Allegra is an arborist who owns her own tree care business in San Francisco. She lives in the Mission with her partner and a grey cat.

1) What made you interested in serving as a facilitator for a Braid team?

After meeting several colleagues who came through the foster system and discussing some of the hardships they faced, I felt it necessary to give some of the privilege and energy I have to support youth going through those same frustrations. I have had a great deal of experience in program facilitation and when I heard that there was a lack of volunteers for the facilitator position, I knew that I could provide that service. I know that the behind-the-scenes coordination is not the sexiest part of the gig, but it is critical to a smoothly running program. My partner and I are interested in becoming a resource family for children in the system soon, but this is a small thing I can do to provide support for foster youth before we have a space available in our home.

2) What has been your greatest joy as a facilitator?

I think one of my greatest joys has been my interaction with our youth’s grandmother. It is always a pleasure to see how much she appreciates this program in our youth’s life. She is the one who regularly lets us know how excited our youth is and has been able to see firsthand the impacts that our mentors are having in her granddaughter’s life. It is so satisfying to see how giddy and carefree our youth becomes during the visits.

3) What has been your greatest challenge in this role?

My greatest challenge is that there are a ton of grey areas when it comes to responding to the very real and traumatic issues that foster youth face. That uncertainty often makes it difficult to feel confident in the decisions we make as a team. I have certainly learned to live with making the best choices about our responses, but not always feeling satisfied with those choices. I have come to understand that this has much more to do with the situation being disappointing than the response, but it can often be very difficult to disentangle those emotions.

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