Yesterday was the last official day for the inaugural Ally Coalition Alternative Break Tour. Our volunteers were kept busy while they did and learned an incredible amount over the 4-day span.
Volunteer Cassie recaps the crew’s fourth and final day:
Our last day on the tour started - err, abruptly; most of the group forgot that we’d lose an hour of sleep and the clock would jump ahead during the drive from Texas to Georgia. Oops! Once we scrambled to get dressed and eat breakfast, we were ready and excited to take on our project at YouthPride, a local organization based in the Metro Atlanta area. YouthPride provides services including counseling, suicide prevention, anti-bullying information, social services, free STD testing and recreational activities to LGBTQ youth and young adults between the ages of 13 and 24.
We arrived at Georgia State University and met Terence McPhaul, Executive Director of YouthPride, and did some outreach on campus, letting students at GSU know that YouthPride is available to them and located right outside of the school. I had the opportunity to sit down with Terence and chat a bit more, and he told me something really incredible: in 2012 alone, YouthPride prevented 22 suicides, and the organization currently serves over 700 young people who view the organization as a place of acceptance and support. Some even utilize the center as a life-saving resource, getting social services and assistance that they may not be able to access themselves if it weren’t for Terence and YouthPride.
After a few hours of YouthPride volunteering, we hopped back on the bus, debriefed about our day with YouthPride and headed to Atlanta for concert outreach and the FUN. show. We were all really inspired by what we heard during pre-show outreach, and I think everyone who stopped to talk with us was moved by and excited about our work as well.
Finally, we caught the FUN. show from the pit, which was incredible. We danced, sang, swayed and hugged for most of the concert. Afterward, thanks to Ben & Jerry’s, we ate ice cream with the band backstage, chatting with them about what we’ve done so far on this tour and asking them questions about their experiences with The Ally Coalition and the projects they’ve worked on. We were all grateful and excited to have the opportunity to talk so intimately with them about this cause and why they think it’s important. Although we had already had a great experience on this tour and didn’t need any further validation for going on this tour or helping out these organizations, I think Day 4 was a very special, gratifying day for all of us. I know it was for me!
We’ll still have more pictures, recaps, and stories from the Ally Coalition Alternative Break Tour in the coming days. In the meantime, check out the volunteer updates here!