This was our last day of volunteering. It was our favorite day! We helped Don at the Father McKenna Center with breakfast and lunch and everything in between. There was a lot going on in the kitchen. We made salmon patties, french fries, coleslaw and cookies for the guys.
Jacob was on shower patrol, he got to sign the guys into the shower and then cleaned the showers afterwords.
After we were done volunteering we went to the National Zoo! It was very fun seeing all the animals. The groups favorites were the Pandas, Elephant, and the Lion.
We ended the day with seeing Ford’s Theater, doing some souvenir shopping, and having one last family dinner!
Overall, the trip has provided us with our own stories and experiences that we will have for a lifetime and can grow from. I am happy to have shared such a life changing experience with such an awesome group of people that always kept me laughing and changeling myself through the week. We can’t wait to share our stories with all of our readers, family, and friends!!
We ventured out into New York City without our trip advisor, Danielle, and were successfully able to navigate our way to the Empire State Building. Megan, Jasmine, Hannah, and Brianna made their way to the top for a beautiful view of the city.
The Empire State Building.
The view from the Empire State Building on the 88th floor.
We served our last lunch at GMHC. With heavy hearts and teary eyes we say our goodbyes to Chrystal and the gang.
Fight AIDs. Love Life.
We visited the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in SoHo after volunteering. The bew exhibit was not open to the public, but the staff were nice enough to let us explore an hour before their press release!
The Leslie + Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
McKenzie reading the introduction to the “Stroke” exhibit.
The gallery was not suitable for all viewers. These are some of the (more appropriate) artworks from the “Stroke” exhibit within the Lesie + Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.
This morning started off with sleeping in for the majority of us ladies but there were 3 brave souls who did another round of early morning traveling to visit Carlo’s Bakery (from the show Cake Boss on TLC) in New Jersey. I (Jen) was lucky enough to have one of the girls bring back two cannolis for me and they were simply deliscious!
Carlo’s Bakery in New Jersey!
Megan as happy as can be outside of Carlo’s Bakery!
The group served lunch to GMHC clients and chatted them up again. Todat was a special day with two guest speakers, both HIV positive. The first speaker’s story was very sad but at the same time very eye opening. Its easy to say that everyone in our grouo did some major rethinking about things/events in their lives and how we need to take a step back, and reflect on the important things in life.
We also got to visit an exhibit entitled “Why We Fight” and it talks about some of the history and struggles people with HIV/AIDs in the past but also within current events. We were very impressed with the information provided by this exhibit and felt that anyone could easily understand the intended messages.
Why We Fight: Remembering AIDS Activism exhibit. Small but very powerful.
Installations from the Why We Fight exhibit.
For more information on HIV and AIDs please visit:
For dinner we ventured to Planet Hollywood in Time’s Square!
Planet Hollywood on the right! Food was quite delicious!
Clean plates every time.
Thursday was the first day we volunteered at the Father Mckenna Center. It was a new and fun experience from what we had done the previous days. We helped prepare and serve breakfast and lunch for the guys. We also helped do various tasks around the center. While serving we had the opportunity to get to know the guys that are part of the Father McKenna program. It was awesome to get to know the guys and where they came from.
We had a little time before helping with the Hypothermia meal, which I will talk about later, some of us went to the Archives, others went to the Arlington Cemetery, and the rest walked around and went to shops.
At the Archives they were able to see the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence. They also got to see signatures from historical figures such as Hitler, John Wilkesbooth, and numerous others.
Arlington was a great experience. They were able to see Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown, JFK’s grave, and the internal flame.
After we got back we helped with the Hypothermia Meal. This is a program that starts in November and ends March 31st. Men apply to the program to have somewhere to stay during the winter. There are about 8 men that are allowed into the program.
We cooked the meal and served it like we did with breakfast. We had another chance to talk to the guys.
We made the (crack of dawn) trip to see Good Morning America today and boy was it chilly!! We got to see the judges from dancing with the stars and got a chance to be on tv. After GMA, we ventured to Grand Central which is chalked full of busy communters and tourists alike.
Today was our first volunteer experience at GMHC. We are all in consensus that it was an amazing, eye opening experience. All the clients and staff that came through the food line were very nice and easy to talk to. Group members went out to join clients at their tables and converse with them. As a part of GMHC’s confidentiality policies we were asked not to photograph the clients; however we were able to catch a few shots with the staff.
McKenzie and Brianna receiving instructions on serving lunch.
After we finished up at GMHC, we retired to our apartments for some much needed R&R. To finish up the day we made our way to Time’s Square for dinner (at the Hard Rock Cafe) and to see it lit up at night. Luckily we get the chance to catch up on some needed ZZZ’s before heading to volunteering again.
Hard Rock Cafe for dinner as a group.
Namaste, Jen and Rya.