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Hello and welcome to our Alternative Break Blog

To introduce ourselves, we are your bloggers: Erica Meredith and Aleana Schmid (we’re also roomies for the week)! Now you’re probably asking.. Who are these people? What is Alternative Break? AND where even are they? Well… buckle up kids.

Hi! I am Erica Meredith (pictured below: right) and a sophomore attending UWO majoring in Finance with a minor in Insurance and Risk Management. I am Vice President of United Students in Residence Halls and this is my first Alternative Break trip but second time here in NYC. I  am so grateful to have been selected to go on this trip and I can’t wait to share it all with you!

Hello my name is Aleana Schmid (pictured below: left) and I am so excited to be on this trip! This is my first experience being in New York so I have lots to learn about the city. I am a Junior in college and am a Human Services major. Right now I am currently interning at Peace Head Start in Oshkosh and also work at a daycare in my hometown.  This trip will provide me with the knowledge and insight I’ll need to know when I am in my career field.

Here’s a roomie pic of us we took today after climbing what seemed like 1000 stairs!


Secondly, to start off we are in New York City to volunteer alongside 8 other women at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis for our spring break. We are so excited to start volunteering but first, we’ve had some free time! Today (Saturday) begun with pulling an all-nighter (for most of us) as we planned to be leaving campus at 1:45 in the morning. We drove down on a bus to Milwaukee where we flew out to Laguardia Airport in NYC at 4:45 AM. It was an extremely smooth flight with some even better subway rides with all of our luggage with it. We finally arrived at the Harlem YMCA where we will be staying in small bunk bed rooms with a view of the city for the next week! (Picture below from our common area). We settled in and grabbed lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant, which was absolutely amazing! At that point, we truly decided it was time to start our loooong on-going day. We set off into the subway exploring and became extremely grateful for Rachel’s recently learned knowledge of the subway system and how to accurately read a map.

IMG_6300Here’s us before check in!


Our first and realistically only destination of the day was Staten Island, we did an hour round trip to see the skylines of both NYC, the Statue of Liberty, and the island via ferry which was an awesome experience when we were allowed on the outside bottom dock where few people were. After getting off, we went on a much needed coffee run as we had been awake for 32 hours and it was 4 o’clock. We headed back to Harlem and met up with our Trip Advisor: Alicia (the cooliest) and Savanna who desperately needed a nap for dinner at a small and hip tavern blocks away (group pic after conquering previously mentioned stairs below). After dinner, we saw a cute cookie and pie shop next door so of course we had to stop! (Pic of the worker below who was super nice and amazed that we were tipping him, (must not be an NYC thing??) Erica also rates them for top 10 cookies she’s had in her life if that means anything, hopefully making a trip back! Throughout the day we saw plenty of cute dogs in sweaters and cones then ended the night discussing our next free day and the rest of the week! You’ll hear all about it.

top of the hill

bakery boy

Here’s a few super cool pics of us and the city!