Many foster youth never receive cards for holidays, birthdays, or “just because.” Through our Cards of Hope program, we are able to send cards to local group homes and facilities that house youth who are separated from loved ones.


Throughout the year, we send cards for birthdays (for youth ages 6-16). We also send cards of encouragement to youth and to their staff and social workers.

You can send us a few cards whenever you are inspired – birthday cards, encouragement cards, or both. When we receive notification from our partner organizations about upcoming birthdays, we will put together a selection of cards for each child. We have several birthdays each month, and we send encouragement cards to youth and social workers throughout the year. This is a great activity to do with a youth group, co-workers, or family members!

Because of legal guidelines protecting the youth we serve, and the high rate of turnover at the facilities we partner with, we are not able to share the names, genders, or ages of the children in advance. (Except at Christmas – read our Cards of Hope FAQs to learn more.)

How To Send Cards

  1. Choose a fun selection of birthday and/or encouragement cards (for youth and/or social workers) and please write a message inside each one. Your message doesn’t need to be elaborate. You can simply wish them well and let them know you are thinking of them on their birthday or “just because.” Sign your name, and tell them where you live if you’d like.
  2. Please leave the envelopes unsealed. Write your first name, city, and state in the return-address portion of the envelope and leave the rest blank: we will address them for you.
  3. Put your card(s) in a larger envelope and mail them to:
    Braid Mission
    191 Golden Gate Ave.
    San Francisco CA 94102
    -Including stamps with your cards is not required but much appreciated.
  4. We take care of the rest! We will address the envelopes and mail them individually to each child by their birthday.

You can contribute toward postage and the cost of birthday cakes and other gifts for the children at our online donation page (put “birthday cakes” or “Cards of Hope” in the comments section).

You can read our Cards of Hope FAQs if you have more questions about the process.

To hear the latest news about Braid and Cards of Hope and learn about special initiatives for Christmas, Mother’s Day, and other holidays, please scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up for our e-news.

Thank you notes:

from an email we received from a social worker at the group home after Christmas 2014 —

“How I wish I had a camera or some video recording of the children receiving their letters. They were ecstatic! Every child said a variation of “This is for me? Cards for me?” All disbelieving that people from across the state would take time and write for them.

At both houses, the kids came together and read their letters out loud to each other, and to the staff, each trying to one up the other in the sweetest way (“Well mine came from Texas…mine came from New Mexico…”).

Thank you, thank you for giving such a wonderful present to our kids. They absolutely loved them. Some of our kids were fortunate to spend the holidays with loved ones, and all of those kids wanted to take the cards with them to share. Also, we had kids request frames and tacks so that they could post them up on their walls. These kids can be picky, so the fact that they wanted to display them (and have) shows how much they valued them.

I want to thank you again for such a wonderful gift and opportunity for the kids. Our kids are really so blessed! Thank you, thank you again!”

after one of our mentors and her coworkers prepared gift bags with encouragement cards and beanie babies: 

“The girls in my house were in disbelief that someone out there got them their beanies, not quite understanding why anyone would care about them if they didn’t know them. The girls took their beanies and are currently displaying them on their beds. One of the young girls took all the positivity cards and placed them throughout her room so that she could be reminded of happy thoughts throughout the day.

Same thing happened at our other home. One little boy spread all the cards on his bed and stared at them for a long time, asking staff to come in and read some of the words he didn’t understand (he’s one of our younger kids). All of them have their beanies on their beds, or in their room in an area of display. Usually they’ll take their toys and put them in their closet or back box, but all our kids have them out, which shows how much they loved them.”