Street Youth Ministries Programs
Our drop-in center provides for basic and immediate needs of youth, including food, hygiene items, showers, clothing, and laundry. It is here that SYM staff and volunteers first meet youth, learn their stories and build relationships with them.
SYM advocates for youth through case management to determine specific needs and develop goals and plans aimed at moving youth toward stability. As youth take the many difficult steps toward independence, our staff provides accountability and encouragement. In addition, SYM advocates for youth in circumstances where they need counsel or support, such as with employers and legal authorities.
Life skills practice offered include:
- Education Resources
- Chore Program
- Time Management
- Job Referrals
- Utilizing Relevant Community Support
- Resume building
- Study skills
- Home maintenance
- Cooking Classes
Life on the streets of the University District can be dangerous, tiresome and discouraging. SYM takes youth out of this environment to see places with beautiful scenery, experience healthy activity and practice interacting with caring and positive adults.
- Ski/Snowboard Lessons
- Rock Climbing
- Plays and Theatre Productions
- Trips to Wild Waves
- River Rafting
- Horseback Riding
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Success Story from the Eyes of a Service Provider
The first time Carrie went Snowboarding with Street Youth Ministries she wasn't 100% convinced she wanted to go, but the people she was hanging out with that day were going, so she came. She was scared and self-conscious, not knowing anyone too well and having never snowboarded before. That first day, Carrie tried to convince her instructor to let her stay on the beginner hill as long as she possibly could. She was not terribly happy when he finally got her to ride the chairlift and she fell getting off. With fear and frustration she begrudgingly made her way down the hill.
I met up with Carrie after a few hours of lessons. She was excited to see a face she knew though still frustrated. Being strapped to a snowboard with limited skills on a snowy mountain could drive anyone batty! I made my way down the mountain with her, biting the dust or the snow, as it might be, my fair share of time. I believe it was my inability to snowboard that gave Carrie the little bit of courage she needed to press on.
The evening came to a close and the car ride back to the U-District was filled with the exaggerated boasting of the majority of our beginner snowboarders. Carrie mainly kept quiet, but I was impressed by the fears she overcame that day.
During Drop-in that week, I invited Carrie to come snowboarding again. She showed up and asked me to board with her. Still scared, Carrie took more and more small risks. By her third week on the mountain she was talking trash and racing me down the hill! Snowboarding proved to be a great tool in discovering how Carrie thrives through relationship. What a joy it is to see youth open up and experience steps of growth when they leave the day-to-day of the streets behind!
One of our current needs is for meal teams to get together and plan, prepare and purchase a meal for 20-30 youth.