It takes a lot of effort to bring a new mentor team into existence.

This week I got to see a baby bird hatching out of an egg for the first time, thanks to a video a friend posted on Instagram.

I realized that in photos and in real life I’ve seen birds’ nests filled with eggs, and baby birds soon after they’ve hatched, but I don’t remember ever watching the actual process of the bird emerging from the egg.

My friend’s video caught the tail end of the hatching process: a tiny pink blob with just a little fuzz of feathers wriggling and wriggling to get free of the broken shell.

It took a lot of effort for this baby bird to get born. I was tired just watching it. It was also fairly messy and a bit chaotic.

Last week a lot of things hatched at Braid.

We launched three new mentor teams in just a few days: our sixth team at Edgewood Center, the first Braid team in the East Bay, and another team in San Francisco. (See our Instagram account for photos of these new groups.)

Launching a new team is always a momentous and celebratory event, but it takes a lot of effort to get there.

To reach this moment, three mentors have worked through several hours of training and a few more hours of paperwork. Their facilitator has gone through the same process plus an extra orientation for that role. All have thought faithfully about making this commitment.

Simultaneously, we have been following through with the youth our partner agencies have referred to Braid. This can take a few weeks or longer, depending on the youth’s situation and willingness (or not) to participate. We have conversations with social workers and caregivers to tell them about the program and learn more about how we can best serve these youth.

And then, when there is a youth ready to participate and three fully-trained mentors with complementary personalities and schedules, there is still a little more to do to get all these new relationships hatched.

We work to introduce team members to each other. We gather pictures and information to send to the youth about their mentors, so they’ll be a little less overwhelmed by meeting three new adults. We collect important information about a youth’s emergency contacts and medical concerns. And, finally, we orchestrate first meetings between mentors and youth, facilitator and caregiver.

At long last everyone shakes off those last bits of shell and a team is born. We love watching these new friendships in their very first moments, when they are vulnerable and precious and full of potential.

None of us knows what these fledgling relationships will grow into, but we marvel at them and treasure them and vow to nurture them together.

Welcome to all of these new mentors, and thank you to all of you who have allowed yourselves to be “hatched” into new relationships and new life.

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