Posts tagged ‘in the news’

December 28, 2019

Street Youth Ministry Uses Art to Reframe Conversation on Homelessness


Reposting an article from Reporting Texas published on December 19, 2019

Street Youth Ministry 

Uses Art to Reframe

Conversation on Homelessness

Reporting Texas
A collection of purple, orange and green stones appeared in front of the Congregational Church of Austin in early October. The stones were decorated to resemble pumpkins, and some were painted with words of affirmation such as “love” and “pride.”

A prayer garden made of painted rocks marks the entrance to the Street Youth Ministry’s facility in the basement of the Congregational Church on 23rd Street in Austin, Texas. The rocks are a way for the ministry to draw attention to the positive impact of its mission. Joshua Guenther/Reporting Texas
Throughout November and December, more art popped up: a face and scarf on the tree in front of the church, colorful chalk art messages on the sidewalk and hearts and peace symbols stenciled on planter pots.
The group responsible for the guerilla art was Street Youth Ministry, which wanted to draw attention to the ministry and positively impact the thousands of people who pass the building every day, said Terry Cole, the ministry’s founder. He said the ministry began creating the installations after the Austin City Council lifted a camping ban and made other changes in the city’s approach to homelessness, which sparked contentious debate.

An art installation created by Street Youth Ministry clients showcases their desire to send a positive message to the community. Joshua Guenther/Reporting Texas
“We really just wanted to say to the neighborhood: ‘We love you, and we want to be kind to you as well,’” said Suzanne Zucca, Street Youth Ministry staff member.
Nestled in the heart of West Campus, Street Youth Ministry is located in the basement of the Congregational Church of Austin. The faith-based ministry is a day center that assists young people experiencing homelessness. Staffers refer to them as clients.

Volunteers of Street Youth Ministry set up arts and crafts for clients to make nativity scenes and angels. The program offers  practical things like clothing, counseling and food, but its goal is “to know, love and serve street-dependent youth so they might come to know Christ,” according to its annual report. Alexander Thompson/Reporting Texas
According to its mission statement, the goal of the ministry is “to know, love and serve street-dependent youth so they might come to know Christ through the witnessing community we develop.” According to the ministry’s 2018 annual report, it provides clients with “practical things to help meet immediate needs.” Cole said the ministry is not an overnight facility.

Volunteers, such as Lorena Garza, a UT-Austin social work freshman, play a crucial role in the ministry by cleaning and organizing the basement of the Congregational Church, where the program is housed. Joshua Guenther/Reporting Texas
The ministry offers a variety of services: access to food, counseling, clothing and gear such as bicycles and sleeping bags. Founded in 2008, the ministry serves about 600 clients up to 28 years old every year.
According GuideStar, a service that reports on U.S. non-profits, the ministry reported $492,267 in gross receipts during its most recent fiscal year. According to the ministry’s 2018 year-end report, 45% of its income is from private individuals and 30% is from in-kind giving. Additional funding comes from grants, churches and other sources. According to the report, 94% of every dollar spent by the ministry goes toward program services with the remaining 6% allotted to administration and fundraising.
Cole said the ministry employs eight staffers as guidance counselors and resources on matters related to drugs, physical and mental health and safe sex practices.

Street Youth Ministry volunteer Lorena Garza, left, plays dominoes with Deon Watts, right, and another client of the Street Youth Ministry during a weekly game night on Nov. 19, 2019.  Joshua Guenther/Reporting Texas
The team is trained to handle difficult situations and deal with people in crisis, but Cole said team members are not doctors, social workers or licensed therapists. Nearly 1,000 individuals volunteer with the ministry every year, Cole said.

Patrick Hudson, left, removes a block from a giant Jenga set while volunteering at the Street Youth Ministry’s weekly game night with other UT-Austin students Shad Khan, center, and Nuvia Cruz. The ministry’s proximity to the University allows students to accumulate volunteer hours for class and service organizations. Joshua Guenther/Reporting Texas
Austin’s homeless population has remained relatively steady since the ministry began its work.
According to the Point In Time Count compiled annually by the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, 2,087 people were counted in 2010. The lowest recorded number, 1,832, occurred in 2015. In 2019, the number of individuals increased to 2,255; 50% were between the ages of 18-44.
According to ECHO, the leading factors contributing to homelessness include inadequate access to health care, lack of engagement in school or employment and time spent in juvenile detention or jail.

