We are walking because Braid started five years ago this month as a challenge.
As we celebrate this milestone, this walk is symbolic of Braid’s earliest days, when we were new to the city of San Francisco and new to this work and totally unprepared for how steep the hills would be (literally and figuratively).
But we climbed them anyway, taking one step at a time to gain the trust of social services agencies, other nonprofit partners working with youth, prospective volunteers, and the youth and families we work with.
There are still struggles, but we are stronger and just as stubborn!
We are walking in honor of our volunteers, who give so generously of themselves and their resources every single week.
In five years, we have welcomed almost 300 people to Braid trainings, and over half of them have gone on to complete the process of becoming a volunteer. Today there are 74 active Braid volunteers, with more joining every week.
These volunteers have walked their youth through school transitions, home transitions, exploring identity, self-doubt, and all the normal throes of adolescence. By showing up every week, they help our youth truly begin to believe in their dignity and worth and rise above the wounds of abuse and abandonment they carry.
We never want our amazing volunteers to feel a financial burden because of their service.
Your support helps us host All-Braid events and thank-you dinners for volunteers so they can connect and be part of a larger community, and it helps us cover the costs of transportation and special outings.
We are walking to help Braid grow into its next five years.
Across the board, we hear that Braid’s unique mentoring model works, providing steady support for youth who haven’t had enough long-term positive adult relationships.
Whereas the average tenure of most social services providers can be just a few months, we have ten youth who have been matched with a Braid team for two years or longer, and 80% of the mentors on those teams have been active for more than a year of that time.
Our volunteers are able to make this commitment because Braid’s team model ensures that they never feel alone in this work.
And our model is effective because we are able to tell youth that their mentors are not paid to spend time with them. Braid is never paid for its services, and we are able to stay with youth long-term because we are not dependent on government funding.
As our program spreads throughout the Bay Area and more and more volunteers find their way to this mission, we want to be able to provide the tools to help them succeed.