Archive for ‘donor update’

December 14, 2016

Drop-In Center: what is it, and where will SYM take it?

This is the rest of the “Drop-In Center: what is it, and where will SYM take it?”
This will involve the merging of the Lifeworks “Drop-In” culture with the SYM “Relationship-Based Event” culture. It will be a step-by-step process over the next 24 months:
1. To facilitate this merger, a relationship event will be held every day at 11am in the new space. This is not a come-and-go affair. It is a programmed event with a beginning, middle, and end. Clients who desire to form relationships and build community (as well as have lunch) will have the opportunity to do so during the event.
2. Next, we will transition to a drop-in format from 2 to 6pm. This will be an open time for clients to come and go. Buffet meals will be available at 2 and 5pm.
3. Another critical piece of the transition is the addition of the name Co-op to the Drop-in. This will help the clients understand that they are expected to give back to our community as they receive services. They can give back by helping with setup, cleanup, organization and other tasks. Not all will be able to act as cooperative partners initially, but the message will be that we believe they all need to start moving to that goal.
4. Some unique services of SYM, like access to the Fig Leaf Clothing Closet and the University Presbyterian Church shower facilities, will continue. Other SYM programs like legal support groups and employment support will be fofded into the Drop-In schedule. SYM plans include LifeWorks’ mobile case management staff and group counseling services to continue using the Drop-In location to visit clients and provide services.
5. The transition will open opportunities for additional services and to serve new groups of clients. In January, we will be increasing from four meals per week to providing eight meals per week. We will also be adding a canned food pantry for taking food away when needed. We are forming under an experienced food clinician.

6. Beginning in March, we plan to offer services to Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking victims in partnership with Allies Against Slavery. This will increase the number of clients being served.

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November 15, 2016

Latest goals!

Latest goals!
Sept. 15 – Oct. 15
Jobs obtained — Six clients secured new jobs: One client got a job at E3, another in home health, one hospitality, at Luby’s, at W3 and lastly at Sfuzzies.
Jobs maintained — Seven clients maintained their jobs through the period, even our clients who are working at three different jobs. One Client reached a goal of using his paycheck wisely to purchase necessities.
Housing — Fourteen clients either found housing anew or maintained the housing they had during the period. Three clients are living with friends until they can find their own places, and one is at the ARCH. Two youths gave thanks for their housing.
Education — One of our clients returned to school for his GED, and two of them continued their college work, although another one is thinking of going to the Austin Police Academy. One client enrolled at ACC, another began a metalworking class at ACC and one more is making progress with his computer class “Earn While You Learn” program.

Misc. — Four clients — obtained driver’s licenses or other identification. Another is getting her benefits and also resolved a legal situation with pro bono help from a lawyer. One of our clients gave praise for successful brain surgery and another made her OBGYN appointment. Two have begun volunteering work in the area.


Milestones Four clients reached sobriety goals or remained sober.

Reconnection with God

One client continued to be “strong in God,” another received prayer, one maintained his belief in Jesus, one shared a powerful testimony of his walk in Christ and last one client found a place to worship — Wesley House.

Join us in prayers of praise for these goals!
How to pray for clients

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November 9, 2016

A Permanent Home for SYM!

There is a lot to do between now and then, but we will have a permanent facility starting Jan. 1! We have the opportunity to keeping an facility from closing. It’s one that clients have been coming to for years. And it’s located inside a church that has been loving West Campus for decades. This is a fantastic answer to prayer, but it means lots of planning and change! We are committed to our clients and to helping them see the changes they want in their lives. Here is a rough timeline for our new facility:
Nov 1 — We have begun listening sessions with our clients. We want to know what things SYM currently does that they don’t want to see change, and what the facility we are taking over does that they want to see change.
Nov 21 — We’ll announce a merged schedule of daily activities during the week of Thanksgiving. The new activities will begin in January.
Nov 28 — We will start training in the facility by serving side by side with the existing staff. This will allow us to signal change and better learn how to keep this new facility running. To do this, we must hire one new person. We’ll also have to modify our existing service in December in order to hold this important training period.
Dec 22 — The old facility will close for the holidays. We will assume its operation at that point.
Jan 6 — We’ll reopen the facility as Street Youth Ministry Drop-in. We’ll need daily volunteers, food volunteers, canned food donations, and a whole lot more prayer support! We intend to continue our Prayer Time, Shower Time/Computer Lab, and Clothing Closet where they are located now, although possibly with adjusted times.
This is what the church looked like many decades ago.
Even then the basement was used for recovery meetings and healing!

We have many weekend projects to accomplish in December, January and February to improve this facility. Please pray we get lots of community help to manage these improvements and changes needed to help us operate the facility more efficiently.

We also have a big fundraising challenge in front of us. Taking on this new facility requires us to raise $220,000 new dollars for the first two years. That’s a huge bump in our budget. By the end of two years, we should have ongoing fundraising in place to sustain operation. Please pray that we find solid partners to help us keep this facility open for the next two years!

Anyone can donate at Just mention dropin in the purpose field and we’ll apply your gift to keeping this facility open!

