When Terry began volunteering for LifeWorks, he didn’t realize that it would turn into his life’s greatest passion. In August 2003, Terry was asked by a friend to serve a meal for homeless youth. He recalls that “My volunteer service at LifeWorks began on an unlikely note – I wanted to quit after my first hour. However, that hour turned into hundreds and changed my life!”
LifeWorks wasn’t exactly like the service opportunities Terry had been previously afforded. In fact, he had just returned from a mission trip to Mexico before volunteering for LifeWorks. “My first experience at LifeWorks just didn’t have the personal element that the mission trip to Mexico had,” says Terry.
However, after giving it a second chance Terry began to realize that he could connect with the youth of the Street Outreach Program, even if only for a minute. “I found that if I slowed down the serving, I could have almost 90 seconds with each young man or woman to say hi, to ask something about them, and to find out their names.” Every time Terry served a meal to the youth, he was able to continue his conversations and learn more about each person.
After several years of serving meals to youth in the Street Outreach program, Terry was asked by the director of LifeWorks to engage the youth during the meals. To prepare him for longer converations, Terry was given training to follow the LifeWorks model for drawing out the youths’ strengths and encouraging them.
Today, Terry has expanded his committment to Austin’s youth by taking his ministry to the streets. “I want to encourage you to get involved with LifeWorks. Your donations of money, goods and volunteer hours go very far at LifeWorks. The work has great impact and great outcomes because of the sound basis of the LifeWorks programs in social work and training.”
If you would like to learn more about Terry and his work with Austin’s youth, you can read his blog at http://streetyouth.blogspot.com/.