Two members visit the Street Youth Ministry basement to have a meal and fill out paperwork on Dec 3, 2019. The ministry opens everyday at 12 p.m. and provides a safe space for people 28 years old and younger. Alexander Thompson/Reporting Texas
In July, when the city passed an ordinance that decriminalized sitting, lying and camping in public places, people who had been sleeping in the woods and other unsafe areas started sleeping on the streets, Cole said. A population that had been hidden became more visible.
In reaction to the heightened visibility, Gov. Greg Abbott retweeted a video of a man attacking a car in downtown Austin. It was later revealed that the video was over a year old and the person recorded was not experiencing homelessness. Cole said the misleading post had a negative impact on public perception of homeless people and a “scarring” effect on the city.

A sign posted at the 23rd street Artist’s Market notifies visitors that the Street Youth Ministry cleans the area. The ministry’s staff hope the message will counter some negative perceptions of people experiencing homelessness. Joshua Guenther/Reporting Texas
The idea for the art installation emerged amid this conversation. Cole said he wanted people walking by their building to notice a positive change and reflect on how the ministry is serving its clients.
Two clients who worked on the installation agreed to talk to Reporting Texas but declined to give their full names.
Red said she painted a rock that resembles a “golden ghost” the day she was taken to jail for having too many unpaid tickets. By the time she got out of jail, other clients had added the face to the tree in front of the building.

Red, who only wanted to be identified by her first name, laughs as her friend pulls out a bullhorn while they sit near the entrance of the Street Youth Ministry basement on Dec 3, 2019. Alexander Thompson/Reporting Texas
Red, 28, said she has traveled through Austin six times over the past decade. A friend introduced her to the ministry three years ago, and since then she has utilized its services.
She participates in Girl’s Group, a peer support group that discusses topics such as toxic relationships and the difficulties that face women who live on the streets. If she hadn’t heard about the ministry, Red said, she would have died in Austin because she knew few people and didn’t know where to stay.
“I feel like we have a family, and that’s rare around here,” Red said. “Like we have our street family, but you can’t talk to your street family about certain things, you know, you’ve got to stay within the mindset of ‘I can survive.’”
Arthur also helped create the installation. He created a collection of rocks painted with single words of prayer like “love,” “pride,” and “joy.”

Halloween-themed prayer rocks that youth ministry client, Arthur, helped create, decorate the base of a tree outside the entrance to the Street Youth Ministry. Joshua Guenther/Reporting Texas
Arthur, 27, said he came to Austin four years ago with his former husband. When they divorced, he ended up on the streets. He said his “blood sister” told him Street Youth Ministry could help him, but he didn’t know if he would be accepted because of his sexual orientation. In other places he said he has felt out of place and unwelcome.

Street Youth Ministry client Arthur, whose nickname is Summer Rose, sings Carrie Underwood’s, “Jesus, Take The Wheel,” during the weekly talent night on Nov. 20, 2019. Arthur, said the ministry has come to feel like a family to him. Joshua Guenther/Reporting Texas
Earlier this year, he said he was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer. Since the diagnosis, members of the ministry have prayed for him, Arthur said, and in return he has volunteered to prepare food, wash dishes and clean the space.
“It feels like I’m back at home with my own family,” Arthur said. “There’s no other place I would rather be than here. I don’t want to separate from the people that have taken care of me.”

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December 28, 2019

Street Youth Ministry Uses Art to Reframe Conversation on Homelessness


Reposting an article from Reporting Texas published on December 19, 2019

Street Youth Ministry 

Uses Art to Reframe

Conversation on Homelessness

Reporting Texas
A collection of purple, orange and green stones appeared in front of the Congregational Church of Austin in early October. The stones were decorated to resemble pumpkins, and some were painted with words of affirmation such as “love” and “pride.”

