My Bay to Breakers Experience and Why I Run for Family House

by Jackson Steinberg, YPAC Member

Published on May 2, 2022

Bay to Breakers is one of my favorite days in San Francisco every year. I love the energy of the city on that day, no matter where you are. You could be sitting in the Panhandle enjoying the sun and cheering on the myriad of costumed runners going by, waiting at the starting line, dodging tortillas as everyone gets ready to start running, or even nowhere near the race and yet enjoy the special feeling in the air on that day. 

Bay to Breakers always stands out to me as a day that highlights why I love living in San Francisco. Especially, the last few years have meant so much more being able to combine what was already such a great day with the opportunity to help raise funds and awareness for Family House with the Young Professionals Advisory Council (YPAC)

I joined YPAC in 2017 after spending a few years getting exposed to Family House through corporate volunteer events at Triage Consulting Group. At Triage, we would have a few opportunities a year to volunteer at several different charities and non-profits in the Bay Area, and I always hurried to sign up for Family House right away to reserve my spot. 

Our team would decorate the Family House for holidays, cook meals for the families, and play games with the kids. Everything about volunteering at Family House felt right to me. Family House’s mission to partner with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital to help ease the burden of families going through such challenging times is a fantastic cause that has a significant and lasting effect on the families that stay there. But when you get to be in the house, talking with the families, playing games with the kids, cooking warm meals, you really see what an amazing job they are doing to go above and beyond for these families. They really manage to provide comfort and relief during an unimaginably hard time for families.

That is why I jumped at the opportunity to join YPAC when I found out about it. The goal of YPAC has always been to spread awareness of Family House through the community of young professionals in the Bay Area while simultaneously holding events to help raise funds to support Family House operations, which means that every individual involved does have a huge impact. 

Sharing Family House’s mission with your network can help spread the word and support what they are doing. I have contributed to this organization in a few ways over the years — from being a supporting member to the organization’s Chair. No matter what capacity I have been involved in, I have felt energized by the mission and vision of the Family House and YPAC. 


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We have hosted outings to Giants games, beer tastings supported by local brewers, fundraising parties at the top of the Salesforce tower, weekly game nights with the kids at the house, and volunteered at the Family House Gala and Cabernets for Connoisseurs, and everything in between. The organization’s growth, both in membership and in planning capacity, since I joined astounds me.

Amongst all of these events, Bay to Breakers was a relatively small event for us when we first started doing it as a fundraiser. We had a team of maybe five people running, and we raised a few thousand dollars through donations from friends and family. No small feat for sure, but not our biggest event of the year by any measure. And then COVID-19 hit. 

We could no longer come to the house to cook meals or distract the kids with a few games of Connect Four and kickball. We couldn’t host the large get-togethers that had helped us spread the word about Family House and YPAC and fueled much of our fundraising. Many members were forced to take a step back from the organization to focus on their own families, jobs, and health, as quarantine isolated us from each other. We really did not know what YPAC was going to look like without the ability to get together and plan the large events that had been the cornerstone of our organization for the previous years. 

In the midst of all of this madness, Bay to Breakers ended up being a rallying point that allowed us to stay focused. They switched to a virtual format, allowing runners to run at their own pace, in their own place, and still share their experience with everyone through social media. We amped up our fundraising efforts through our networks and leaned into sharing our training routines and routes through the city on social media. Though the streets were not lined with San Franciscans in crazy costumes this time, the same energy was present in the air. We ended up being able to raise $16,000 that year, a huge jump from where we had been in previous years.

That makes this year even more special for me. As my 5th year participating in Bay to Breakers after running two in-person and two virtual ones, I am excited to be back in person at the event that has always reminded me of why I love San Francisco so much — the zany spirit of the runners, the beautiful spring weather that (usually) lines up with the race, the tour of the city from end to end (or from the bay to the break). But this year, it will be even more special as we get to run for Family House again, having turned this event into one of our cornerstone fundraisers of the year, combining yet another thing that I love about this city into one great day. 

Over the last few years, COVID changed the face of our organization as our in-person events were taken away, our memberships waned, and our ability to visit the house and see that physical reminder of what we were supporting was put on hold. But it was also a great reminder for all of us involved that you don’t need to throw huge events to achieve what you set out to do. 

While I am so excited to get back to Family House to volunteer again soon and to start putting together some of the in-person events that we used to throw, I think that the Bay to Breakers event will always hold a special place for YPAC from now on. Organizations like Family House are part of what makes San Francisco amazing, and I look forward to Bay to Breakers continuing to be a big part of YPAC in years to come, where we can not only raise money for Family House but represent the organization in our white and orange running shirts and add one more reminder to everyone we run by why San Francisco is such a great city. 

Family House’s  Young Professionals Advisory Committee (YPAC) team is running in support of Family House on May 15, 2022! Please consider supporting a YPAC member with a donation so that Family House will always be 100% free of charge to the kids and families staying with us. Your donation matters! Any amount will make a difference in the lives of children and families that we serve, and will help YPAC reach their $12,000 goal!

Your donation will make sure Family House helps remains a home away from home for the families of children being treated at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Any amount will make a difference in the lives of the children and families that Family House San Francisco serves!

Donate Today!