Why can’t you share the names, genders, or ages of the youth?

There are many legal guidelines protecting the privacy of youth in foster care. In the past, we have been able to share names of the youth during the holidays, when we are not connecting any other information that could help others identify them or their location, such as their gender or birth month.

How old are the children receiving the cards?

The youth our partner organizations serve are ages 6-18.

What kinds of cards should I choose?

Please choose cards that are bright, colorful, and suitable for ages 6-18. You can send cards for a variety of ages, or for no specific age. In addition to birthday cards, we send encouragement cards that can be given any day of the year to youth and their staff/social workers, who also need to hear a message of hope. We love handmade cards, and the youth do too!

We cannot use:

  • Cards with religious messages or Bible quotes: We do not know the faith of the youth we serve, and we want to serve as many foster youth as we can, regardless of religious beliefs.
  • Cards with pictures of ‘happy families’, mothers and babies, flags or religious icons may be unsettling to our youth.
  • Cards for specific holidays: Easter, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, school graduation, start of the new school year
  • Cards written in Spanish or other languages

If you would like some inspiration, we often share examples of Cards of Hope on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

What should my cards say inside?

The point of these cards is simply to let youth and their staff/social workers know that someone out there is thinking of them and sending them hope and love. Just hearing that makes more of a difference than you would think! Please keep in mind that most of these children will not spend their birthdays with loved ones, or with the festivities that many of us enjoy.

Please sign your first name on the inside of the card with your message. Please sign as yourself and not from your company, group, or club.

Also, kindly refrain from adding your personal contact email, website or home addresses inside the card with your messages. Our permissions with our partner agencies do not include encouraging a ‘pen pal’ environment.

Visit the Sample Messages page to get some inspiration. We also share examples of Cards of Hope on Braid’s Instagram story.

Can I include money or gifts in my cards?

We ask that you do not include money or gift cards inside your Cards of Hope. The true value of your card is its message of hope, which is the best gift you can give.

Braid does make sure that each child at the group home receives a birthday cake, and we send gift cards to the group home on a regular basis for them to buy gifts for the children. If you would like to contribute to that effort, you can make a donation here (put “birthday cakes” or “Cards of Hope” in the comments section).

We also collect toys and games from a wish list during the holidays – scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up for our e-news to receive updates about this.

We are always grateful when you include stamps with your cards, but please include them separately and don’t affix them to the envelopes.

Please do not enclose bulky items or dried flowers inside the cards: we cannot mail these items in flat envelopes. Stickers are always appreciated, however!

Where do I mail my cards?

Please write your first name and city/state in the return address portion of the envelope and leave the rest of the envelope blank and unsealed. We will address the cards for you. We appreciate when you send stamps and/or stickers with your cards. Please include stamps separately and do not adhere them to the envelopes.

Put your card(s) with envelopes in a larger envelope and mail them to:
Braid Mission
Cards of Hope
312 Georgia St., Suite 235
Vallejo CA 94590

Can I receive certification of volunteer hours for writing Cards of Hope?

Because we receive such a wide range of cards, we do not have any mechanism for verifying the amount of time you have spent on creating or writing cards. We are happy to email an acknowledgement for the number of cards we received, but not the amount of hours. Please include this request and your email address in a note inside your package.