A prayer garden made of painted rocks marks the entrance to the Street Youth Ministry’s facility in the basement of the Congregational Church on 23rd Street in Austin, Texas. The rocks are a way for the ministry to draw attention to the positive impact of its mission. Joshua Guenther/Reporting Texas
Throughout November and December, more art popped up: a face and scarf on the tree in front of the church, colorful chalk art messages on the sidewalk and hearts and peace symbols stenciled on planter pots.
The group responsible for the guerilla art was Street Youth Ministry, which wanted to draw attention to the ministry and positively impact the thousands of people who pass the building every day, said Terry Cole, the ministry’s founder. He said the ministry began creating the installations after the Austin City Council lifted a camping ban and made other changes in the city’s approach to homelessness, which sparked contentious debate.

An art installation created by Street Youth Ministry clients showcases their desire to send a positive message to the community. Joshua Guenther/Reporting Texas
“We really just wanted to say to the neighborhood: ‘We love you, and we want to be kind to you as well,’” said Suzanne Zucca, Street Youth Ministry staff member.
Nestled in the heart of West Campus, Street Youth Ministry is located in the basement of the Congregational Church of Austin. The faith-based ministry is a day center that assists young people experiencing homelessness. Staffers refer to them as clients.

Volunteers of Street Youth Ministry set up arts and crafts for clients to make nativity scenes and angels. The program offers  practical things like clothing, counseling and food, but its goal is “to know, love and serve street-dependent youth so they might come to know Christ,” according to its annual report. Alexander Thompson/Reporting Texas
According to its mission statement, the goal of the ministry is “to know, love and serve street-dependent youth so they might come to know Christ through the witnessing community we develop.” According to the ministry’s 2018 annual report, it provides clients with “practical things to help meet immediate needs.” Cole said the ministry is not an overnight facility.

Volunteers, such as Lorena Garza, a UT-Austin social work freshman, play a crucial role in the ministry by cleaning and organizing the basement of the Congregational Church, where the program is housed. Joshua Guenther/Reporting Texas
The ministry offers a variety of services: access to food, counseling, clothing and gear such as bicycles and sleeping bags. Founded in 2008, the ministry serves about 600 clients up to 28 years old every year.
According GuideStar, a service that reports on U.S. non-profits, the ministry reported $492,267 in gross receipts during its most recent fiscal year. According to the ministry’s 2018 year-end report, 45% of its income is from private individuals and 30% is from in-kind giving. Additional funding comes from grants, churches and other sources. According to the report, 94% of every dollar spent by the ministry goes toward program services with the remaining 6% allotted to administration and fundraising.
Cole said the ministry employs eight staffers as guidance counselors and resources on matters related to drugs, physical and mental health and safe sex practices.

Street Youth Ministry volunteer Lorena Garza, left, plays dominoes with Deon Watts, right, and another client of the Street Youth Ministry during a weekly game night on Nov. 19, 2019.  Joshua Guenther/Reporting Texas
The team is trained to handle difficult situations and deal with people in crisis, but Cole said team members are not doctors, social workers or licensed therapists. Nearly 1,000 individuals volunteer with the ministry every year, Cole said.

Patrick Hudson, left, removes a block from a giant Jenga set while volunteering at the Street Youth Ministry’s weekly game night with other UT-Austin students Shad Khan, center, and Nuvia Cruz. The ministry’s proximity to the University allows students to accumulate volunteer hours for class and service organizations. Joshua Guenther/Reporting Texas
Austin’s homeless population has remained relatively steady since the ministry began its work.
According to the Point In Time Count compiled annually by the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, 2,087 people were counted in 2010. The lowest recorded number, 1,832, occurred in 2015. In 2019, the number of individuals increased to 2,255; 50% were between the ages of 18-44.
According to ECHO, the leading factors contributing to homelessness include inadequate access to health care, lack of engagement in school or employment and time spent in juvenile detention or jail.

