Our Mission (statement)

Junket Inc. is a for life mentoring group for youth involved in the foster care system holding a primary goal of equipping youth with realistic and tangible life skills as they transition into independent living. The Junket family functions as a means to build consistent, positive relationships with the youth while establishing a support system that will carry them through the ups and downs of life. Youth involved in the foster care system will be faced with a decrease in support as they transition into independent living at age 21. Junket maintains dependable support; there is no cut-off age and no end of support.  

Junket provides practical tools and funds to support the youth as they create and manage a project of their choosing. The project enables them to build skills which can later be applied in a work environment, with leadership, relationship building, and conflict resolution as core values.  A dual purpose of the project is to learn the significance of giving back. The proceeds of the project are invested back into the community whether by donation or hands-on volunteer experience. 

Junket is dedicated to walk alongside the youth as they develop their understanding of self-worth and their ability to direct their future and the worlds in which they live.

How it all started ...

In 2008, I [Heather] began volunteering with Mercy First Foster Care Agency, and in 2010 began one-on-one mentoring. The experience was rewarding on many levels; my mentee was learning from me and I was learning from her. When my mentee could not stop saying great things about an all-girls mentoring group that no longer met, the idea of Junket began. A few months later, Mercy First approved the launch of a new mentoring group for girls.

And now the story begins …

In June 2011 I [Sara] joined as a fellow mentor and the group began taking shape. Our first task was to choose the name of the group. When we stumbled across Jun•ket [noun], we knew we had found a perfect fit. A journey or excursion for pure enjoyment.  Exactly what life ought to be and exactly the kind of environment we wanted to create for the girls. We wanted to build consistent relationships while giving them each a platform of leadership within the group. Each group member had something unique to contribute, and we hoped that each one would have a chance to shine in what she did best.

Since Junket started, we added boys to the mix in January 2012 and stumbled, full speed ahead with our design projects.  Starting with Tees and Totes to support our first giving back project, built a well in Ethiopia through Charity Water, pack of Brooklyn postcards and currently we are working on telling the "real" story of foster care to share in different forms of media which we hope to move onto other topics we feel passionate about. 

So far the journey has been great, full of ups and downs, tough moments but also some great ones that inevitably humble us. 

There is genius in each member of Junket and we look forward to seeing them walk through life; building them up as best we know how.

Projects

Check out our projects page to see the current  Impact • Influence • Change project we are currently working on.

Giving Back

Visit our giving back page to see the final status on the well in Ethiopia, Junket ART hanging in the Youth Reception Center for Mercy First/ACS in Park Slope, plus the local giving projects we are establishing right in our own neighborhoods!


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Meet Us

Heather Hupalo, Founder, Co-Director + President

Heather traveled around the world, keeping art close by wherever she went, working with homeless in São Paulo, women in brothels, youth in orphanages, summer camps, and schools, making a final stop in Katesh, Tanzania where she researched water projects. These travels and experiences confirmed that Brooklyn, New York is home. She is trained in photography with an MDIV in Theology and is now utilizing everything she has learned throughout the years to empower youth, building leaders to take on the next generation.


Sara Comis, Founder, Co-Director + Vice President

Sara's passion lies with working one-on-one with youth, forming relationships, and making life-long connections. Since the age of 19, Sara has been investing in the lives of youth. She began mentoring at a small children's home in Austin, TX and little did she know relationships there would land her in NYC in 2010. A social worker by trade, Sara has always had a strong desire to love those involved in the foster care system—to provide consistency and support through the ups and downs. Sara is an eternal optimist, loves to laugh and find the silver lining. She is also a feisty advocate who will try and convince anyone and everyone to become a mentor! Sara hopes to always live a life outside the box and full of leaps of faith.


Shoba Rampersaud, Controller + Secretary (2011-2017)

Shoba is a New York licensed CPA, with many years of experience in public and corporate accounting. She is responsible for Junket's financial management and the integrity of its financial reporting. Additionally, having grown up in developing countries, and knowing the value of having a strong support system, she is passionate about and advocates for activities empowering youth and nurturing the potential within them to overcome challenging situations. Also, she is involved in mentoring youth with a local city organization. 

We are eternally grateful for the help and guidance Shoba contributed from Junket's inception back in 2011, we are forever grateful for the time invested to help up get up and running.


