus pass! It’s great to get it for free, but they need to believe in themselves enough to beg sufficient money and prioritize sufficient money to invest in themselves when it’s not available.

 

Find out about SYM on going ministry needs to help our street youth on our web site.

 

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
Who We Serve   What We Do   Get Involved  Support Us   News  Publications  Ministry Needs   Speaking   Service Projects   Sign-up


Become a fan on Facebook!
Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

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July 17, 2012

A Client With Her New Puppy


Emily_photo_w_dog

needs.StreetYouthMinistry.org. A client with her new puppy. Client and puppy both sleep on the streets of Austin. The client organized a cab to the vet to get vaccinations and well-care for the dog. She receives dog food, partially from us, and partially from other services in town. Our prayer is that taking care of dogs teaches our clients responsibility, is a source of joy, and also becomes a model unconditional love for the owner. Dog supplies are needed as are other items this month, such as adult-sized short pants, flip flops and shoes. Donations can be logged and dropped off per instructions found by following our needs link.

July 13, 2012

Model for Partnering


We want to partner. Even if we had the resources, we don’t want to do everything ourselves. It deprives the church of an opportunity to use it’s gifting and abilities, and it deprives our clients of a chance to meet and connect with your members!

 

We want to identify three or four people on each campus to become  SYM Connectors. We’d like to meet with your connector team at least twice-a-year to talk about what’s working, what isn’t, and what opportunities we have coming up to engage your members, connect our clients, and build our relationship.

 

We have a partner checklist that is great for people getting started. It provides fill-in-the-blank guidance for how to get started and  how to grow our relationship. It also provides many options for our relationship once it is established. We deeply believe that

you already have ministries in place that will help our clients.  We probably have to work together to understand the opportunities, lower barriers, and establish a connection that works for everyone involved.

 

Please, reply to receive a copy of the partnership checklist. Terry Cole can help review the checklist with you to fill in the blanks and establish where we are in the building process. We can easily do this by phone or face-to-face.

 

We believe our checklist is also helpful to partners we’ve been working with for a while. We’ve grown, matured, and learned a lot over the last four years. We’ve reshaped ourselves this year to better allow engaged partners to step into ministry with us. For

you, we have a list of partnership opportunities to consider.

 

Please, reply to receive a copy of our partnership opportunities. This is something probably best talked about face-to-face to  explore and examine opportunities.

 

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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Become a fan on Facebook!
Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

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July 11, 2012

Wash Day, by the Austin Stone Story Team, June 2012


Two years ago, Linda did not have a heart for homeless people. “I felt like it was their life choices that made them homeless,” she recalls.

 

Yet, after being diagnosed and undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer, Linda says that the Lord brought her out of illness with an entirely different attitude towards the homeless and serving the Lord obediently.

 

Around the same time, Linda’s south Austin missional community decided to focus their efforts outwardly. They took turns choosing different service opportunities for the entire missional community to do together. They soon realized that they would need to commit to a single service opportunity in order to connect and serve faithfully. 

 

“We tried some other things, but it just wasn’t consistent,” Linda says. “We realized we were just doing it to checklist it.”

 

While browsing the For the City Network’s website for service opportunities, Linda learned about Street Youth Ministry’s need for volunteers. Street Youth Ministry works with homeless youth in Austin, almost all under the age of thirty. The ministry’s goal is to provide its clients with stability, relevant Christian witness and discipleship, and a connection with a local body of believers.

 

The organization works with several churches and individual volunteers, and according to founder Terry Cole, the members of Linda’s missional community are some of the few committed volunteers serving on a consistent monthly basis.

 

As many in the group are in their fifties and sixties, Linda recalls that several had fears and concerns about being able to connect with and adequately serve homeless youth. But as a group, they decided Street Youth’s monthly Wash Day would give them a chance to provide a much needed service. Wash Day is held on Mondays and provides homeless youth the opportunity to wash their clothing for free, pick up necessities like sewing kits and undergarments, and eat a free meal.

Volunteers

Their first Wash Day with Street Youth Ministry was a good experience, and the group soon committed to serve monthly. With their pockets full of quarters and a sandwich dinner for everyone to share, Linda and her missional community continue to learn together what the mission of Christ really looks like.

  

Every Wash Day, each volunteer brings about six dollars in quarters for laundry. Although there are only 12 members and usually 15-25 kids who need clothing washed, Linda says that the groupís “money cup” is never less than half full. The entire group expected to struggle raising the money necessary for the success of Wash Day, yet their resources never run dry.

Quarters

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Linda says. “To see money taken care of month after month just blows us away. It’s such a huge blessing to be able to see what God does through just basic things.” Linda has also learned that serving in obedience is not always followed by visible results. Sometimes there are youth at Wash Day that the group knows well, and other times the majority of youth are new and do not want anything to do with her group.