Two members visit the Street Youth Ministry basement to have a meal and fill out paperwork on Dec 3, 2019. The ministry opens everyday at 12 p.m. and provides a safe space for people 28 years old and younger. Alexander Thompson/Reporting Texas
In July, when the city passed an ordinance that decriminalized sitting, lying and camping in public places, people who had been sleeping in the woods and other unsafe areas started sleeping on the streets, Cole said. A population that had been hidden became more visible.
In reaction to the heightened visibility, Gov. Greg Abbott retweeted a video of a man attacking a car in downtown Austin. It was later revealed that the video was over a year old and the person recorded was not experiencing homelessness. Cole said the misleading post had a negative impact on public perception of homeless people and a “scarring” effect on the city.

A sign posted at the 23rd street Artist’s Market notifies visitors that the Street Youth Ministry cleans the area. The ministry’s staff hope the message will counter some negative perceptions of people experiencing homelessness. Joshua Guenther/Reporting Texas
The idea for the art installation emerged amid this conversation. Cole said he wanted people walking by their building to notice a positive change and reflect on how the ministry is serving its clients.
Two clients who worked on the installation agreed to talk to Reporting Texas but declined to give their full names.
Red said she painted a rock that resembles a “golden ghost” the day she was taken to jail for having too many unpaid tickets. By the time she got out of jail, other clients had added the face to the tree in front of the building.

Red, who only wanted to be identified by her first name, laughs as her friend pulls out a bullhorn while they sit near the entrance of the Street Youth Ministry basement on Dec 3, 2019. Alexander Thompson/Reporting Texas
Red, 28, said she has traveled through Austin six times over the past decade. A friend introduced her to the ministry three years ago, and since then she has utilized its services.
She participates in Girl’s Group, a peer support group that discusses topics such as toxic relationships and the difficulties that face women who live on the streets. If she hadn’t heard about the ministry, Red said, she would have died in Austin because she knew few people and didn’t know where to stay.
“I feel like we have a family, and that’s rare around here,” Red said. “Like we have our street family, but you can’t talk to your street family about certain things, you know, you’ve got to stay within the mindset of ‘I can survive.’”
Arthur also helped create the installation. He created a collection of rocks painted with single words of prayer like “love,” “pride,” and “joy.”

Halloween-themed prayer rocks that youth ministry client, Arthur, helped create, decorate the base of a tree outside the entrance to the Street Youth Ministry. Joshua Guenther/Reporting Texas
Arthur, 27, said he came to Austin four years ago with his former husband. When they divorced, he ended up on the streets. He said his “blood sister” told him Street Youth Ministry could help him, but he didn’t know if he would be accepted because of his sexual orientation. In other places he said he has felt out of place and unwelcome.

Street Youth Ministry client Arthur, whose nickname is Summer Rose, sings Carrie Underwood’s, “Jesus, Take The Wheel,” during the weekly talent night on Nov. 20, 2019. Arthur, said the ministry has come to feel like a family to him. Joshua Guenther/Reporting Texas
Earlier this year, he said he was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer. Since the diagnosis, members of the ministry have prayed for him, Arthur said, and in return he has volunteered to prepare food, wash dishes and clean the space.
“It feels like I’m back at home with my own family,” Arthur said. “There’s no other place I would rather be than here. I don’t want to separate from the people that have taken care of me.”

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July 3, 2019

SYM’s top-rated again!


SYM’s top-rated again!
YOUR positive reviews helped us retain this distinction for a fourth consecutive year! Here’s a sample:

“I am always amazed at the way SYM continues to serve its community year after year, bringing new ideas and positive achievements on a rather small budget. Their heart for their clients is undeniable, and Terry has built a team that shares his vision and serves with love.” — A donor

To add your comment, just click below:

Rate SYM!

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August 22, 2018

Salesforce News – Growth is a Good Word for Small Nonprofits


Growth is a Good Word for Small Nonprofits

Grow your impact with better nonprofit technology

Some funders, constituents, and nonprofit staff think of growth as prioritizing “money over mission,” viewing it from a traditional corporate focus on just revenue growth, excessive spend, or increase in size. This definition can lead people to scrutinize nonprofit investment in marketing, talent, operations, technology, and other overhead areas that are actually necessary to support a healthy and sustainable model for change. This is also known as the “overhead myth.”

