Archive for July, 2013

July 30, 2013

What triggered such a big change from electrical engineering to humanitarian work?


I was at a dinner party the other day. The hostess asked me to explain what I did at Street Youth Ministry. [We don’t hijack dinner parties but we are please to share when supporters ask!] The next day, I got an email from one of the guests. He asked, “If I may ask, what triggered such a big change from electrical engineering to humanitarian work?”
It’s a long story, but the short answer is that this culture of “throwaway” youth broke my heart when I began volunteering by accident to serve them a meal once a month in 2003. As I learned more about them over time by listening and observing, I was so amazed by their strength and resilience to adversity. As I listened to them even more, I realized they were very spiritual as a whole, and they were hungry to hear God’s story but really had significant issues with “church” and “Christians.” One thing led to another, and here I am serving them daily to help them achieve for themselves stability, sobriety, reconnection to God and a Christian community. Our motto reflect my own journey with the street youth: to know, love and serve street-dependent young people so that some may come to know Christ.

Check out all the programs we offer and other information about SYM.

“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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via Blogger http://streetyouth.blogspot.com/2013/07/what-triggered-such-big-change-from.html

July 27, 2013

Advice to a Client Fighting With Relapse


I am contacted by clients who are recovering but fighting with urges to relapse from time to time. They come to me wanting a Christian viewpoint. Here are some of the things I give them to meditate, think and pray over. We’d love to know what you think or would add…
There is no sin in considering a relapse. Only the doing would be a sin.
Christian sobriety occurs by being weak in yourself, humbling and submitting yourself to God, and allowing Jesus or the Holy Spirit to be strong in you. Strength comes from allowing yourself to be weak and leaning on Him.
Jesus has already done everything it takes for you to be forgiven, fully healed, and make you into more than you could ever imagine. You have to accept that GIFT from Jesus and allow it to happen. It won’t happen over night. And it’s not without struggle (for anyone). And it’s not always “up” and “happy.” But the life God has planned for your, dreams for you, wants for you, is better than any drug or high or drunk you could ever attain.
Jesus is with you. So if you were to relapse, he’s right there with you. Don’t try to hide or shrink away. Sometimes knowing that is enough to stop people. He can be the ultimate accountability buddy.
Staying sober is for you. It’s a choice you have to make. But relapsing hurts more than just you. And staying sober will benefit more than just you. Following God’s plan for your life will allow you to be a blessing for many, many people in future situations you can barely imagine. So don’t forget those reasons outside of yourself not to mess that up. It’s for you and for all of them, too.
Stay sober for you. You’re a beautiful and wonderful person, created in God’s image and for many great purposes. The devil tells you many lies about drugs and highs and drunks. They are just that… lies.

There are many ways to become involved with SYM.  

“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

via Blogger http://streetyouth.blogspot.com/2013/07/advice-to-client-fighting-with-relapse.html

July 23, 2013

A Client’s Perspective on What We Do


In response to our Blog on Big Things in Clients Lives, we received this comment. It paints a picture from the perspective of a client of what our supporters, volunteers and leaders do that is very eloquent.
As a former (really ongoing, as Terry’s care is always available and extended whenever I’m in the area) client, I can say that without Street Youth Ministry the Drag would be a much more cold and unforgiving place than it already is for street kids. Terry actually understands the intricacies of the traveling lifestyle[…][SYM] understands differentiation between traveling kids and displaced local youth but still extends [their] aid to both, as they both qualify. I still struggle with addiction every day, but I know I can always talk to Terry even if I’m on the other side of the country. We’d be a lot more stuck without [SYM], and I hope to see you again soon.
Together our supporters and volunteers make a big difference in the lives of about 80 clients every single week. We meet about 500 new clients every single year. And we love hearing from as many as possible through email, text messaging, Facebook, or when they visit Austin.

There are many ways to become involved with SYM.  

“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

via Blogger http://streetyouth.blogspot.com/2013/07/a-clients-perspective-on-what-we-do.html

July 15, 2013

Where to recovering clients go?


Years ago I asked the big question, “Where do clients go?” and the answer I got from one of the experts was not very encouraging to me. It’s eight years later. We have a jail ministry, and over the last couple of years, it’s given us data to believe that not that many clients end up there long term. We have a memorial service ministry. I believe we have a pretty good idea how many clients die. Not that many clients end up being older homeless people, either. So where to they go? 

We believe that most recovering street youth get jobs in small business and then raise families. Landscaping, auto mechanics, advertising, animal care, health care. There are just some of the places clients end up finding a place to work.

