Archive for ‘client solution’

July 17, 2019

Clients Need More than Housing


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   “We don’t
just need housing,” a client named Curtis told me recently. “We need help
learning how to live in housing.” He was frustrated, but he’s part
of a voice of change in Austin.




 Street Youth
Ministry is trusted, and we inspire our clients. We empower them to make change
— we don’t make it for them. We are an evolving ministry, always looking to
keep things fresh. Being fresh helps attract people to us, but there’s more to
needing to be fresh than that. The landscape and the needs are always changing.
One must listen intently and inquire directly to learn what clients are
coping with and what they need now
. And you must pay attention to the
environment in which they are homeless and seeking help: other agencies, local
and federal agencies, relevant social problems and pressures.


   Curtis was
referring to a new HUD initiative (administered by ECHO with
federal funding) that has provided many clients with free housing for a period
of time. I know its origins well, because helped write the program definition that
got HUD approval and brought the $5.5 million initiative to life. HUD pays only
for housing, so we receive none of the funding and we are not able to be part
of the oversight. However, we refer lots of interested clients into the program
and continue to work with them afterwards.

Curtis was
voicing concern that people who are taken from the streets and placed in
apartments, even free ones, lose their community. They can become depressed and
isolated. In addition, we see clients with stress and anxiety from housing
responsibilities that can seem almost unsurmountable. Many invite their
friends over to re-establish that community, but this can lead to eviction.
Depressed
and isolated people have a hard time with motivation to find and keep jobs—a
new experience for many–so they are often unemployed.  Overall they don’t feel competent at life.


SYM has
adapted to this changing environment by listening to our clients
. We asked
how can we help. Some want one-on-one budgeting help. Some want employment
guidance. We spend considerable time in guidance counseling these days with
people who have housing but aren’t sure what is next. In addition, we help with
groceries once a week (see story next page). And we provide cleaning supplies
once a month. All this allows us to maintain our relationship, even
though the clients perhaps don’t come to our Drop-in Center as often, because
they have an apartment
.

   We have added several
events and activities with a goal of creating a feeling of competency within
our clients: art group, game night and talent night. They can volunteering at
SYM to earn credits so they can purchase nice donated items from our “store.”
(We’ve found this to be a great way to also re-engage clients in a personal
economy and teach deferred gratification.) They can earn participate in our online
learning programs and earn credit for merchandise on Amazon. (This teaches them
the process of saving for larger items and planning purchases.) We have several
events that are great for lonely clients who might need a community: peer
support group, movie night, or game night.

  

Curtis is a
good example of our guidance counseling at work
. He first received
services almost daily about 18 months ago. Then he stopped coming and began
pursuing jobs in security. He got an apartment under the HUD program, pays his
bills and buys his groceries. Recently, he started coming back to us on
occasion for community and guidance. He shared that he doesn’t want to work in
security. It’s just what he found. He wants to start a camp for
disadvantaged children, but he doesn’t really know where to start.


   Curtis has become
our next client intern for entrepreneurship. He will work in our Drop-in like
any intern, but we will also spend time with him teaching him about donors,
volunteers, in-kind giving, program management and so on. We hope that by the
end of the internship he will know if education or more practical experience is
the next step in pursuing his dream!



   Thank you for being a part of all the guidance
counseling and practical help we supply to our street youth clients! It
matters! It works!
  
Terry

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July 2, 2019

New Community Engagement Person


Meet Tondra, SYM’s new Outside
Community Engagement Person

We have an exciting announcement to share. A young woman whose face is familiar to clients and volunteers is transitioning from a client entrepreneur internship to the position of outside community engagement person.

She is Tondra Daily, a former client who is taking increasingly responsible roles at Street Youth Ministry. “Her new job is to build new relationships,” Terry explained, “so if people have never volunteered, Tondra is here to help make it easy for them. She’s also building new relationships to churches and businesses. There has never been a better time to engage with SYM!”

“I’m very excited,” Tondra said. “I’m really loving my new role. I like people and am a social butterfly, so it’s a huge blessing that I actually get PAID to get to go out into the community and talk to people about what I love: Street Youth Ministry! I DO love the ministry and know it from the inside out in a very personal way, and I feel uniquely equipped to do this. I myself was a homeless client years ago! I have since given my life to Jesus and discovered who I am in Him.”

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July 1, 2019

Our clients just love Art Group!


Our clients just love Art Group!
Twice each week, clients gather for one of our most
 popular events — Art Group.
 Clients do arts or crafts projects after lunch,
and volunteers help out with the crafts or in
 the thrift store or the kitchen.