We all know nonprofits today face ever-changing needs from their constituents who are at the heart of their mission, which require agility to stay relevant. People are adopting modern technologies and spending their time in new digital spaces. Nonprofits are constantly responding to opportunities, threats, and changes, and yet they are limited in their ability to respond if they cannot grow and evolve in many different ways.
Growth might mean scaling your capacity to keep up with demand. Marketing your cause to create a social movement. Replicating your model to help another zip code. Securing that grant to cure a disease. There are a million ways to grow for good.
This is why for many nonprofit professionals, “growth” has taken on a more positive meaning, evolving past revenue into all parts of your mission. They focus on balanced growth so that strategic marketing efforts can be turned into efficient program participation, effective fundraising, and sustainable impact. All without bottlenecks, waste, or frivolous spending.
For this blog we asked a few small nonprofit professionals, “What does growth mean to you?” Here are their answers. To learn more, visit our new Growing Nonprofit webpage with content for small and developing nonprofits.

Growth in Scalable Technology (& Fundraising)

Terry Cole, Executive Director, Street Youth Ministry of Austin

“Small is wonderful. You can keep focused on goals, and keep staff well informed on that direction. But, being a smaller nonprofit is also challenging because you have high overhead and initial expense in technology, insurance, and other things. We started focused on fundraising and now have full visibility into where are income comes from, and where we should grow it next. With Salesforce’s donation of cloud-based technology, you can get start growing your capacity in one area, and move to the next when you are ready.”

Since 2008, Street Youth Ministry of Austin (SYM) has been helping homeless or street-dependent youth identify their needs and connect them to local communities and partners. Using the Nonprofit Success Pack they are able to launch fundraising campaigns to target any segment of their donors, then track the results with real-time analytics, all as a small organization and IT team of one.
“Growth is always painful as we grow from adhoc to procedural, small to scaled. You have to find the right people and figure out how to divide and redivide the job duties, and give them a consistent way of working. Because we invested in Salesforce, we have limited churn on tools and methods. We started with with donor management, then newsletters, then volunteers, then clients participation and impact, operations scheduling, then cases for non-client constituents. You have to start somewhere.”
With limited time, Terry still finds time to answer countless questions on the Power of Us Hub. Learn more about SYM or follow Terry’s blog Mightyforce.org.
Viewing growth as greedy or “against the grain” of nonprofit models will only hold us back from achieving our Mission’s promise. With a solid reason for where and why you should grow, and a balanced approach to sustainably increase your impact, growth is a good word. In today’s ever changing world if your organization doesn’t evolve, another more nimble organization will, or there will be missed opportunities for impact. Find your next project, plant a seed, use technology to grow effectively, and see where it takes you.

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June 14, 2018

Street Youth Ministry as featured by Deidox Austin Vlog May 2018


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December 7, 2017

SALESFORCE NEWS: Welcome 28 New Salesforce MVPs!


SEP 18, 2017 BY HOLLY FIRESTONE

We’re excited to welcome 28 new Salesforce MVPs and welcome back 102 re-awarded MVPs to the MVP Ohana today! We’re also thrilled to announce 10 new inductees into the MVP Hall of Fame.
The Salesforce MVP program honors and awards those making exceptional contributions to the Salesforce Community. Salesforce MVPs are true trailblazers who dedicate their time and energy to forge a path for future learners to succeed. They bring the spirit of Ohana to life by inspiring others to learn Salesforce and connect to our thriving community.

We receive hundreds of community nominations for new MVPs during twice yearly nomination periods, so achieving this award is not an easy feat. It takes true dedication to helping others – through online answers and collaboration, leading Community Groups, blogging, sharing expertise through presentations, and countless other contributions that consistently surprise and delight our Ohana. 
We are thrilled to introduce you to the newest class of MVPs and the returning MVPs. Say hello, and congratulations! Follow them online, connect at your local Community Groups, and meet them at countless events around the world!