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September 21, 2016

It’s never too early or late to dream

In seeking an entry-level job,
it’s never too early to dream …
Supporters say, “Why don’t they just get a job?” Clients say, “I just need a job!” Indeed, getting a job is their number one way off the streets, but getting the job isn’t really the issue. In our efforts to help our clients, we discovered three surprises about street youth and employment.
Surprise #1: most of our clients can get a job quickly. Austin’s economy is booming, and unemployment is low. Once clients start to apply, jobs come quickly. Take Georgia, for example. She came in this past month and said, “Shazaam! I got a job today. They hired me on the spot! I start tomorrow.” I had watched her behavior on the streets for a while, and I was skeptical things would go so quickly for her. Turns out, she was very good at navigating the interview for an entry-level job.

Surprise #2: most street youth leave new jobs soon, not because they are fired (as we had assumed), but because they quit! When we asked clients why, most told us they quit in order to avoid a social awkwardness they encounter at work. After her first week, Georgia came to us, worried. “Somebody told my boss I wasn’t doing a good job,” she said. “I guess this job is about over.” As we role-played her options, she said her first instinct was to tell off the “somebody,” a co-worker. She talked herself out of that. Her second idea was to plead her case with her boss, saying “I’m just a street girl doing the best I can.” We know from experience that it’s almost always a bad idea to disclose your homelessness. It raises stereotypes, if not fear or suspicion. “Just ask your boss for feedback,” we suggested. “If the boss is a straight shooter, any issues will be addressed.” Georgia plans to do this now, but if experience holds, she will quit soon for another reason:

Surprise #3: We have discovered through our Job Club efforts that it’s very important for clients to be looking for something they really want — even at entry level. In our weekly Job Club, we ask, “What is your dream job? Who or what company would you work for, no matter what you had to do?” I remember a frustrated young client named Jason giving this surprising answer: “I want to work in trend-setting marketing. I want to be involved in top fashion, top trends, top anything.” And he had just quit three food service jobs in a row! We helped him list entry-level jobs he knew in fashion: janitor at a mall, salesperson at a clothing store, model at an ad agency. Within a week he was selling swimwear! I ran into him not long ago and he’s still there. The job is not a soul-sucking grind, he said. He’s considering community college, is no longer on the streets and pays rent monthly!

We believe such an exercise will help Georgia find an entry-level job she can hold on to! So many of our clients delight and surprise themselves by finding meaningful and productive jobs to lift themselves from the streets. It’s never easy, and us “older folks” probably couldn’t manage a job, being homeless, feeding ourself, staying clean, and all that without a home. But our clients are strong, resilient and amazing! We are so blessed to get such a front-row seat to watch them develop. Thank you for being a part of it!

The opportunities we offer street youth — to wash clothes, eat a sandwich, get an ID, study the Bible, find a shirt that fits, provide bug repellent — help us make inroads into their lives. Positive results often follow! Volunteers who give of their time and in-kind donations play important roles. For more information on participating with SYM, click on the link below:

Click here for volunteer opportunities

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September 14, 2016

Latest Monthly Goals! July 15 – August 15

Each month, our clients make awesome progress that we celebrate!

We pray for our clients in four important areas: stability, sobriety, reconnecting with God, and finding a faith home.

Join us in celebrating these:


Jobs obtained — One got a new job at El Mercado. Another at a car wash. Another at Popeye’s. One at at H2O. One client no longer on the streets has a job as a janitor at UT and is the elected labor representative. Three more additional clients are working at new places. Another client no longer on the streets has a new job at Hoodz steam cleaning restaurant vent hoods. One client no longer on the streets just passed is real estate exam and is a new broker! One client no longer on the streets has a job at a concrete company. One client was hired by the Downtown Alliance. Another is is working at a restaurant on the Drag, and one got a job at Fry’s Electronics. Finally, one has a new job at the UT Co-op Please join us in praying they can keep their jobs. It’s not easy!

Jobs maintained — One client is still working at Barlotta; Another is still working as a secretary at Centex. Job maintenance takes work!

Housing — 18 clients are celebrating new housing this month! Awesome work, folks!

Education — One client is attending GED classes, another is still in culinary school and one has started school at ACC, majoring in law enforcement. Education is such a door opener!

Family reconciliation — One client has reunited with her birth mother, another is getting back into his daughter’s life and one is returning home. Re-forming adult family relationships is hard work!

Benefits— Three clients are celebrating government benefits, and one newly pregnant client is seeking WIC support. A little help can go a long ways!

Transportation — Two clients are celebrating getting dependable cars. Getting reliable transportation frees one to work outside bus routes and schedules!

Misc. — One client is pregnant and spent the full month off the streets!  Less street months means much better outcomes!


Milestones — 12 clients are celebrating sobriety milestones this month. It’s always a daily choice!

Reconnection with God 

One client wants to serve Street Youth Ministry someday. One client confessed to an ongoing sin. Another client is celebrating his new belief in Jesus. Faith is such a great resource!

Finding a Faith Home 

One client is actively looking for a church home, and another is attending a Bible study at his church. We are our clients’ church-on-training-wheels, and we love it when they find their own communities to call home!

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