Friday, March 18, 2011

What IS Street Outreach?

People often ask what an evening of Yellow Brick Road Street Outreach actually looks like. The truth is, the streets can vary greatly from night to night but we do our best to be prepared for just about anything we might find out there. In an effort to share with people what we mean by "anything"- and to further demysitify the practice of street outreach- we occasionally post random Yellow Brick Road log entries on this blog. The names and identifiers have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the folks we serve but otherwise the following account is excerpted directly from last night's Yellow Brick Road Outreach Log Book:

Super solid night! Started out wet and rainy heading to Street Church which was packed. There are two teens who have been frequenting Street Church recently who appear fairly vulnerable. They are engageable yet very resistant to the idea of services...We checked in with [Street Church Supervisor] Jeff Welch and discussed a plan to try to motivate them to go to Harry's Mother [Janus Youth Programs' 24 hour runaway youth safety center].

We then went to Safeway through the South Park Blocks, where we had some good conversations and "card & raps" [i.e. new contacts]. From there we did the Rite Aid/Pioneer Square loop and engaged with a fair amount of young people...After that we headed down toward Waterfront and crossed over to the East Side. Once there we encountered several groups of people. They like us over there and would like to see more of us under the Hawthorne Bridge area. There was a request for wide-eye sewing needles.

At the public meal under the Burnside Bridge we met "Kathy" and "Robin", who were new to Portland from Des Moines and after a "card & rap" about Yellow Brick Road they were interested in having an emergency night at Porchlight Shelter. From the meal we escorted them directly to shelter where we provided a warm handoff to the shelter staff waiting when we arrived. Solid night, solid contact.

~S, S, H & A (Thursday Night Yellow Brick Road Team)

Yellow Brick Road volunteer Axcelle Bell in the YBR office preparing a nightly outreach report with his team. Photos courtesy of YBR volunteer Stella Butler.

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