New Salesforce MVPs

Receiving their 1st MVP recognition

Amit Chaudhary Guillermo Pedroni
Terry Cole Bill Powell
Laura Diaz Samantha Safin
Stuart Edeal Monica Sandberg
Ines Garcia Pritam Shekhawat
Megan Himan Abhilasha Singh
Joanna Iturbe Carlos Siqueira
Misty Jones Corey Snow
Michael Kolodner Adam Spriggs
David Litton Sadahiro Suzuki
Sue Maass Christian Szandor Knapp
Kim McClure Mary Tagler
Junko Nakayama Colleen Whelan
Amy Oplinger Alba Azcona Rivas

Returning Salesforce MVPs

MVPs awarded again! You can find all of our current MVPs on Twitter here.
Abhinav Gupta Jesse Altman
Adam Olshansky Jitendra Zaa
Adam Kramer Jodie Miners
Adam Marks Johan Yu
Aiden Martin Jonathan Baltz
Alex Sutherland Joni Martin
Amber Boaz Justin Edelstein
Andrew Fawcett Kalman Sweetwine
Andy Ognenoff Karen Fitton
Angela Mahoney Kartik Viswanadha
Anup Jadhav Katie McFadden
Ashima Saigal Kelly Bentubo
Beth Breisnes Kerry McClauss (McDonough)
Bill Greenhaw Kevin O’Hara
Blakely Graham Kylee Durant
Brad Struss Kyla Longe
Brent Downey Lars Nielsen
Bryan Boroughf Launa Saunders
Calvin Smith Lori Witzel
Carolina Ruiz Medina Luke Cushanick
Cheryl Feldman Maria Belli
Chris Zullo Mark Ross
Christine Pechter Martijn Schwarzer
Clara Perez Matthew Morris
Dale Ziegler Mayank Srivastava
Dan Appleman Michael Slawnik
Daniel Ballinger Nana Gregg
Daniel Peter Nicholas Zinser
David Cheng Nik Panter
David Giller Patrick Connelly
Deepa Patel Paul Battisson
Don Robins Peter Churchill
Douglas Ayers Peter Knolle
Edward Schlicksup Phil Weinmeister
Elena Inurrategui Rachel Rogers
Elizabeth Davidson Rakesh Kumar
Eric Dreshfield Rebecca Lammers
Eric Wu Ryan Headley
Gaurav Kheterpal Ryan Ozimek
Geoff Flynn Sharif Shaalan
Geraldine Gray Sharon Klardie
Gorav Seth Shinichi Tomita
Jackie Travieso Shivanath Devinarayanan
James Loghry Shonnah Hughes
Jarrod Kingston Simon Lawrence
Jason Atwood Susan Thayer
Jean-Luc Antoine Taiki Yoshikawa
Jean-Michel Mougeolle Takahiro Yonei
Jeff May Thomas Taylor
Jen Nelson Vamsi Krishna
Jennifer Lee Vinay Chaturvedi


New Inductees to the MVP Hall of Fame

The Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame is an emeritus status that recognizes the exceptional individuals that have been awarded Salesforce MVP 5+ times. These MVPs receive this honorary title for life, and can be renominated back into the program in future rounds based on their community activity and contributions at that time.
Andrew Gross Matthew Lamb
David Pier Michael Farrington
Jared Miller Nick Hamm
Jason Paquette Scott Hemmeter
Jason Venable Will Nourse

