SYM helps our clients, our volunteers and supporters, and our community.
Check out our ministry calendar to see every event we do!
We have volunteer positions at every event!
What We Do
This young black street youth held the Hope candle high after lighting it at our annual Christmas party. Angry, disenfranchised and somemes behaving badly, he would fit in with many of the headlines of the past year. Yet he learned to light his candle and guard it carefully from being snuffed out by all he sees in the world. Such a gesture would have been unimaginable just weeks before, but now he was leading part of our worship service. Headlines don't tell us everything about race issues.
Last month, volunteers from a local soware company brought snacks to one of our street outreaches. As they handed out the items, one of them expressed doubt that this activity had much impact on clients. Later, we ran into a client we’ll call “Brad,” who first came to us as a drug addict looking for cash. He was unhealthy, and sores covered his legs. On this day, the sores were gone and he was quick to share his testimony about how SYM had changed his life. He said he had been drug‐free for two months, and he credited SYM for being there for him and listening. This helped the volunteers to clearly see what street ministry is all about. Later on, some volunteers expressed surprise that we knew many clients by name and had relationships with them beyond
just giving food.
You can help impact clients, too! Go to volunteer.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
If missionaries could reach everyone with the good news of Jesus’ grace and love, our jobs would be easy. But somemes we cannot. Recently, at the end of a cold and rainy day, a friend led a young man, new to the streets, to see me. He was looking for a safe place to spend the night; as I laid out several options, he found reasons to decline each one. He didn’t look like an addict, but I could tell he was affected by a mental condition. I asked about his family and friends. His mother was dead, he was estranged from his dad, and his sisters lived out of state. He considered his friends “evil.” I asked about his faith, and he identified as a Christian but doubted he was truly a beloved child of God. We prayed together for safety, deliverance, comfort and guidance. He finally thanked me and left, intending to call a friend who offered him a tent. I prayed that he stay safe, find a way to surrender and accept grace, find the peace that surpasses all understanding. It was all I could do as we just stood, in the cold and the rain.
Help us serve God’s lost children. Go to donate.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
At SYM, we pray for the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of our street-dependent clients. Two days before Thanksgiving, we saw an answer for one of them. A volunteer from one of our sponsoring churches cooked us a wonderful turkey dinner, and other volunteers served it at our Tuesday Bible Study. Afterward, a young client we’ll call Ashley walked up to the missionaries and apologized for some rowdy behavior by first‐me clients. “I'm sorry how they challenged you,” she said. “I feel bad because I used to be the person who tested and challenged you like that. The new me — or the newer version of me I'm becoming — doesn't do that. I sck up for what you say and do. I look forward to Bible study." It was mind‐blowing to see how God was working in her heart. Her story of becoming free from bad habits step by step has been encouraging. She also told us she had begun to pray regularly. Only the Holy Spirit could have done that. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!” — 2 Cor. 5:17. We're so grateful!
Have shoes you no longer need? Sharing them can make a difference in someone’s life. For delivery instructions, go to dropoff.StreetYouthMinistry.
A 19-year-old homeless traveler wearing flip-flops approached us, saying “I haven't been able to find shoes.” A few minutes later, we were walking together to the SYM office to look through donated shoes. On the way, we got to know Gage a bit and asked "How can we be praying for you?" He deflected with "I'm good." In the office he tried on shoes and found a pair that fit. As we kept building trust, Gage shared his dream of going to college. We gave advice on how to go to ACC using grants available to him. Gage got excited! As he turned to leave, we asked again about a prayer request. This time he said, “Help to forgive my father.” We talked about forgiveness and God's role in it. Within a month, Gage was in class and getting counseling for his anger! This spiritual and practical ministry was possible because volunteers take time to donate practical adult shoes they no longer need.
For delivery instructions, go to dropoff.StreetYouthMinistry.org
We hold a Christmas party for our street youth every year, and this year the theme was centered on the four Advent candles, representing Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. This client, who recently shook off an addiction, loves purple and has praying that God make her spirit that color. She now thinks about prayer more often. And here, she takes the purple candle of Hope and lights the white candle of Peace with it. She now prays regularly and never misses Bible study! She is figuring out her future.
We’ve heard from many other clients who are doing the same. We’re just a small local ministry, yet we see national and world issues reflected in our clients’ lives every day. Loving our clients unconditionally is why SYM is here all year – no maer who they are, what has been done to them, or what they are doing.
We recently rewarded clients who aended at least three indoor events in one month with a field trip to see a magic
show! The magician was amazing, and as he performed his illusions, he told how he was successfully treated for
leukemia, and he described his faith journey through that experience. As a special treat, a few regular volunteers also
were invited, and they helped chaperone. Clients enjoyed the magic show and the Chrisan content. One client gave
her life to Christ during the evening! We had ice cream afterward and talked about how to choose a church home.
Sometimes, our best witnesses are former clients. Several of these youths listened and learned. Join us by giving at donate.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
Our clients often say their life on the street is boring, so when a friend offered 25 tickets to a Cirque du Soleil show at the Irwin Center, we jumped at the chance to take a field trip. We took a mix of clients who we believed were ready to make changes in their lives, along with some chaperones, volunteers and former clients who had left the street successfully. Everyone ooh-ed and aah-ed at the amazing acrobatics and glitzy showmanship. Afterward, one client told his social worker, "I decided that very night to go to college. It changed my life." Two attendees were in community college within weeks and a third has since joined them. It was a combination of the testimony from SYM's recovering clients on the bus ride and feeling the “full-of-life" performance of the circus troupe. At least four lives changed direction significantly from the field trip! We try hard to seize opportunities like this for those engaging in life change.
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