It has been a good year at Braid.
We are writing from our new offices here in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco. The neighborhood in which we find ourselves is full of interest and challenge, but the transition from desks in a shared work space to our own offices was one of the defining moments of Braid in 2016. We have a more settled feeling and a sense that Braid is “located” someplace. But, more importantly, the space has allowed us to finally have space to gather the larger Braid community.
This year we started hosting events for mentor teams, youth, and their caregivers to gather for an activity, games and sharing a meal.
It has proved to be an incredibly sacred time, and this space in the Tenderloin is transformed into sacred space. It has been wonderful to watch the community gather, a community that numbers close to 50 people! Yes, on any given week Braid has around 50 people involved in making a difference in the lives of youth who have been in foster care.
This year has seen us deepen our relationships with those organizations who refer youth to Braid.
We are so thankful for the wonderful case workers, lawyers, coaches and social workers at Edgewood Center, Legal Services for Children, and Family Mosaic Project for their confidence in our partnership. Over the last year and a half they have referred almost two dozen youth to us, and we have been able to match 7 of those youth with mentor teams. (The other youth didn’t match owing to their being moved or the caregiver not feeling Braid was a service to which they wanted to commit.)
This year we invited a church community to form a team and enter into relationship with a youth.
Our first congregational team was born at St. Francis Episcopal Church in San Francisco. This has been very exciting, and we have had several congregations across the Bay Area – and across the country – contact us about having a Braid team in their community.
This year clarified the four principles that guide all of our ministry at Braid: Hope, Presence, Recreation, and Communion.
We identified these principles by observing the deep relationships our mentor teams have been forming with their youth and with each other and the good work they are already doing. You will be hearing more in the coming year about how these principles guide our journey together.
If we were to name one great learning this year, it is this: Braid is truly a relational mission.
We are in the business of committing to long-term relationships with youth, tending to their wellbeing and that of the mentors who will walk alongside these youth for years. We know that we find health and healing in and through relationship and in and through community.
We have moved into a new place with wonderful mentors whom we admire, who are week in and week out willing to move into the trenches and hold their youth with a love that offers hope, presence, recreation and communion to all involved in this journey. We are so wonderfully blessed by the commitment of each mentor, facilitator, youth, caregiver and a larger community of support that includes all of those who pray, encourage, and donate for this mission.