Long Layover Visit (or Celebrating With My Mom In Person)

This past Thursday my parents had a couple of flights. The first flight brought them to LAX where they had about a 10 hour layover. So when my parents knew that this was the situation, they asked me what my plans were for the afternoon. And of course, I immediately cleared my schedule so I could get them and spend some time with them.

The first thing we did at my house was a project (of course). A drawer on my dresser broke and my dad said that he would work on fixing it. We were finally able to create a fix, but we really need to work on it when my dad has the time to go to the hardware store and get some proper things (right now, the drawer is fixed with tape).

Since it was a nice day out, we also took a walk around my neighborhood. My parents haven’t really walked around my neighborhood that much. Usually when they are over at my house, we are working on something and then driving to another activity. But since we had all the free time in the afternoon, we took a very nice walk.

It’s fun to see my parents seeing more about where I live. My mom grew up in LA, but not near where I live. So it’s interesting to see them discovering why I love my area so much.

After walking around, it was time for linner (lunch/dinner). My parents wanted something filling so they wouldn’t be hungry on their next flight, so I took them over to Westside Tavern. I’ve been there plenty of times (it’s right next to one of my favorite movie theaters) but my parents have never been.

And since we were celebrating my mom’s final chemo treatment and her being cancer free, of course she got some champagne.

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We had a nice relaxing dinner and then headed back to my place. We spent some time watching tv and I helped both my parents with iPad questions (which is how I “pay” for the house repairs my dad does) and before we knew it, it was time for me to take them back to LAX for their next flight.

Their layover on the flight back isn’t nearly as long as this one was, but I might get to see them again then. But if not, Thanksgiving will be here before you know it and I’ll see them (and Tucker!) for a couple of days then.

I’m just so grateful that I’m in a work situation right now that allowed me to take the afternoon off so I could spend it with my parents. It was a nice treat for me to get to see them and I’m sure that they preferred hanging out at my house over spending 10 hours waiting at LAX for their next flight.

Seeing What Other People See (or Losing Weight Without Losing Weight)

Another week of workouts are done! I had some great challenging workouts and some personal challenges as well.

First of all, the Monday Challenge this week was a mini Dri-Tri. We had a 100 meter row, 20 burpees (without the jumps or pushups), and a .1 mile run. Even before I started I knew I wouldn’t rank in the top 5, but I was still excited to do it. The row wasn’t too bad. I was exhausted from the workout, but I still got it done pretty quickly. The burpees were a killer. It’s so tough to do them and even though I’m finally done with my ear problems, my equilibrium is still off sometimes when I go from sitting or laying down to standing. So those burpees made me so dizzy! And I did the .1 mile walk as fast as I could, but everyone else at the challenge was able to run.

In the end, my time was just over a minute from what the slowest time was on the leaderboard. So not bad.

These challenges are going to be in cycles. I’ve been told that they will do 8 challenges and then repeat them. I’m not sure if that is still the exact plan, but if it is, I’m excited to see what my time will be for this challenge in 8 weeks when we do it again.

On Wednesday, I was all decked out in pink for my workout.

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First of all, it was to show my support for breast cancer awareness month. But secondly, this past Wednesday was my mom’s very last day of chemo! So even though I wasn’t celebrating that awesome milestone with her in person that day, I wanted to celebrate it in my own way.

On Friday, it was a crazy challenging workout. It was a run/row day, which I haven’t had in a long time. I personally enjoy the run/rows because it means that I get to spend less time on the treadmill, which I still don’t love. But since it had been so long since doing a run/row, my transitions were slow and tough. I know that I can do better with that if I have run/rows more often, but I just focused on trying to get from the treadmill to the rower and back as fast as I could.

This week also seemed to be the week that I talked with people who have noticed a difference in how I look. First of all it was my parents who I saw on Thursday (more about that in another post). My dad mentioned that I look much smaller than the last time he saw me (which was last month).

Then on Friday, I was talking with 2 ladies who were on the treadmills next to me. One of them was pretty new to Orangetheory. That Monday (she was in my class that time as well) was her first class. And she was asking me all about the workouts. Then there was another lady who I have seen a bunch in class who joined in on the conversation. She mentioned that whenever she and I are in the same class, I motivate her to use heavier weights in the strength portion of class because she sees that I’m using heavier weights than she is.

I never realized that I could motivate someone who looks perfectly fit to me to try harder! That was pretty awesome. She also mentioned how I looked like I had lost a lot of weight since she first saw me in class (which I think was right around 4th of July).

Finally this week, I saw my brother and sister-in-law yesterday (again, a story for another post). My sister-in-law commented that I looked like I had lost a lot of weight.

What’s crazy about all of this is that I haven’t lost a lot of weight. I’m not sure why I’m not losing it at the rate I expect to, but I’m just happy that it is going in the right direction. But for example, since the last time my parents or my sister-in-law saw me, I’m maybe only 4 pounds smaller. That’s not a lot. But clearly it must be showing more than I realize.

