Street Stories

Featured Client Story

Taylor’s life story was like that of so many of our clients. Given up for adoption at age 5, she grew up in a foster home but ran away at 17. She joined a carnival, started using drugs, became pregnant, lost custody of her baby to CPS and wound up homeless. Her downward spiral slowed the day she became a SYMin client and learned how to find stability and sobriety — and, most of all, hope. Now, she’s housed and slowly rebuilding her life. She’s even reconnected with her birth family. “I’m learning how to save money, how to pay my rent, how to do everything I should already know,” she wrote us on Facebook. “But this is hard for me. I’m in the transition process. If it weren’t for the Street Youth Ministry, I would be lost. Thank you all for helping me!” It’s a privilege to make room in our lives for this important work! 

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The last thing you may want is more email, but advocacy matters. We started in 2008 when few understood the needs of homeless young people. It's gotten better, but we have a long way to go. 

One fourth-year med student shared that the compassion she learned from stories of our clients changed the way she approaches her practices daily.

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Family Meal brings clients together

On Wednesday mornings, clients can join us at University Presbyterian Church for a hot breakfast to start their day off right! We hope these meals fill our clients' bellies with nutritional. We also know programs such as this have deeply benefited our clients in the past. It is good for them to sit and break bread with each other and staff on a regular basis. 

Clients celebrate easter with food, egg hunt, other fun

Easter Fun Day was a hit, getting clients into the Easter spirit with a delicious meal and treat bags provided by Westlake United Methodist Church! We even had an Easter egg hunt, complete with a special golden egg, which the jubilant client above discovered hiding on a book shelf!

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Our Founder's Story

The ministry was founded in 2008 by Terry Cole, who is a full-time missionary for SYMin. Terry began volunteering with this population in 2003, while still working in high tech. Terry worked as a technical executive on xDSL and WiFi, helping standardize and drive adoption worldwide. He started working daily with the homeless youth population in 2008 as an unpaid intern in two organizations. In 2009, Terry began our first weekly event on the street. He added a Bible study later that year. He kept finding needs and adding weekly innovative events that combine faith and practical help until we had more than 10 weekly popup events all over the West Campus neighborhood! Then in 2017 the opportunity arose to move into a full-time facility. Most recently, SYMin has moved into a new facility off of Justin Lane in North Austin. Terry is joined by staff, interns and volunteers in a diverse and effective grassroots organization! Today Terry is leading expansion to bring critical guidance counseling to street youth in even more distant locations. Terry remains active in high tech as a Salesforce MVP, teaching nonprofits how to leverage powerful tech for big impact!

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