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2nd Annual Second Chance Prom

posted May 11, 2016, 9:42 AM by Terry Cole   [ updated May 11, 2016, 4:01 PM ]

Most of our clients didn't have the chance to attend their prom. So Lifeworks began last year to provide a second chance. This year SYM is partnering to offer this to our regular indoor clients under 28 as well. 

When: May 24, 6-8pm but preparation begins 9am with showers, make-overs, clothing, and fun!
Location: TBA (on Drag)
What: Fancy sit-down dinner, professional photos, DJ and lights, themed decorations
Requirements: Recent shower and proper dress. We'll have clothing available from 11am onwards. Shuttle to showers will be available (or use our Monday shower time 3-6pm). You must be a Lifeworks Street Outreach Client or a SYM regular indoor client in May under 28. Regular means attending at least 3 SYM indoor events. Exceptions can be discussed for approval by both sponsors.

LifeWorks and SYM will be present the second annual Second Chance Prom -- a fancy sit-down dinner, photos taken by a professional, and dancing with a DJ and light show. It will run from 6 to 8 p.m., but the pampering comes first -- starting at 10 a.m. with a shopping trip to our clothing closets. We will need at least 75 volunteers to make the event a success, and some in-kind donations, too. Here are the volunteer opportunities (and needs):

  • Shopping Assistants – Up to 25 volunteers are needed from 9 to 11 a.m. to sort dresses, suits, shoes and accessories by size and create a store-like atmosphere; 5 to 10 volunteers from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help the youth find their sizes and styles and put back outfits they do not choose; more volunteers 5 to 7 p.m. to pack up remaining clothing and clean up the area.
  • Make-Over Crew -- 5 to 10 volunteers needed in shifts between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to register clients in groups of six to be transported to showers, and to distribute towels and hygiene supplies.
  • Entertainment Guides -- 5 to 10 volunteers needed in shifts between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to play games, supervise, feed lunch/snacks to the youth as they wait for the event before and after makeovers.
  • Gear/Coat Check & Dog Sitters -- Teams of two volunteers will work shifts from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. to label backpacks and other personal belongings with clients' names and store them safely until after the event. This may include dog-sitting.
  • Decorators -- Up to 25 volunteers will work noon to 4:30 p.m. to create a magical atmosphere in the dance/dining hall.
  • Servers -- Need volunteers 5:30 to 8 p.m. to  serve dinner and clean up.
  • Runners -- Shifts of 4 to 8 volunteers in shifts from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to fill in as needed during the prom itself.
  • Clean Up -- 25 or more needed 8 to 9 p.m. to break down and dispose of decorations and return the dance/dining hall to normal.
  • In-Kind Donations -- We are still in need of formal wear & shoes, free-standing clothes racks, towels, undergarments, accessories, makeup, and plain t-shirts and gym shorts for after the event.

If you’d like to help or have additional questions, just email

Go on a Visit to the Drag

posted Apr 14, 2015, 12:41 PM by Terry Cole   [ updated Apr 15, 2015, 1:18 PM ]

We meet your group (6 to 24) and divide into groups as needed. We instruct you on how to have a safe and fund time as you walk the Drag, greet our clients, and pass out sandwiches, chips, sweets, drinks, and whatever else you brought to donate. You also bring us 25 sandwiches for our Tuesday meal. 

Afterwards, our leaders will help you understand who our clients are, how we serve them, and answer questions in an interactive debriefing session. We meet at 10:00am on Saturdays and will release you at 12:00 noon (provided we are able to start on time).

Interested? Sign up at Service Projects. Prefer we come talk to you first? Consider a speaking engagement or sending groups member to a volunteer orientation.

Seeking Intern Housing Options

posted Feb 24, 2015, 1:39 PM by Terry Cole   [ updated Feb 26, 2015, 11:58 AM ]

We need a host for a very special intern coming to visit from April 20 through July 20. Darvin is a 30-year-old living in Indonesia, but he attended school here at UT. After working in business in Indonesia, Darvin wants to learn how to operate a ministry like ours in Indonesia to help street youth there. Darvin will need to use the bus daily to go to the west campus area, although he can ride a bicycle between the host's home and the bus stop. Darvin is a single non-smoker, and his command of English is very good. We want him to be able to choose between several options, so adding your name to the list of potential hosts is a great way to support SYM and use your gift of hospitality. Please contact us for more information. 

A Volunteer's Testimony: Callen

posted Jan 21, 2015, 1:14 PM by Terry Cole   [ updated Jan 21, 2015, 7:37 PM ]

Callen -- Volunteer Extraordinary!
I have been a volunteer with Street Youth Ministry for almost two years. I can honestly say that unlike anything else, this ministry has changed my life. After getting to know many of the clients and seeing them day to day in various circumstances, I felt pretty comfortable with the ministry goals and the client needs. Truthfully, it had become a bit routine for me, and I was beginning to struggle to see what it was the clients actually desired or needed and whether or not the ministry had any real part in helping them get to that place.

