Archive for the 'Alternative Spring Break' Category


It’s 5 o’clock… somewhere. And that time is for us as we sit here in LaGaurdia airport waiting to board the plane home. Today has been an extremely bittersweet feeling as our trip comes to an end but we reflected on how much we’ve learned and the friendships we’ve created. We’ve spent these last hours doing a variety of things and even traveled to another state!

Some of us found waking up at 5 am to travel to New Jersey to visit Hoboken’s favorite and original Carlo’s Bakery was definitely worth the trip. At the store, we met Buddy’s cousin, Frank, who told us a couple different stories and gave some wise life advice about boys. Following that, we went to Kleinfeld’s Bridal Store (for those who don’t know, its the store from Say Yes to the Dress). We were slightly hesitant to walk in but glad we did it anyway, we thankfully got to meet some of the cast members from the show and see the sale floor! Walking on to our next adventure was the Chelsea High Line, we had some really nice views of the sky line and plenty apartment options for when we return, of course! Just down a couple blocks was Central Park and since we weren’t there all too long the first time we had to do some much needed exploring, so we walked aimlessly through. We found the March for Our Lives and Belvedere Castle ad began our journey back to the Harlem YMCA. Alicia and Nina stayed behind as they went for coffee, shopping at our Harlem Goodwill and visited Black Power in Print Exhibit in the Schomberg Center for Research in the Black Culture, which is where we met back up with them. Now we are about to depart from LGA and start the flight home never escaping the cold. We’ll be back soon NYC! xoxo


PS Aleana kicked a bird.

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Last Day at GMHC

Today was sadly our last day at GMHC. It doesn’t feel real because we have all been anticipating this trip for a long time and in the blink of an eye its over with. During our last day of of working with GMHC we got to help sort files of clients. By doing this job we are helping the employees focus on their patients rather than them having to organize paper work. After completing this task we were able to rejoin the South Carolina group we have been volunteering along side for a conversation with the CEO of GMHC. It was a Q&A with Kelsey Louie and he let us ask him any type of questions we have about being a CEO of a non-profit. Some great advice that he gave us was to always run in the faster heat, pick the job you don’t know how to do not the one that you are basically already doing and lastly, find your brightest goal you are trying to achieve in life because this will make each and every decision you make in your life and within your career that much easier.

After saying our goodbyes to all the lovely people we met at GMHC we got to spend the rest of our Friday exploring the big city. Alicia took us to the NFL Headquarters to see the building in which one of her good friends works in which was such an amazing opportunity. It’s crazy to think that the most current Super bowl is running constantly until the next one airs. Following this we were able to access Wall Street so that we could take pictures with the Bull and the fierce little girl statues. This is such an empowering monument and very popular I must say. Next some of the group was able to witness ground zero and the 9/11 museum for the first time. We took time to reflect on the citizens of New York who lost their lives due to terrorism. It was a very emotional experience for all as we took our time strolling though the museum. As our last night in the city we decide to have dinner in Times Square! Our last meal was at Olive garden and we enjoyed every last bite and then some! As a group we have stayed out pretty late the entire trip so that we were able to do some site seeing but as our last night in town we decided to go to bed early so we could wake up early in order to be the first in line for Carlos Bakery..Tomorrow should be extra sweet :)

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Until Next Time New Orleans

Thursday, March 22 the New Orleans group left at 5:00AM and arrived back to UW Oshkosh at 10:10PM. We made as few stops as possible and, honestly, the drive back in one day was easier than splitting up the drive down. After we returned safely to campus we parted ways. Since it was just a drive back there wasn’t much to blog about, so we decided to take a different approach to this last blog post and share our thoughts on the whole trip.

Emily W.: “This trip has been life changing for me. I have learned so much about myself and the impact such a small amount of people can have on a community and that we all have the ability to tackle issues that are important to us. I met so many people who were so dedicated to their causes, and it was really inspiring to see the love these people have for their city. I have seen in myself how much a positive attitude about the tasks at hand can change the outcome of your experiences. It’s not fun to pull weeds every day, but doing it in a group and having the right mentality makes it so much better. I want to be able to bring the skills I have learned in NOLA back home and be able to use them to help my various communities as best I can.”

Clare: “One thing I really took away from this trip is a sense of community. I really loved seeing how everyone was really interested in what we were doing and where we were from and it made me realize that even if we were just pulling weeds we were still making an impact on the community. I also learned a lot about myself and my ability to communicate with people who aren’t the same age as me and also with people who I have never met before. One of my favorite parts of the trip though was creating friendships with people I barely knew before going on it and exploring a new city!”

Olivia: “This trip was the best possible way I could’ve spent my spring break. The community of New Orleans was so welcoming and absolutely amazing. My understanding of service and leadership have been completely changed and I feel more committed to making an impact than ever before. Our group of ladies has a special place in my heart and has inspired me beyond what I thought was possible (as cliche as that sounds, it’s true!). To see what ten people could do in such a short trip with such a positive attitude and capacity for learning reminded me why we do service in the first place. I can’t wait to take this inspiration and servant leadership skills to our own community!”

Ann: “The biggest thing I have taken from this experience is the importance of preventing things that cause a need for volunteers. For example garbage clean up can be prevented by people not littering and using as many reusable products as possible. When I get home I am going to continue to educate myself on correct issues from reliable, truthful sources. I am also going to do my part to not contribute to the problem. I will do this by always keeping an open mind and being responsible with my uses of resources.”

Emily T.: “This week has given me the opportunity to not only give to another community but to also bring back what has impacted me back to my community. I loved the relationships I built with others on this trip and how well we worked together as a team. It’s hard to believe what little things we can do can make a big statement. I’m entirely inspired in every way in New Orleans and in the people I shared this experience with. I honestly couldn’t ask for more or less; this trip was what I needed to continue to give back.”