I stopped doing photos of my progress after my initial 8 week challenge, but I think I need to go back to doing those. It’s really hard for me to see weight changes in my self (I have been diagnosed in the past with some body dysmorphia issues) but sometimes I can see them in photos. I think I’m going to wait until November 1st and then try to do them on the first of every month.

But for now, I have to trust in what other people are seeing and to keep kicking as much butt in my workouts as possible. Because obviously it’s working!

Having My Patience Tested (or Taking Deep Breaths)

Lately, it’s felt like my patience has been tested all the time.

This mainly is work related, but my personal life has had its moments too.

At work, my main day job is working for the box office job I have. Even at my old box office job I dealt with a lot of angry people who wanted certain seats that aren’t available or want to attend a show on a date that isn’t happening. But since they knew that we wired at the theater, I think people were a bit nicer because they knew that we might eventually meet them.

At the new box office job, people pretty much know that they will not see us. There are always a couple of customers each week who are threatening me on the phone about suing me or having me arrested. What prompts this is usually either unavailable tickets or not having all the answers and having to pass on a message to the particular location that they are going to attend. Most of the customers are nice, but when you get a really angry one, it sticks out in your head.

Thankfully, I can use the chat feature to chat with my co-workers in other locations. We help each other out when we can and if we need a moment to vent, we are there for each other as well. This also has been extremely helpful when a customer contacts us multiple times hoping to get a different answer from a different person.

I’ve also noticed my patience being tested regarding babysitting jobs. First of all, many parents put out a job request to a dozen or so sitters. And whoever responds back first gets the job. So I keep seeing jobs getting cancelled on me because I’m not fast enough to respond (usually I respond within 10 minutes but there are some people who are very fast).

I’m also hearing from multiple parents that they need to see my background check before they can hire me. I’ve passed the background check that the service I use has and it says so on my online profile. But parents want to read it all before they consider me. So I contacted the background check company and they are mailing me a hard copy of the background check. My plan is to scan it in to my computer so I can email it out if necessary (after blacking out my address and social security number).

And in my personal life, it’s not too bad, but all of it adding up has gotten to me a bit. When I moved into my house 4.5 years ago, my landlord promised to re-do my kitchen. He would have done it before I moved in, but I didn’t want to have to wait an extra month. I never really heard back from my landlord on when he would fix my kitchen, but since he wasn’t raising my rent, I stayed quiet.

Now that my rent is raised every year, I want things that were promised to me to be done. Finally last week, the handyman came to my house and took all the measurements for my new kitchen counter. It was supposed to be done by Wednesday of this week.

On Tuesday, the handyman told me that the shop screwed up cutting the counter and that the new one won’t be ready for another week or so.

I shouldn’t let this bother me, but it did. I’m still getting my new kitchen counters (and refusing the clean my old ones since they are about to be trashed). I just need to be ok with things not being done when promised.

All of this has been a big lesson in patience. I’ve always considered myself a patient person, but realizing how this has all tested me has proved that there is room for improvement for me.

Having A Season Of Musicals (or Finally Enjoying Something I Haven’t Done Since I Moved To LA)

After my shopping adventure in Orange County, I headed back to LA to get changed for my evening activity.

A little backstory.

In the beginning of the year, I was asked by a friend of a friend if I would like to join their group for the next season at the Pantages Theater. They had 3 people for the past season (which was still going on at the time), but one member of their group was moving away. And since they found out that I love musicals, they wanted to see if I’d be interested in buying season tickets.

I had only been to the Pantages once before. That was my first week in LA and I saw The Lion King there. I kept wanting to go back, but I either didn’t have the time, the money, or someone to go with.

At that time, I had much steadier money coming in so I didn’t really hesitate to say yes! Also, the season tickets made it come out to about $40 a show when individual show tickets were 2 or 3 times that!

Fast forward to this past weekend and it was finally time for our first show!

I took the light rail and the subway to Hollywood and Vine and as soon as I got up the final escalator I saw the theater.

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I crossed the street and waited for the rest of the group to get there. It was a nice evening and watching the sun go down behind the theater was very pretty.

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The rest of the group got there shortly after me and we headed inside to our seats.

I was not in charge of ordering the tickets, so I had no idea what our seats would be like. But once we sat down we realized that for the price we paid, we got some amazing seats!

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We were off to the side, but the view wasn’t that obstructed. And we were pretty close!

The first show of the season was Jersey Boys. I had never seen the show before (of the 7 shows in our season, I’ve only seen 1 before), but I did see the movie.

And while the show was amazing, I will say that the movie almost ruined it for me. The movie was a very faithful adaptation of the musical. So many of the lines and jokes were the exact same. So I knew exactly what was coming up.

Even with knowing the movie, I still had a great time!