I soon thereafter attended my first client memorial and thankfully, the Lord changed my perspective. As Terry opened up the circle for attendees to share memories about the deceased, I had the opportunity to quietly listen and observe while God opened up my heart so He could show me His perspective. That night I heard some of the most beautiful and honoring compliments given about their young friend that had passed. In just a few minutes, I realized that I wished I had had more time to know Suzzi-to see her smile and the way she apparently brought joy to every situation.
A memorial service for a client who died in Austin

Then again, I am not surprised that after just a few minutes of listening to our clients speak, I began to see and think about things differently. Despite everyone and everything that each client has likely lost over their lifetime, few of them are too scared to try it again- to connect with each other, to form deep bonds, to risk the loss for the sake of love and acceptance. As I listened more and more to the depth of the relationships formed on the streets, I observed the unique individuals who shared their hearts with Suzzi. Some of the attendees were speechless, some held their heads down in deep thought, some too upset to listen to the music playing in her honor, and some crying, all of them grieving in their own way and giving their friends space to grieve, too.

Though, like each one of you reading this, I have much to offer clients individually and as a whole, I am convinced that I have even more learning to do. This blended group of people, each with their own styles, strengths, pastimes, dreams, and failures came together to share in the honoring of a friend and to truly feel the weight of the loss together, regardless of everything that makes them different. A former client put it this way to me:

Out on the streets, it doesn't matter what you look like, how you smell, where you slept last night, because we all realize we are in it together. We don’t judge each other or call each other crazy, because we each have our own problems, too. We understand that you, too, have been rejected from society and we feel it with you. We come together and create our own society that is willing to accept each other for who we are. We live together, we get each other, we look past all the things that the larger society says are unacceptable.

Hearing him say this nearly broke my heart. From his perspective, the Church fell under the same category of the larger society. Many clients have been directly hurt by the Church. But God has not rejected our clients the way people may have. I fully believe that the Kingdom of God directly resides on the streets. He is among our clients and we have a responsibility to learn from Him there. Learn what it means to love without borders, despite the past, present, or even future. Did not Jesus love the smelliest of the smelly, the least hopeful, the least open to it? Let these beautiful people on the streets show you what Jesus meant when He calls us to create a safe place where all feel welcome and loved and even what it looks like to literally leave every position behind.

As a peer, I want to invite you to be a part of bridging the Kingdom of God. Experience this other aspect of His Kingdom and share with us your piece, I can assure you that you will experience the Father in an unforeseen way. His love for His children of the streets is no less than His love for Israel. He says, “I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them,  I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek and I bent down to feed them.” Hosea 11:4

If you feel led to join us, I would recommend you attend orientation. If youc can't wait, then check out the Helper team. From there you can sign up for ways to serve at home or on the street. I started out with the “Street Mini-Mission Trip.” This is an event where we actually go out on the streets and greet our clients with sandwiches. This gives volunteers a chance to truly see how our clients live and meet them right where they are. It is still my favorite thing to do every Friday. You can sign up for this event under the “”Helpers” section and scroll down to click on the sign-up link. However, there are many other ways to serve and all of them make a huge difference.

Thanks so much letting me share, hope to see you soon!

Volunteers Make a Difference in 2014

posted Jan 21, 2015, 11:38 AM by Terry Cole   [ updated Jan 21, 2015, 7:32 PM ]

The impact of volunteers is amazing at Street Youth Ministry. They increased our effective budget by more than 50%. They increased our staff hours by almost 100%.

Here is a pie chart showing the impact of hours. In 2014 we had 1.5 staff and a staff member can spend only about 50% of their time working directly with clients without burning out. So that's about 1500 hours of direct time we could provide without volunteers. In 2014, a total of 1,114 volunteers added an amazing 1868 horus working directly with clients. You did more work that we did! Amazing! Volunteers looking our clients in the eyes with the light of Christ shining through makes a really big impact! 

And that's only half the story. Volunteers spent 820 hours making, gathering, or assembling food, 590 hours gathering clothing, cold weather gear, and other non-food items, and 296 hours helping us with administrative tasks (data entry, writing, and design of graphics and publications). That's more than a full time employee. We are simply humbled by the lay ministry our volunteers do as we know, love and serve together so that a witness community is formed around them.

We also want to be a green ministry. We believe in repurposing items people already have whenever possible. We also know that used donated items from people's houses are often better than new cut-rate items. Volunteers made our budget impact grow by more than $66,317. That's almost a 50% lift in our budget from volunteers giving so many in-kind items.

Volunteer gave $7,800 in food items (food from grocery stores destined for compost, sandwiches, chips, sweets, and more). Volunteer gave an incredible $37,700 in non-food items, mainly unwanted clothing from closets, spare cold weather items, and other helpful things they found they could part with from their homes. Churches and organizations donated $19,100 in rooms we can use, parking we use, and computer tools. All these save a great deal on our budget and really improve the quality of service we can provide for our clients to share God's love and build a witnessing community around clients.

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