Jackie: “This week has been a wonderful whirlwind! I am so impressed with how everyone in our group came together and stayed positive and engaged all week through long car rides, hot temps with high humidity, a few sprinkles, and 15,000 plus steps each day! The empathy and compassion our group members exhibited was so motivating to me as the advisor and I am beyond proud of how everyone brought their strengths and passions to the table. I loved how we were able to split our time between our volunteer work and connecting to the people and history of New Orleans and Louisiana. It really helped connect what we were doing to the impact we were actually having in the communities we were serving. I think we all walked away from this trip having learned something new about ourselves and having gained a greater perspective. one quote that is really sticking with me is from our afternoon with Miss Dolfinette. She said, ‘Once you know the truth, you can’t unknow the truth.’ The more we learn about, and interact with people who have different experiences than us broadens our definition of truth. I am looking forward to further personal reflection on this trip and reconnecting with the amazing group of women again later this spring.”

Madison: “The volunteer trip to New Orleans truly allowed me to discover more about myself than I ever thought possible. I discovered my desire to help others was greater than I could ever imagine. I found that my ability to connect with others on such a personal level grew with each new volunteer task we had. I loved being able to immerse myself in the culture of New Orleans. Learning about the history of the city, being able to explore the French Quarter (Jackson Square specifically), and trying the famous beignets from Cafe Du Monde were a couple of my favorite memories! I never wanted to leave! Additionally, I really loved how the community was so very welcoming and appreciative of our work. It definitely made pulling weeds day in and day out entirely worth it! I was able to gain friendships with the most amazing and selfless people who had me laughing constantly. Our group had the most positive attitudes I have ever seen people have. No matter our situation, we were able to maintain our upbeat, fun, and caring personalities (especially with our van being towed on day 5 of the trip!) Every member on this trip has a heart of pure gold when it comes to helping others and it truly inspired me to want to better myself as a volunteer and individual life. My time in New Orleans changed my entire perspective on life and what it truly means to serve the community. I feel absolutely blessed to have been given this opportunity to help others and create friendships with people whom I will never forget. Thank you for an amazing trip NOLA! (I also loved, of course, the stretching breaks during stops!)”

Kalee: “The trip impacted me in many ways. It allowed me to see how important community truly is and how my actions, all our actions, can have such an impact on the world. It challenged me to think about the world around us. I was able to see first hand the impact we’re making on the environment, the importance of community and taking care of one another, insight into our broken criminal justice system, and so much more. Also, we had an awesome group! I loved getting to know the people we worked with and were able to meet. It was a life changing experience!”

Karis: “This trip was so incredible. Working with 9 wonderful women who were willing to give up their spring break to serve others was so inspiring. I loved getting to know them all. It was also amazing to learn about the history of New Orleans and the love that the community has for their city. The whole experience was incredible, and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.”

Natasha: “New Orleans was life altering in many ways. I’ve known for the last several years that I want to live in a big city but New Orleans showed me that it’s best to find a city that still holds onto their culture. Learning about the history and the culture helped add even more meaning to the volunteer work that we were doing. This trip showed me that gardening volunteer work may not be my strong suit but that being able to make even a small impact in someones life is worth the work and effort. Along with that I’ve had the opportunity to run the trips blog all week and I’ve learned that I wouldn’t mind being a blogger/social media person for organizations like this. I had so much fun getting to see all sides of New Orleans and share them with all of you readers. So, until next time New Orleans.”

Exploring trans and the city

Well good morning, haha its 12 am and we finally ended our day. We decided it was a good time to wake up early to start off seeing Grand Central Station and grabbing coffee (whats new….).  The morning rush of people was thrilling to watch and we franticly had to find trains we all fit on. Anyway, we went to GMHC for our initial 3rd day. We began filing patient information due to a relocation in the near future for GMHC and an easier work load on actual employees, hence why we’re their volunteering. Today, there was optional HIV testing to experience for us so some of us took advantage to see what others affected actually go through and we also served lunch again, another amazing experience. We were informed that there were 345 GMHC members that were served meals which is a high number for them and substantially larger than what we experienced on Tuesday. Following lunch, it was time for a grand sit-down conversation and workshop about the Trans Community. The workshop entailed how to identify, sexual/romantic orientation, and a variety of controversial trans topics with our new friend Cecelia.

After volunteering today, we started off the journey going to Big Gay Ice Cream (pic below) which was sosososo good and we must recommend for all to adventure there. Being in the neighborhood and down the street, we visited the Stone Wall (pic below) which is where riots began in 1969 for the LGBT community against police for human rights. We ended up getting lost and seeing a beautiful view of the Hudson River (pic below) and found our way back to the AIDS memorial (pics below) and The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. Both were very astounding in the architecture (light pic below) and the known impact they have had on a many people affected. Since we were so close to Little Italy, China Town and Canal Street it was time to take a mozy on around, shop and explore. We ended for dinner in Little Italy at Lombardi’s Pizzeria, the United States first and finest. Of course we had to explore just a bit and find a small Italian cafe to finish our night with cannolis! We took the subway home and now are off to sleep in order to prepare for our last day at GMHC. Zzzzzzz.




Utah: Connectivity Modifier

Hello from Utah!  We hope all our #uwo Titans are having as much fun on their spring break as we are volunteering our time at Arches National Park Moab in Utah. We have been busy exploring and helping clean the park up.  Most importantly, we are working to ensure the native plants can regrow in the area to sustain the wildlife and maintain an eco-system. The photo below is called a ‘connectivity modifier’ or con mod for short, and its part of the Grassroots Restoration Project.  It’s purpose is to keep the wind from blowing seeds away so native plants can regrow in the area. We have been working hard to assemble and install these important tools!  Talk to you all soon :)


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