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Ithaca’s Alternative Fall Break: Toronto’s Sistering

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ithaca chapter.

At Ithaca College, Fall Break is not limited to going home or staying on campus. The Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs (OSEMA) offers students a chance to explore communities beyond Ithaca, incorporating both a service and cultural aspect to the Alternative Fall Break Programs. This year’s trips included venturing through the Adirondacks, hiking and tidying the trails, or traveling to Toronto to volunteer at Sistering, a women’s drop in center.

As a part of the Toronto trip, my Fall Break has been both meaningful and fun. Each day, we volunteer three to four hours, using the remaining time to explore Toronto. The city supplies great food, shopping, and most importantly people. Working with Sistering ranks as the premiere part of this trip. The organization serves as a wonderful model for providing a holistic, safe space for women in marginalized situations. The twenty-four drop-in center offers a spectrum of amenities that enhance the program’s success. Doctors, psychologists, and therapists visit the center regularly; menstrual products are always on site; classes encompassing a variety of genres: sewing, language, yoga, and more are routinely offered; every meal provides fresh foods that cater to multiple dietary needs. Our service predominantly took place in the kitchen, helping with the meal prep. The process engaged fresh produce and a heightened attention toward using every resource donated. The cooks patiently taught us the way around the kitchen, while sharing insight on Sistering.

Sistering also creates opportunity for women to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. Many women make and sell pottery at various spots in Toronto. Others make textiles and clothing or craft jewelry. It creates an avenue for women to make a livelihood.

The Alternative Fall Break Programs supplied an unforgettable experience that has expanded my perspective. College often proposes a disciplined schedule that centers around oneself. It does not take long to become wrapped up an egocentric world. This trip reminded me of the difficulties that extend past the realm of essays, tests, and homework. The insight I have gathered throughout my time in Toronto inspires me to continue exploring organizations like Sistering that effectively provide for communities.