Message like this one just never get old:

You may not remember me, but people in Austin use to call me [xxx]. I am married to [xxx], and we use to be one of the older kids that hung out on the drag and asked for money. Well, we gave our lives to Christ, and now we live in Houston. We are married with a son and a daughter on the way. I currently have my own web site development company. We are helping the homeless in Houston get employed. I want to say, “Thank you for being there and may god truly bless you.”

Help us to help the current youth on the streets.


“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

via Blogger http://streetyouth.blogspot.com/2013/07/where-to-recovering-clients-go.html

July 8, 2013

Top Three Things I’d Do


I was asked recently a great question while speaking at All Saints’ Episcopal Church while presenting the ministry there to a group of 45 interested people. These were largely not novices at serving homeless people because they have several ministries there that directly serve homeless. The question was “If money weren’t an issue, what are the top three things you would do to help your clients.”
First, I’m going to give a different answer that I often give to parents of street youth asking what they should do. Here are my top three things that I think a parent should do if they have a street-dependent youth living on the streets of the USA:
A) Get your son or daughter a low end phones with internet. They are regularly on sale for $50 to $80. They may have it stolen from them, so don’t buy anything more. Purchase by the month a pre-paid plans ($35 or $40 per month gets unlimited texting, internet and calling). Don’t do a contract. Just stick with month by month. Your child can now keep in touch with friends of their choosing. They may even choose to stay in touch with you. They can research places where they can get help and call them. They can stay active on social medias. It’s a true lifeline. It’s not really a luxury in the USA.
B) Offer to purchase a hotel room about two nights a month to give your child a break. Living in constant crisis with no breaks leads to all sorts of physical, mental and emotional problems. Pay by phone and tell them not to give any type of cash refund for early check-out.
C) When your child decides to get a job and move from the street, help with deposit and living expenses for the first two weeks until they get paid. I would setup a bank account that you can both access and another that only you can access. Put money into the latter and setup a daily automatic transfer for a small amount into the first. Don’t’ micro-manage but don’t provide additional moneys beyond what you agree. They have to learn to make it but deposits and those first two weeks can be giant obstacles.
Now back to the question asked by the audience member. What would SYM do with unlimited funding? We are a faith-based organization. So first, we would make sure Christian volunteers and churches are used throughout the programs described below. We’d be an excellent employer of a volunteer coordinator and a communications coordinator. Together, volunteer and coordinators would:
1) Run a hostel with a kitchen. Active clients who attend indoor events at least three times this month, would get one room night (or something like that) and the option to exchange working at reception, kitchen, garden, or cleaning for additional room nights. All management and supervision jobs would be given to recovering street youth. Day labor jobs would be available in exchange for a room-night. This would be a legitimate hostile and we would welcome paying guests as well.
2) Operate a training center that works with some recognizable names in training to provide computer skills for real life (running a computer base cash register, waitress station, receptionist stations, etc.) and training in customer service. We’d operate a doggie day care offering grooming, walking and boarding services to the local neighborhood using clients who have been trained. They would compete for a set of “management” positions but all graduates of training classes could get overnight security, reception, advertising, crate cleaning, dog walking, and dog washing jobs.​
3) Augment government grants for school. FAFSA and governments grants do a great job for most homeless youth willing to attend community college. We’d only pick up certain outliers: felons, people who refused to register for draft, people who can’t satisfy residency, etc. We’d continue to buy college books for all clients who go to school and continue to qualify for government aid.
4) (a bonus) Form a hiring agency “co-op.” Clients join by paying a small amount each week (possibly even as low as $0.50). In return they can be selected by the membership as the “candidate.” All members work hard to get the “candidate” a job, pooling knowledge, networks, and talking straight to the “candidate” about clothing, hygiene, interview skills, attitude, presentation, habits, etc. The candidate signs a contract with the co-op to direct deposit 10% of paycheck for 3 months back to the co-op. Weekly paid members receive published job resources as well as snacks and access to meetings. The co-op pays other members of the group to watch pets or belongs of candidates.
5) (a double bonus) Form a detox facility for substance abuse. We would be a place willing to take in street youth client (attending at least 3 SYM indoor events in the month) for the purpose of detoxing from drugs or alcohol. They would stay there until a bed can be found in a longer term program. The goal of the detox facility is to always be able to get a spot open within 3 days. This would form a bridge buffer to rehab facilities that typically can only free a bed in 2-3 weeks. Two to three weeks is an eternity for a street-dependent youth.

Join our efforts to support Austin street youth. 


“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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Text or call: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: doodle.com/terry.cole

via Blogger http://streetyouth.blogspot.com/2013/07/top-three-things-id-do.html