Governor's Island - 7th year !! (and counting)

We made it this year, and it was not the hottest day of the year !! The Island has added so much since the first time we went seven years ago, there is now so much food we're not sure what to choose, bike trails everywhere, ropes, slides and we even climbed a small rock mountain! Here's a glimpse into our day. Enjoy!

#NOlimits

So now you #KNOWwhy and you got a chance to #KNOWme. As the story continues, and no matter what comes next, there are #NOlimits to what I can accomplish. - Junketeers

 Polaroids from our most recent Saturday adventure!

Polaroids from our most recent Saturday adventure!


8th grade has been better. A lot better. Things are still up in the air when it comes to actually getting to go home, but at least school feels more doable than it used to be. You started this year with the same people you finished 7th grade with. It’s your second year in this school and you have a group of friends now, and even better, a best friend.

I feel like I’ve known Melanie forever, but it’s only been a year. Finally, someone really understands what it’s like to be in my shoes.

Melanie’s been at her foster home for three years straight. She’s up for adoption, just waiting on a family who wants to adopt her. You laugh to yourself thinking of how you both tried to keep it a secret that you were in foster care. Then one day you both showed up to the same workshop at the foster care agency. Since then, you’ve been two peas in a pod.

I’ve only ever had a brother- Melanie is like the sister I never had!

As you walk down the hallway toward class, you smile as you pass Ms. Rivera’s office knowing you’ll stop by later to say hello. Ms. Rivera knows when to be tough but isn’t afraid to let you know she cares. Like when she waited with you after school when your ride was late. And when she called after you’d been home with the flu for three days, just to make sure that you were feeling better.

I hope there are teachers like Ms. Rivera in high school. I think it would be cool to be like her one day. I could talk to kids who might be in tough spot. Who knows, maybe I could help?

“Hey Alexis, let’s go!” Melanie shouts to you from down the hallway.

You hurry toward her, the two of you link arms and head out. You’re feeling a little nervous.

What if the mentors are weird? What if they don’t want anyone new to join? I feel like the other kids might not like me as much as they like Melanie.

As if she’s reading your mind, Melanie says, “You’re gonna love Junket, I promise. We get to go to all these different places, learn different stuff, and we always try amazing new foods. ALWAYS. You can definitely count on that!”

You arrive at the Junket office and pretty quickly feel welcomed. There are lots of smiles, a chill vibe, and plenty of delicious snacks.

Alright, maybe my caseworker was right, maybe this one is actually competent (I just learned that word from Ms. Rivera!). I think I’ll actually fit in here.

You go back, week after week. You’re learning photography, budgeting and marketing skills, email etiquette- tons of stuff. Your favorite part though is when you go on adventures with everyone on the weekends. Taking the train upstate to pick apples, trying Dim Sum after navigating through Chinatown, exploring The Cloisters and the Transit Museum and even going to one of the mentor’s apartments for a monthly dinner together. You don’t even mind helping with the dishes at these dinners.

Some days you arrive to Junket meetings in a bad mood, and that’s okay. Sometimes you’re really talkative, and that’s okay too. Slowly but surely, you’re fully yourself whenever you’re there. Despite whatever unknowns lie outside, you feel safe and secure with your fellow Junketeers.

I feel like I’m gonna be okay, no matter what comes next, because I know I have my Junket family behind me. And it makes me feel like I have #NOlimits.

#KNOWme | Never judge a book by its cover

Last week we helped you #KNOWwhy, this week get to #KNOWme as we personalize the story in an attempt to breakdown the stigmas surrounding "the foster kid." 


It’s 12:30am, there’s a knock at the door. You’re 7 years old, and startled awake by the noise. When you went to sleep, mom wasn’t home yet. But usually she was home by now.

Why isn’t she answering the door?

All of a sudden you hear your older brother, Anthony, opening the door and talking to someone whose voice you don’t recognize. You peak out from your bedroom door and you can tell your brother is starting to get upset. He’s only 16, but he’s in charge a lot of the time at home. You get nervous when you see him upset. The stranger walks into the home, a tall man wearing a badge and carrying a folder. You hear him say, “We got a call saying your mother left you and your sister unattended…” You start to feel confused and worried.

Unattended?

But what does that mean?

When mom isn’t home, my brother’s here!

What’s the problem?

All of a sudden, the stranger is telling you to pack up your things in a black trash bag he hands you. “It’s going to be okay” he says “I’m going to take you somewhere safe to stay for the night”.

But am I not safe?

Why do I need to leave my apartment?

How many socks do I need?

Can I bring my blanket?

Where’s mom?

What about my homework, do I need to bring that?

Will this man take me to school?

I’m so sleepy.

An hour later you arrive at a big building, where you’re asked a lot of questions by more strangers. Most are nice, but there are so many questions. You are given a bag of old goldfish crackers and a juice box. So sleepy. It’s 2am. You’re loaded back into a car and driven to a neighborhood you don’t recognize. Your brother says it’s going to be okay but you’re not so sure. He looks scared too.

The car stops in front of an apartment building. The new stranger who’s driving the car walks you and your brother to Apt 2B. You’re only used to Apt. 8C.

Ms. G is nice. But Apt 2B smells funny. And Ms. G doesn’t read any stories at bedtime. You miss your brother. Anthony had to go live somewhere else. He and Ms. G didn’t get along. Your new school is so different than your old one. Kids at this school already know how to multiply and you can barely add big numbers. It’s hard to concentrate on the homework because your mind keeps being filled with other questions.

