Posts tagged ‘street youth partnerships’

August 20, 2015

Dive On In

At our website, we made a big list of ways to be engaged. We organized the big list by “getting your feet wet” and “taking a bigger step” either with lots of people or with just a few people. There is an email button for each section. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Browse the list on our website and share the list with the right people. We made the list friendly to view either from your smartphone, tablet, or desktop.
  2. Like an idea? Push the adjacent button and tell us what you’re thinking in the email.
  3. We’ll get back to you with additional information and next steps. No commitment or judgment!

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January 8, 2015

What Does a Partner Do?

What can a partner do to serve our clients? Here is a list of some of the ways people help us. Let us know which item you’re interested in and we’ll get started! Contact us.

St. Edward’s University
  • University/Seminary Organization
    • Start or join our campus organization (Friends of Street Youth at UT). We also need a student chapter at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary – APTS, Concordia and St. Edwards!
    • Publicize and host an end of semester collection drop-off for needed items. We’ll cross promote the event to help get traction.
    • Table for us on campus to raise awareness . We’ll cross promote your event!
    • Host our participation at volunteer event in the spring or fall. We’ll cross promote to get lots of people out.

  • Near Campus
    • Let us use a room once a week.
    • Partner with us for a Christian film screening.

    • In Austin
    • City of Austin, TX
      • Do a drive for needed items at your place and deliver them.
      • Direct self-starting volunteer to our opportunities and let them report back to your group.
      • Invite us to speak to your group.
      • Be a public drop-off site and deliver items once a month.
      • Host one of our service projects.
      • Help us connect clients with your worship and discipleship studies by designating a connector or two that we can contact.

    • Anywhere
      • Agree to cross promote one blog or social media posting per week; we’ll reciprocate!
      • Do a drive for high-value but low weight/volume needed items and ship them to us.
      • Agree to host 2 or more of the following links on your web, indicating that you’re a partner. We’ll reciprocate by listing you on our web, too!
      • Agree to publish one of our blogs in your newsletter quarterly. We’ll cross promote your publication in return!
      • Promote our internship with appropriate students as one option for preparing for ministry. If you screen for interested students, we will contact them and discover if the internship is right for them.  We also will cross-link to your organization in return!

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    September 26, 2013

    Seeds that Matter

    Street Youth Ministry has several missional communities within the UT student body. Missional communities is a very wide topic, and I frankly don’t know everything about it… perhaps even very little. I just want to present the case that it matters. Our MC is not bible study; it’s not preaching; and it’s not worship. It’s not even always churchy or obviously religious in nature. 
    Simple Communities Loosely Bound
    Our MC is composed of students who have seen the homelessness around the UT campus and who want to respond compassionately. One MC gathers at the CHOP regularly to share a breakfast with hungry young homeless people and to help them express some attitudes about prayer, God, and faith in a safe place. We don’t preach; we don’t admonish or warn. MC members–student from UT usually, simply sit with homeless young people and share answer to simple questions like “I’m thankful for what?” “What’s going on in my life is ____.” and “What do I want God to do in my life?” We require everyone to agree or even have the same ideas about God. We just hang out and share these simple things from our heart. 
    Another MC meets on Fridays at 4pm to simply go out on the street and meet homeless people in the campus neighborhood. We take simple sandwiches, snacks, socks, and toiletries to give away if it would help. But the main purpose is to simply check-in with people and find out how they are doing. The MC meets about 25 people each week, about 5 new people each week. Out time spent together isn’t about giving stuff away. It’s about sharing a little of yourself. Stopping to talk and listen to a homeless person who lives in the UT neighborhood. Finding out how they day has been. Finding out where they have been and where they are going. We always ask “How can we be praying with you? What would you like God to be doing in your life?” They usually have answers and we share those answers with prayer warriors who pray during the week.
    Seeds of Change Planted in Community
    So how is this missional? We see change start to occur all the time. Homeless people served are impressed that people take the time to be with them. And when they find out it’s a Christian group, they are usually even more surprised. Often they share their experiences with “church” from the past, usually negative. MC members listen and don’t argue. They try to understand. We often apologize for how it’s been for them. We tell them that has little to do with Jesus. We even sometimes get to recommend churches that we believe will be welcoming to our homeless friends on Sunday. Frequently they go. Sometimes they find a new church home. Many times a semester, they reconnect with God in a significant way. And a couple times a semester they connect with Jesus for the first time and the church gets the privilege of baptizing them. And a newly baptized homeless person can be an amazing evangelist!
    But that’s not all that happens in our MC. The MC members are transformed. We have no criteria for joining our group except a willingness to serve and to try to develop compassion. MC members sometimes have an inactive prayer time or inactive worship life when they come. But as they learn and develop compassion, they often find their Christian life invigorated! Not all MC members are Christian. Some are from other faiths or of no faith. As the MC experiences God’s provision for homeless people right in our midst, it is often difficult to have no faith. Something begins to grow. MC members frequently find themselves moving toward stronger faith, sometimes even joining churches for the first time.
    Missional Communities Matter
    We know that our missional communities make a difference. They make a difference to the homeless people served. These people are loved well by our community. It impacts their lives in a very positive way. We also know that our MC members grow closer to one another and to God by their activities. They find themselves more aware of God’s presence in their live daily and of their need for Jesus every step of the way. And it’s in community that any of this is possible. Simple, non-churchy, accepting community.

