|I don't think it will be this sunny and snow-free, but you get the idea.|
I met my world-traveling friend Steve through treeplanting last Spring, and he has connections with the Times Square Salvation Army. Last year he spent a couple weeks in NYC volunteering for them, and this year he is heading up a team of Christmastime bell-ringers. The SA is giving the team room and board at their Times Square location in exchange for their volunteer hours, and free time is spent tourist-ing!
The first time Steve mentioned it, I didn't think much of it because I have never volunteered for the Salvation Army before, and I am not involved with religious organizations in general (one exception being Camp Homewood, because it's awesome). However the more he posted on Facebook looking for volunteers, the more the idea grew and took root in my brain.
I love seeing new places, but as a student it can be difficult to find the time and money to travel. I was fortunate enough to land a short-term catering job earlier this semester which gave me a bit of flexibility in the travel funds, and this opportunity to visit New York begins right at the end of exam time and before Christmas. Additionally, bell-ringing is a simple thing that makes a big difference in funding the SA programs for those in need, and I am grateful to be able to incorporate a way to give back and do something meaningful while traveling. Everything seemed to come together to make this trip possible, and I knew I would regret passing it up...so I took it, despite some fears and reservations about wearing the red apron :)
I will write more on the bell-ringing aspect later, and hopefully post some photos while I'm in NYC. I don't know how much time I will be spending on the internet since my time there is short enough as it is, but I will definitely do a couple posts for you when I get home!