When will I get to see mom next?

Why didn’t I pack more socks?

Am I gonna be at Ms. G’s forever?

Will she make me a birthday cake?

Mr. M, your caseworker, comes to visit. He brings bubbles like he said he would. He asks a lot of questions and tells you that mom isn’t going to see you for a little while. He looks kinda sad. You don’t ask any more questions because you’re scared. You want to talk to mom. You start to cry and don’t want Mr. M there anymore.

What did I do wrong?

Why can’t I go home?

What happens next?  


……To Be Continued

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#KNOWwhy | Let us tell you about foster care

'MAY' is foster care awareness month.
 

To raise awareness the Junket crew has completed its third project, blue bracelets with our theme hashtags #KNOWwhy#KNOWme and #NOlimits.

We are using the bracelets as a way to introduce foster care from our side of the story, keeping the conversation real in order to shed some light on a topic that’s often ambiguous and unknown.

There are over 400,000 children in the US today in foster care. Nearly 9,000 of those reside right here in NYC. Some stay in care for a few days, others years, and some never return home after being removed from their families.

The foster care system was created to protect children and ideally facilitate family reunification. While case workers and foster parents can make a positive impact in the lives of the people involved, the system can never fully substitute for a family.

Children often times remain in foster care for years, beyond the initial goals set for them to return home or be adopted into a forever family. What starts as a list of goals for the family to achieve to gain reunification often results in years of caregivers making efforts to have their children returned home, and children being moved from home to home in the meantime.

Healing takes time. And it looks different in every relationship, in each culture, in all different families. While the system was created to help bring healing, it often adds additional hurts. And what’s meant to add resources, often results in a diminished village of support for the children and families involved.

Junket’s goal is to be there. To be a resource, to provide stability, to be additional “family members” to all who join Junket.

  • To broaden the safety net.
  • To inspire change.
  • To challenge the youth to take hold of all the growth opportunities that come their way.
  • To educate others about foster care and encourage involvement with these incredible youth.

Throughout the month of 'MAY' we will be sharing a little bit more about the foster care system, breaking down some of the stereotypes and sharing a little bit about us, as individuals, those who are in/or have been in foster care.

Check out our GET INVOLVED page for info about what it looks like to become a foster parent or mentor. We will be updating this ongoing.

And stay tuned for next week, as we take you through a scene of what it looks like to enter into foster care.

Let's Go Nets!

"Being a teenage girl at a basketball game doesn't sound fun. And for the most part it's probably true. However, Tuesday night was incredible. It was definitely a good first basketball game to experience if there ever was one and most definitely a wonderful experience when your home team comes out victorious!"  - Junketeer Juana

This Tuesday we attended a Nets game!! It was very exciting and ended with the Nets winning in DOUBLE OT. For some of us, it was the first time we were seeing a basketball game - and the verdict was it's much more fun in person than on TV.  Special thanks to the Nets for their generosity!!! 

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Barclay's Center (!!)

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Juana, Faith, Heather + Chrissy

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Brandon, Leo + Tayanna

Building a Business Professional from Scratch

Start with a suit. It is always a great idea to buy a 2 or 3-piece suit. It is important to have a 3-piece suit, for the ladies, so you’re able to switch it up. One day you can wear the skirt with the blazer, the next day you can do a pant and blazer combo! As you keep building your wardrobe, you can expand your color palette beyond neutrals. Other than the color and style, always make sure you are comfortable and confident. There is nothing better than walking into your workplace and feeling unstoppable!

 

·      Formal shoe

·      3 Ties (black, blue, pattern)

·      1 Sweater

·      2 Tights

 

 

·      Heels/flats

·      Neutral colors

·      Suit jackets

·      Cardigans

·      Pencil skirts

·      Button-down shirts

·      Cufflinks

 

 

·      Emails from the stores you like the most

 

·      Men’s Wearhouse

·      Macys

·      Zumiez

·      Loft

You will need: 

·      3 Piece/2-piece suit

·      7 Blouses/button-downs

·      2-3 Dresses (2 everyday/1 formal)

·      Everyday shoe

·      Belt!!

What to wear:

·      Corduroy

·      Khakis

·      Slacks

·      Collared shirts

·      Dress shoes

·      Tie/bow ties

·      Dresses (knee-length)

·      Tight/panty hose

Find deals:

·      Retailmeknot.com

Where to shop:

·      Banana Republic

·      J Crew

·      Express

·      GAP

·      Target

Junket Graduation BBQ!

We celebrated the high school graduation of a few of our Junketeers with a summertime BBQ! We started the day with fishing in the East river. Although didn’t catch anything, it was a great bonding moment, and a fun way to start the day. The food was delicious. Heather’s family brought homegrown watermelon and cantaloupe, and the BEST homemade chocolate cake we’ve ever tasted. The cherries, sausages and hotdogs were big hits with the Junketeers. Friends of Junket also joined in the fun, and brought tons of laughter and encouragement. Congrats to our five graduates in Junket, and thanks to everyone who made the day so special! 

Brooklyn Flea Part III

At Brooklyn Flea Part III, we were joined by a new Junketeer, Leo!  The rest of the Junket crew trickled in to set up our awesome booth. It was a hot summer day with a smaller crowd, but that was ok because it gave us time to implement our new organizational techniques that helped us make sales quicker! Mentor Matt and his family came to say hi before they move- they will be deeply missed. It may not have been our best day sales-wise, but our goal of sharing Junket with Brooklyn was achieved. We love spending time together, so that made the day worthwhile!