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November 29, 2017

Report: State should form task force to tackle youth homelessness


By 

AUSTIN (KXAN) – A new report about youth homelessness in Texas highlights a need for comprehensive policies and a funding stream to address the ongoing issue.
Texas Appleseed partnered with Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS) and conducted more than 100 interviews with youth who had experienced or are experiencing homelessness in Texas. Both groups also pulled data from state agencies related to youth.
Clair Cole, 19, became homeless when she was 16. “I had a lot of struggles connecting with family especially in that time of my life,” she said. “I was going through a lot. They were going through a lot.”
Cole relied on couch surfing to find places to stay. But as time passed, it became harder. “[I was] feeling like I was a burden, a lot of just trying to sink into the background and just be there without being there,” she said.
She’s now 19, received her GED and has her own small business making jewelry. She also serves as a Lifeworks Youth Ambassador in Austin, raising awareness about what services are available under their provider program.
“I would never want anyone to experience the feeling of not feeling welcome in your own home,” she said.
Lifeworks says each evening it shelters or houses more than 140 youth. There’s also a counseling division for individuals and families who deal with abuse, trauma, anxiety or other stressors.
“If I had known there was an emergency shelter, I would’ve gone straight there,” she said.
The report by Texas Appleseed and TNOYS says each year, at least 1,000 students who have dealt with homelessness repeat a grade and 1,400 drop out. It also says youth in foster care are in high risk of becoming homeless. In 2016, a total of 1,250 youth aged out of foster care on their 18th birthday. In that same year, more than 1,000 children in Texas ran away from a foster care placement.
Gabriella McDonald, the pro bono and new projects director for Texas Appleseed, said schools are on the front lines of this issue, but too often, it’s hard to track.
“Sometimes, schools don’t find out they have youth who [are] experiencing homelessness until they have someone who is about to graduate and it’s time to pay for their cap and gown,” McDonald said.
Both organizations have recommended that Texas form a statewide task force led by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the Department of Housing and Community Affairs. They also want lawmakers to form a dedicated funding source to support prevention and intervention services for at-risk and homeless youth.
“There’s state funding for youth, there’s state funding for homelessness, but there’s not state funding for youth who are homeless,” McDonald said.
Terry Cole runs Street Youth Ministry. The organization holds several relationship-building events, focused around art, guidance counseling and teamwork.
“We meet them where they are,” he said. He said too often youth who face homelessness are stigmatized and viewed differently.

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January 27, 2017

Local ministry creating a home for homeless young adults


 Jay Wallis, KVUE 8:28 PM. CST January 25, 2017

AUSTIN ­ Mayor Steve Adler and many in the city of Austin have focused on getting the homeless off the streets and into housing. For many of the young adults in our area, this transition can be difficult to handle, which is why an outlet in Austin is providing something unique and vital for the homeless. 


Terry Cole is a native­born Texan and attended Texas A&M for electrical engineering. This was his career until 2008, when he was laid off from his job. 


“Along the way, I started becoming aware that I had interests in evangelism and mission work,” Cole said. 


While he held his different electrical engineering positions, Cole had done volunteer work with some of the churches he attended. In 2003, he started to devote some of his free to time to working with young adults who were homeless. 


“There were these homeless people who were young and kind of had no one to tell them the gospel story,” Cole said. 


So after losing his job, Cole decided to make his volunteer work his new career. He created Street Youth Ministry of Austin in 2008, an organization focused on giving homeless people between the ages of 18­30 a place to get what they need. 


“We are a faith­based ministry but more than that, we are faith active,” Cole said. “Not everything we do is in­your­face faith active. It’s all voluntary. We don’t make anybody do anything.”


Christopher Willemsen was born and raised in Austin, before finding himself in a difficult situation as he entered adulthood. 


“Around 18­years­old, I started couch­surfing and was homeless,” Willemsen said. “I had a bad background and winded up slipping out on the streets. I had to deal with the drugs or the alcohol every single day.” 


He is a much different person today, as he is not only involved with Street Youth Ministry but another local ministry ­­ LifeWorks ­­ as well. 


“In here, it’s real,” Willemsen said. “It’s almost like a reality check to where in some groups or meetings, you can’t open up the way that we open up here.” 


Street Youth Ministry is also much different than when it started. For the first eight years of its existence, this ministry bounced around from church to church, meeting at whatever location would take them. 


“We were like a pop­up ministry,” Cole said. “It was really hard for our clients to find us and it was a real nightmare to volunteer for us.” 


Marissa Bostick started working as an associate missionary for Street Youth Ministry around the time a change came for this ministry ­­ a permanent location. The Congregational Church of Austin has allowed Cole’s group to meet during the week in the church’s basement. 


“This is a safe place where anyone can come,” Bostick said. “There’s no obligations. We don’t have an agenda. We don’t want to force you to do anything. We just want them to come and say, ‘Hey, we’re all here together.'” 