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     “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

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    June 4, 2013

    The Economics of Used Clothing and Shoes

    Today I read an article that Oklahoma doesn’t need used clothing and shoes. I want to say that SYM categorically does need them in Austin, Texas. There flat out is insufficient supplies of adult clothing for our our impoverished people here in Austin. Clothing is rationed and people regularly are turned away with shoes falling apart or pants torn due to lack of stock and sizes.
    The agencies responding to the crisis in Oklahoma correctly point out that cash is more flexible and requires far less work to manage. They point out correctly that is makes more sense to stimulate the local economy in a crisis by enabling people to purchase new items for themselves. SYM completely agrees with all of this, however, we have to be practical when dealing with a daily flow of impoverished clients seeking help. Funds are not available to cloth our impoverished in Austin. However, we are blessed with volunteers and people willing to donate used clothing. And I know there is a lot  clothing out there. We just need to organize it and get it to the right spots.
    First, let’s establish some scale of need for SYM. I would love to receive 500 to 1000 pairs of used adult practical shoes today. We and those we are partnered with can give out 30 or 40 pair of practical adult shoes weekly, about 25% women and 75% men. We can use flip flops, practical sandals, work shoes, work boots, army boots, and even practical dress shoes. Most used shoes don’t last long, unfortunately, and especially when they are your only pair and worn without “rest” every day. We have the storage for about 1000 pairs right now. We don’t have the money to ship it, but we can manage it once it’s in Austin. Would we prefer money to purchase 30 or 40 new pairs of shoes weekly? Sure… but we have to be practical. And there are choices… we’d far rather spend that type of cash on food or rehab or health, for example. For the records, we need about the same number of shorts and belts. These are always in short supply, especially for men. I’ll finish this paragraph by stating that we also give away about 100 pairs of socks every week and could probably give away about that many underwear. (Our ladies prefer panties and our men prefer boxers or boxer-briefs.) We strive to give away new socks and underwear but sometimes we don’t have them.
    With that paragraph out of the way, let me share my dream. I dream of the local church in the Austin area collecting used clothing, laundering it, folding it, sorting it, and holding it in a closet. Each church would become part of a network of churches, feeding upwards toward every clothing closet in the city. Some would be collection points; some secondary hubs; and some primary hubs. We’d have a supply network with storage, ready to deliver when needed by a closet. It’s not easy to run a clothing closet, but it would be easy to be a collection point and supply hub. That’s our dream! Certainly we’d like to see it for our most excellent clothing closet partner, University United Methodist Church, and we’d love to see it for every clothing closet in the city. UUMC has the most space dedicated to clothing storage for the poor that I have seen in Austin, and yet they must ration mens clothing and rarely have shoes to fit their clients. We could change that! Distant small towns saving clothing and moving it on occasion to suburbs. Suburban churches saving clothing and moving it to larger hub churches. Volunteers at clothing closets sending out emails to their hubs with monthly needs to be filled. It would be awesome!
    Why bother? I think it’s important that the local church gets involved in the lives of all the impoverished people right in their back yards. I know that simply buying “new” clothes would be “cheaper” if you factor in people’s time. But the time is a precious gift, and it may make more of an impact that the clothing can ever do.
    If you’re part of a network of churches who would like to organize this clothing railroad, please contact us. This railroad would have a lasting impact on our city for years if not decades to come. It would be green, it would foster fellowship and church inter-working, and it would be run by people who care for and encourage those impoverished in the city of Austin–now 11th largest city in the country. It would be a blessing to the poor and, I know, the volunteers would be blessed as well.

    “To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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