This month, Uffizi Order has been generously supported to focus on street youth. This pilot program will run for three months, where the main efforts will be to create a small and strong outreach team for youth on the streets, partner with agencies such as Noah’s Anchorage for trainings, and building relationships with those we encounter. The desirable outreach team is consistent, honest, relatable, patient, non-judgmental, compassionate, and potentially bilingual. It is important to me to research and pick the brains of individuals who have been constant and resilient in this work so that the team has an illuminated posture and can eliminate potentially harmful efforts. Our hope is to partake in the healthy efforts that already exist and enhance the momentum of action. A common question has been “what is the end goal?” From what I’ve learned this past year, this answer will be different for each person, and the trajectory will be far from easy or perfect. Our goal first is to be a continuous and trustworthy presence.
I’m grateful for the community’s fuel and fire toward youth experiencing homelessness here in Santa Barbara. It will take time and caution, so I would covet your prayers for endurance and mercy.
As I’ve been building more relationships with women on the streets, I hear more and more of the vulnerability they experience. The other week I connected with a woman who immediately stood out to me because she had an air of courage and confidence to speak up and stand up against the prevalent abuse and harassment on the streets. By doing so, she has become isolated and largely fends for herself as no “clique” lets her in because she doesn’t give anyone the freedom to use her (in any way). She was eager to implement a source of security or monitoring system for the meal sharing, as the gathering can draw a crowd that intensifies the arena for said abuse. I encouraged her strength and pray that she could be an example to others. Such candor is crucial for us to understand more fully. I turn in an effort to commune with the Lord’s heart as we face those living in fear.
Thank you for continuing to engage in this work with me. You’re incredible!
Also, Kyli Larson is remarkable, and we wish her and Tucker a joyous transition up North! With a loss comes a gain, and I am extremely grateful and delighted to have Hannah Early as her successor! Woooo!