Over the last week, we have been moving out of our office in The Tenderloin.
We were in this space for a little over two years, in San Francisco’s toughest neighborhood. Spending so much time in this part of the city taught us a lot about human nature, in all its extremes.
We also learned a lot from our neighbors. We were fortunate to be sharing space with Lutheran Social Services, and to be on a block with lots of other great organizations that provide care for at-risk youth, including 826 Valencia, De Marillac Academy, Larkin Street Youth Services, and The Gubbio Project.
We have great memories from 191 Golden Gate, of spirited trainings and many fun group events: pumpkin making, magic shows, board games, art projects, karaoke, drum circles, addressing hundred of Cards of Hope and more!
You all filled that space with a lot of life, and we often remarked that volunteers who braved the streets of the Tenderloin would not be afraid to walk with foster youth into their own dark places.
So why did we choose to leave this space?
As our mentoring program has been expanding over the last year, our monthly All-Braid events have also grown, often with as many as 40 youth and mentors in attendance. Those of you who attended events this spring have sensed that increased energy, which was starting to outgrow our Tenderloin space.
When we started holding some of these monthly events at local churches or at Edgewood Center, we were grateful for space where our group could spread out, and where our youth could run and breath outside. We realized that we needed to offer this type of space for every event.
As a nonprofit, we are also always mindful of our budget, and we will be able redirect the funds we had been spending on rent to other aspects of our program.
Braid’s home base will always be San Francisco, and we will regularly be present in the city for meetings, events, recruiting, and all the things we have already been doing.
We have already started holding our monthly mentor trainings at Edgewood, which helps give new mentors a sense of where many of them will be meeting their youth initially. With a larger space, this will also allow more people to attend trainings (we had previously had to cap trainings at 12 people).
We will continue to hold All-Braid events at churches, Edgewood, and other locations around the city. This will allow us to be outside more often, to explore new opportunities, and to hold events in different parts of the city that might be more convenient for our teams.
We will officially move our mailing address and business operations to our satellite office in Vallejo (312 Georgia St., Suite 235, Vallejo CA 94590 if you want to send fan mail).
Braid has always been about the people involved rather than one specific location – in fact, 191 Golden Gate was our third office space in four years. Nevertheless, this is a transition, and another opportunity to look behind with gratitude and ahead with excitement.