When the homeless come throughout the week, Cole’s ministry provides many different types of outlets. While some days they will have a Bible study, other days are solely focused on giving people a place for conversation. The basement also has an area of used clothes, books and other items for anyone to take if they need it. There are also couches if someone needs to get some sleep while there is almost always food available in the kitchen. 


“Whatever you need, we’re just here to help,” Bostick said. “Obviously, if you’re trying to teach someone about God, they’re not going to be listening if they’re hungry. It’s about taking care of all their needs.” 


James Benson has been going to this ministry for about a year now, as he moved to Austin from Birmingham, Alabama to start a career in music. 


“I’ve been in music all of my life,” Benson said. “I write songs all the time.” 


While his career hasn’t sparked like he thought it would and he now finds himself to be homeless, he said this ministry has helped him focus on aspects of his life other than his career. 


“I can’t say that I’m the richest guy or the poorest guy, but I can actually say that throughout my day, I’m pretty comfortable,” Benson said. “I don’t care what I have in my pocket or where I slept the night before, I know God is going to keep a shelter and roof over my head and food in my belly.” 


Benson also said that the ability to keep making and writing music allows him to stay optimistic. 


“To understand that what I write down on that paper and how fluently it comes off my brain through that pen on that paper let me know this is a gift from God,” Benson said. 


Bil Taban grew up in Sudan, Africa before his parents sent him to America as a child 14 years ago. Bil has fallen on tough times and is homeless, but he still hopes to one day have a career. 


“I want to become a successful pilot,” Taban said. “I like space. I love space. Everything about galaxies and science.” 


With the city of Austin emphasizing re­housing the homeless, Cole said he wants to better prepare his members for when that time comes. 


“We have arguments or disagreements that break out, and we moderate those and encourage them to reach an end,” Cole said. “The problem so often turns out to be living with other people and getting along with roommates.” 


Benson at one point got in one of these arguments, causing a disruption during one of the classes. He was suspended for 30 days, but he was able to return. 


“I was allowed to come back because I was standing up for the right cause,” Benson said. “I’m definitely learning how I am needing to act.” 


“I’ve learned to have respect for others as I have had to learn and had to grasp throughout the years,” Willemsen said. “You can lift up your head. You can choose to be a part of this program. You can choose to come down to Bible study.” 


While Cole’s ministry has many churches supporting his group, he said he is in need of belts and shoes right now. To learn more about this ministry, you can visit streetyouthministry.org (http://ift.tt/1t2h9bi)

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2kv3pGm

November 29, 2016

SYM featured on A&E’s Intervention



If you wonder what we were dealing with in 2015… watch this.
Many clients an Terry were interviewed. This describes what we call the Catastrophe of 2015 in our annual report.


Intervention In-Depth: Synthetic Marijuana



The DEA has called it a “poison”, the NYPD police commissioner called it “weaponized”, and until a few years ago, it was available over the counter and was the second most abused drug among high school students after pot. What is this mystery drug that has parents, law enforcement and medical experts on high alert? The drug is Spice, also known as synthetic marijuana, K2, Moon Rocks and Black Mamba. We take an unflinching look at a drug that is wreaking havoc in communities across the country.

Aired on:
Nov 22, 2016
Available Until:
Dec 31, 2035
Duration:
43m 11s

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2gFuVP0

November 29, 2016

SYM featured on A&E’s Intervention



If you wonder what we were dealing with in 2015… watch this.
Many clients an Terry were interviewed. This describes what we call the Catastrophe of 2015 in our annual report.


Intervention In-Depth: Synthetic Marijuana



The DEA has called it a “poison”, the NYPD police commissioner called it “weaponized”, and until a few years ago, it was available over the counter and was the second most abused drug among high school students after pot. What is this mystery drug that has parents, law enforcement and medical experts on high alert? The drug is Spice, also known as synthetic marijuana, K2, Moon Rocks and Black Mamba. We take an unflinching look at a drug that is wreaking havoc in communities across the country.

Aired on:
Nov 22, 2016
Available Until:
Dec 31, 2035
Duration:
43m 11s

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2gFuVP0