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April 22, 2019

Fun at SYM


Game night fun!
Since it was started two years ago, Game Night has been a big hit with clients and volunteers alike.
Breakfast taco troupe
Volunteers from Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church thoroughly enjoy themselves as they make food for our freezer.

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April 22, 2019

Fun at SYM


Game night fun!
Since it was started two years ago, Game Night has been a big hit with clients and volunteers alike.
Breakfast taco troupe
Volunteers from Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church thoroughly enjoy themselves as they make food for our freezer.

via Blogger http://bit.ly/2GAfEyz

April 22, 2019

Fun at SYM


Game night fun!
Since it was started two years ago, Game Night has been a big hit with clients and volunteers alike.
Breakfast taco troupe
Volunteers from Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church thoroughly enjoy themselves as they make food for our freezer.

via Blogger http://bit.ly/2GAfEyz

April 20, 2019

Our clients mature in amazing ways!


   Bridgette sat, alone, on a sofa in our Drop-in Center, arms crossed, brow furrowed, staring at other clients. Clearly, she was annoyed.I wondered what I had done. As I watched the evening play out, however, I discovered something that made me smile. I’ll divulge that in a sec …
   We have lots of clients in our Drop-in. There are days they can come and go at will, and there are other days when they need to be on time to participate in scheduled activities like art group, prayer time, and peer support group. We met a record number of new clients last year — almost 220 — and they mixed with our existing clients so we served over 650 in all. Not everyone knows everyone else, although we help them form a community. Some are maturing and some are not.
   Lately, we’ve had a lot of new clients come to our center who are 15 to 19 years old. Most are fresh from foster care and usually boisterous. They can be very messy, because they haven’t lived where they are asked to help keep things clean and straight. It’s a challenge for sure to get them acclimated to us!
   We also have quite a few clients in the 22-to-26 age range who have been around for a while. They often have jobs and are living in supported housing that has come their way from grant money that SYM helped bring to Austin (It’s called Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, if you want to research it). It’s an experimental 3-year grant of $11 million for housing homeless young adults under 26.
   And it’s working: After just 6 months, statistics show 40% fewer unsheltered youth and 25% fewer homeless youth in Austin. Meanwhile, SYM client numbers grew by 40%. Somehow the YHDP grant is actually increasing the number of youth who want our counseling! And that’s a great thing, because YHDP pays only for housing — no services.
   Back to Bridgette: On this particular night, we had a good mix of established clients who have benefitted from YHDP and new ones waiting to participate. The new clients were clique-ish. They arrived as a group, sat as a group, and went outside as a group. And everywhere they went, they left a mess.
   Bridgette was watching all of this. It turns out I hadn’t annoyed her at all — it was the group! She rose from her seat, scooped up the scraps they had tossed onto the floor, then walked outside, only to see another mess on the ground. “This is ridiculous!” she exclaimed as she picked it up. “They shouldn’t act like this!”
   I chuckled as I figured out what was going on. Twelve months ago, she was the one leaving the litter and we were picking up after her! It’s a pattern I’ve learned to recognize: Clients who shed their bad habits become annoyed when others don’t. Bridgette’s reaction was a sign of good things to come, so I welcomed it! She was growing up!
   We know our clients change their lives, get jobs, become more responsible, conquer past problems, and mature in amazing ways.It’s truly a privilege to be their guidance counselors during this time. We believe every homeless young adult deserves one. We’re now expanding our reach southward to San Marcos, but our real plan is to figure out how to train people who already have street youth in or near their lives and want to help!
   And we can’t wait to see how each of these wonderful individuals turns out! .
Terry Cole

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December 30, 2018

Scenes from our Christmas party!


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December 7, 2018

SYM clients observe Dia de los Muertos



‘A peaceful, beautiful moment’
Dia de los Muertos is a religious remembrance of family and friends who have died. It is celebrated throughout Mexico and among Hispanics in the U.S., including SYM clients who gathered for regular Bible study in the Drop-in recently under the guidance of Zarah, our fall intern. Some clients made private altars called ofrendas (at right), a great means of being creative and learning about others’ cultures. “It was a very peaceful and beautiful moment,” Zarah said.

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December 6, 2018

Meet Porshia


Meet Porshia, our new staff member!
Porshia Sauls, newest member of our SYM team, will work around the Drop-in Center. Please welcome her to the cause!

She was born and raised in Austin and recently graduated from the University of Phoenix with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She enjoys singing and dancing. She has a passion for others and believes everyone deserves to have a fair chance in life.

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