Elizabeth Oporto, Mentor

Elizabeth is a photographer/retoucher who grew up on Long Island and has made her home in Brooklyn New York. Over the years, she has plugged into local organizations focused on helping youth succeed through reading and writing.  In September 2013, Elizabeth joined up with Junket as a mentor with photography experience to help out with the 26B photo project.  Since meeting the youth, she’s a forever regular with no intention of leaving anytime soon.  


Brionna Jimerson, Project Mentor + Social Media Expert

joined 2016


Tim Moran, Writing Mentor

joined 2017


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Our Story

Adventure Begins ...

It all started on July 23, 2011.  We embarked on the first adventure.  Governor's Island, on the HOTTEST DAY of the year!  

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Make a change for the better.

Faith made Post-It Art and called it. And so the story begins.

Our first giving back project was a few months later, we participated in Winter Wishes, sponsoring 8 kids!

Brooklyn Boulders launch event!

To kick off 2012, we enjoyed our first ever climb at Brooklyn Boulders. The perseverance and courage to overcome the fear of heights and getting through a nearly impossible vertical climb was impressive.  We all walked away proud of what we accomplished and in hindsight, good preparation for what was to come.

Junket launched a small business!

In January 2012 the small business started, check! Our first project, a design for tees and totes, was sold online and in Brooklyn stores to raise awareness for the the second giving back project, a $5,000 donation toward a well in Ethiopia through Charity Water.  It was a long process but well worth it.  You can walk through the full story on our giving back page.

2nd Annual Fundraiser, December 2013

In December 2013, we held our 2nd Annual Fundraiser at People Meet Hall in Bedford Stuyvesant  introducing our new project idea, 26 Boroughs of Brooklyn, showcasing poetry and spoken word in support of the new Brooklyn themed photography project.

(We're a pretty good looking crew!)

Junket Gallery Exhibit in Bedford Stuyvesant!

By May 2014, our 26 Boroughs of Brooklyn project was under way so we headed back to People Meet Hall in Bedford Stuyvesant and hosted a Gallery Exhibit with framed prints of the photographs being considered for the postcards. It was encouraging to see the art displayed and it gave us the push we needed to keep walking so we could finish the project in November.

 

 

 

 

Launch of 26 Boroughs of Brooklyn!

In November 2014, we were back at People Meet Hall for the last time and the 26 Boroughs of Brooklyn Postcards Launch Party! A great moment, two years of walking Brooklyn and we had a pack of postcards to show for it.  

(People Meet Hall closed their doors after the 26B Launch, thank you for hosting us and being so gracious with your space. For our next event, you will be missed!)

 

November 2015 Launched 26B in the Junket Shop!

You can read more about 26 Boroughs of Brooklyn on our project page and purchase a pack of postcards in our shop!

The rest of our projects can be found under the projects tab, the most recent one being the first option.

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Investors

Monetary Donations

Since the beginning, Junket has been fully dependent upon the generosity of individual donors to meet each of our expenses. Our current monthly investors cover our rent and office expenses for which we are so very grateful. If you are interested in helping feed the Junket crew, fund project expenses, or provide metro cards to get the crew home visit our donate page.

2018 Year to Date Donations

$20,532.07

Current Monthly Donors

Glenn + Sue Henderson

Elizabeth Oporto

Adam Kennard

Diane Crews

Aimee Bunch

Janet Garvey

Chris Turner-Neal

Anthony Cotsifas + Patricia Heal

Krista Cone

Current Monthly Donors (Cont)

Laura Purcell

Jillian Tappan

Josh + Julie Henderson

Amanda + Brett Slezak

Emilie Bunch

Kara Hicks

Matching Donations

United Healthcare

 

One-Time Donors

Bob + Laura Hargrove

Jan Nelson

Tracey + Greg King

Mozelle Crews

Alex + Kathie Hupalo

Erika + Nick Beer

Penny Fearon

Past Year-To-Date Donations

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2018 Budget

Our goal is to build up our Monthly Support to $2,525 per month plus provide stable funds for our Annual Operating Expenses which total $5150. As we look toward future projects and Junket's growth we are also building up our Project/Growth Fund to $10,000 in hopes that this amount will sustain our projects for the next several years. Since the beginning, we have always believed in a 100% model.  All money will be clearly tracked and used with 100% transparency, giving our investors peace of mind in knowing exactly where their donations go and how they are helping to change lives.   