 

“Overall they’re very appreciative of what we do, but even if they weren’t, that’s not why we’re doing it,” she says. “I wouldn’t say we’re out there really trying to change their life, but just to show them the goodness of the Lord.”

Food

Linda explains that the Lord’s call for missional obedience means making yourself available to the leading of the Spirit to reach out of your comfort zone. While she used be nervous about how the youth would respond, diving into gospel obedience with her missional community has changed her outlook on serving the poor.

 

“We’re here to be vessels, not to limit God,” Linda says. “He commands us to take care of the poor just out of obedience, not to judge why they’re here.”

Tide

Even with the commitment of Linda’s missional community, Terry Cole says Street Youth Ministry still has many opportunities for volunteers to serve. Visit the FTCN website to find more information on how you and your missional community can get involved: http://forthecity.org/connect.

 

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
Who We Serve   What We Do   Get Involved  Support Us   News  Publications  Ministry Needs   Speaking   Service Projects   Sign-up


Become a fan on Facebook!
Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

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July 7, 2012

Blessings and Battle of “The Stuff”–By Jordan Treuter, March 2012


Terry Cole and his troop of nine volunteers turn west at the corner of 24th and

Guadalupe, just next to a Wells Fargo. They approach a man sitting alone below a

paint-soaked brick wall, a popular urban mural that helps keep Austin Weird. 

 

“All right, circle around. Show him what you have,” says Terry, in reference to the

stuff: Bibles, boots, hygiene products, sandwiches, socks, he provides street-dependent

youth through his ministry, Street Youth Ministry.

 

Street Youth Ministry is a program that uses sustenance and clothing as an avenue

of outreach to teach street dependents ages 18-25 about the love of Christ. Terry, a

commissioned missionary of Covenant Presbyterian Church, focuses his work in the

12 blocks west of The University of Texas campus.

 

After Angelo chooses things that will help him from the bags, two volunteers sit around Angelo, asking, “How can we pray with you?” He shares some needs and they pray on the street corner.

 

“I pray for healing for Angelo. That You can lead him to overcome his addiction. I ask

for his salvation and that he can come to know You,” prays Jon.

 

Terry writes Angelo’s name in a little black moleskin — a prayer book for his clients.

 

Much work goes into getting Terry and his volunteers to this point, most of

which is up to his logistical prowess, networking and persistence. He doesn’t do this on the side of some nine to five job he has. This is his job. And he works more hours per week now than he did when he worked at AMD (a high tech computer chip company) for nearly 25 years.

 

At times, Terry sees “the stuff” as a potential hindrance to his mission of knowing, loving and serving the street youth so they may come to know Christ. He knows that the “stuff” he has may draw attention away from the reason he is giving it away. The stuff can force him to be known as “the cool guy,” he says.

 

“I never want the stuff to become bigger than the message,” he says. “It’s a constant challenge to give things away in such a way that it points constantly to Jesus. The line is this: We’re not Wal-Mart. We aren’t going shopping because of a felt need. We receive things all the time from our supporters, but we don’t tell them exactly what to buy or give. We leave room for God to work in the process. Once we have supplies, we invite the youth to take it if it helps. They are not grabby or greedy by nature. And if we don’t have what they believe would help, then we invite the street youth into a prayer. We write the need in our prayer book. And we ask the client and our supporters to be on the lookout for a way to let it happen. So often, we do follow up in a day or two and the street youths and they have found what they needed or we go to pick up donations, and find the item. I was once asked for a flat iron by a young girl. I laughed inside and thought, What are the chances of that? But when I went to pick up donations that very day, I found the appliance! We gave it to her the next day, explaining that some Christian supporter had provided it so we could give it to her.


 

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

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July 3, 2012

Prayer Time Discussions


In a prayer time this week, street youth were in the part of our prayer concert about what’s going on with them and what they want God to do in their lives. Here is a typical prayer concert flow, with the youth providing their answers:

  • What is prayer?
  • God is … what?
  • I’m thankful for… what?
  • What’s going on with me?
  • I get in God’s way when I…. do what?
  • I want God to act in my life to do… what?
  • I want God to act in the lives of others to do… what?

 

On this day, some of the answers were:

  • Help me drink less
  • Help me have an outlet for my anger and confusion
  • Help me express myself in music
  • Help me have a great band that challenges people to think and change
  •         Help me to hurt less

 

Afterwards, one of the street youth gave me this song title and asked me to share it with people. I think it fit in great with the prayer topics. . The lyrics are: http://www.lyricsmania.com/we_used_to_vacation_lyrics_cold_war_kids.html

 

Join our prayer team.

 

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
Who We Serve   What We Do   Get Involved  Support Us   News  Publications  Ministry Needs   Speaking   Service Projects   Sign-up


Become a fan on Facebook!
Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

Follow SYM: Facebook LinkedIn Blog RSS Twitter Plaxo Etsy Etsy Blogger Google Buzz Tungle.me YouTube Google Plus