Below is a breakdown of each category and a brief description.  

Monthly Operating Expenses

  • Office Space/Rent --------------------------------------$600
  • Storage ----------------------------------------------------$125
  • Healthy Meeting Snacks ------------------------------$200
  • Fun/Cultural Monthly Event ------------------------- $500
  • Metrocards ---------------------------------------------- $100
  • Software/Website Subscriptions ------------------ $200
  • Monthly Stipend per youth ------------------------- $800 (estimating 8 youth)

Total Monthly Operating Expenses: $ 2,525

 

Annual Operating Expenses: $5,150

  • Accountant - filing/end of year ------------------------ $500
  • Insurance --------------------------------------------------- $3,000
  • Lawyer + filing fees --------------------------------------- $750
  • Clearance for (4) New Mentors (per year) ------------$900

Total Annual Operating Expenses: $5,150

 

Project/Growth Fund

  • Estimated Project Expenses which includes advertising ----- $10,000

Project/Growth Fund: $10,000

 

Total needed per year to operate: $45,450


Further Explanation of our Monthly Expenses

Office Space / Rent

As of January 1, 2013 Junket began meeting in an official office! We rent an office from Green Desk and have access to a conference room for 12 hours a month which covers the time needed for our four meetings a month.  We are thrilled to have a consistent space to meet in. We recently moved into a slightly larger office space in 2016 which allows us to work more efficiently and have a bit more room to maneuver. The current monthly rent is $600.

Storage

In 2013, we decided to begin renting a storage unit to provide a place where we could store donated furniture and home items to assist those in Junket who were moving into independent living and needed some assistance with getting basic things like pots and pans, a kitchen table, linens, etc. As our youth settled in successfully and those items went into their apartments, the storage unit transitioned from storing furniture to holding our Junket project inventory (tees+totes+postcards) as well as all our supplies for our Brooklyn Flea booth. 

Healthy Meeting Snacks

Each week before our Junket business meeting, we go shopping at the grocery store by the office for healthy snacks. The youth are given a budget of $50 that they diligently heed as they add up the costs of the various fruits, veggies, nuts, meats and cheeses we find to try. We make every effort to shop the sales each week to get the best bang for our buck! The snacks may seem like a simple thing, but they help start the meetings with a time to debrief our day, try new foods, and feed our brains to focus and work effectively together. 

Fun/Cultural Monthly Events

Each month we aim to have two weekend events where we can explore the world around us and spend time together. You can look under the blog section to see some of the fun things we've been able to do recently. The goals of these events are to build relationships and encourage teamwork, creativity, and community involvement. We are continuing to keep our eyes peeled for events in the community that spark new ideas and get the creative juices flowing to enhance our future projects. In 2017 we have implemented "Family Dinner" as a one-a-month meal together where we cook, eat and relax together. 

Metrocards

For those of your in NYC, this category doesn't need much explaining, but for those of you who aren't on the subway each day, a Metrocard is what is used to pay for public transportation in New York City. We provide a two-trip Metrocard ($5.50) to each youth to make sure they're able to get home and back to our next meeting without any difficulty.

Software/Website Subscriptions

Building business and creative skills is an integral part of our Junket meetings, and in order to do that in a way that will prepare our youth for college and their future careers, we utilize software such as Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, Powerpoint). Our website is powered through GoDaddy and Squarespace and enables us to share about who we are, what we're working toward, and sell our products direct-to-consumer. In 2018, we will begin tracking our finances through Xero software, which will enhance our ability to teach budgeting and financial tracking skills. 

Monthly Stipend (per youth)

Each member of Junket  has the opportunity to earn $100 per month by attending and participating in Junket meetings. If any meetings are missed, the stipend is decreased, so that each youth is adequately compensated for the time and effort they commit. We previously gave out a larger stipend twice a year, but recognized that by providing a smaller stipend more frequently, we enable the youth to better budget and manage the money earned, and it more accurately reflects the consistency of a paycheck. 

 


A note

We hope this provides some insight into Junket’s spending and how the money you have so generously given is being used. If you have any questions about the budget, please email us at heather@junketnyc.org or sara@junketnyc.org.


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