I’m so excited that I have 6 more shows coming up at the Pantages! I’m looking forward to them all and my next one is only a few weeks away! And I’m so glad that I’m finally enjoying one of the great theaters in LA again after not going for over 13 years.

Girls Shopping Day Out (or Spending Free Money)

A few weeks ago I got an awesome email from Women In Film. They were going to do a Girls Day Out shopping event. This was going to be held at the South Coast Plaza in Orange County, which is about 45 minutes away from my house.

Usually, these types of events are only open to members of Women In Film who have a higher level of membership than I do. But this time, it was open to everyone!

I RSVPed, and even though I was initially on the wait list, I got off the wait list and officially invited to the event!

I was allowed to bring someone with me, and I had to ask my friend Emily to come with me. She’s a great shopper and I knew that she would love this event!

I got there a little late (I had an appointment that morning and I knew Emily would be a little late too because she had church) and so the VIP suite that we had use of was a little crowded. So I waited outside the room for Emily to get there.

But I did get my amazing gift bags!

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One gift bag was from sugarfina and had some gummy candies in it. The other gift bag was the mall gift bag. It had a map of the mall, the dining options, the schedule of stores that were doing special things for WIF members, and a $100 gift certificate to use at any store in the mall!

Emily arrived shortly after me and we stopped at each store that had special things for WIF members. One store had a bag with a catalog and a perfume sample, another one said it was a typo on the list and they only had a gift with a purchase, and finally there was a store where you could enter to win free UGGs.

A lot of the stores were stores that are very fancy. I joked that the mall was like an inside Rodeo drive.

After doing our laps around the stores, we decided to get some lunch. There was some free food at the VIP room, but since it was so crowded we decided to just go somewhere and pay. We had a nice quick lunch and before I knew it, I had to get back to LA.

I didn’t spend my free $100, but when I looked at the gift certificate it said that it doesn’t expire! So when my money situation is a bit more steady, I’m definitely going there to go shopping!

Even though I only got to spend a little bit of time there, it was a really awesome time! And after I left, Emily used her free $100 to go and get some awesome shoes! I which I could have stayed longer, but I had a very exciting evening planned.

And on a silly note, on the drive home, my car reached a milestone!

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Guess I need to take my car in to be inspected soon!

Missing Out To Make Money (or Realizing When I’m Over-scheduled)

This past Saturday I had a really full day planned. And sadly, I wasn’t able to get everything done that I wanted to.

First I had my day job. Saturdays are 8am-11am (even when I’m working my normal hours). Then I had a girls empowerment event that I won tickets for right after that.

It was going to be tight for me to make it to the event after work. The check in for the event started at 10:30am and went until 11:30am. And even if I left my house the second my clock said 11am, it would be at least 30 minutes for me to drive there and to park.

But I was willing to be late because that’s the only other thing I had scheduled for my day.

Except that I forgot to change my availability on UrbanSitter and got a job request for Saturday evening for babysitting. I spoke with that mom on the phone and it turns out that they live pretty much across the street from me.

So as much as I wanted to go to the event, I would have arrived late and would have had to leave early to make it to the babysitting job. So it just didn’t work out for me to go.

I was a little disappointed because I really was looking forward to the event, but I had to focus on working money-making jobs.

And I’m glad that I did. The family that I babysat for had 1 kid and I was his first babysitter outside of family members. And he was a very sweet boy who listened really well. The job went really easily and the family told me in person (and wrote in a review about me on UrbanSitter) that they will be using me again as a babysitter in the future.

That’s important to me. I need to find work wherever I can. And babysitting for date nights and other occasional times really is a great way for me to help supplement my income (and it really needs to be supplemented right now). And the fact that this family is just a walk across the street is amazing! I haven’t had a babysitting job I could walk to since high school.

I’m working on not having a “fear of missing out” feeling or attitude, but it’s hard not to feel that way a little. But it’s my own fault for not adjusting my availability for babysitting. And honestly, it probably worked out for the best this way.

Orange Goes Pink (or The Week In Workouts)

This past week was another killer week of workouts for me. It didn’t help that on Friday my hip decided to pop out as I was getting out of my car and didn’t want to pop back until after the workout was done. But I did my best given the circumstances.

The Monday challenge was a 2 minute row. And it was as simple as it sounds. Row as far as you can in 2 minutes. The top 5 distances for women and for men would be posted.

I was surprised when I did the Monday challenge. Only myself and one other girl decided to do it after my class. I’m not sure why nobody else wanted to.

But that was fine. She and I rowed next to each other and encouraged each other on (she had a goal to beat the distance her mom was able to do).

I did ok. I went farther than I thought I could, but I knew that I wasn’t going to be in the top 5 (there were more than 5 people who had done the challenge in the morning classes with farther distances than mine).

But what I thought was the coolest part of my week in workouts was the support that was going on because of October being breast cancer awareness month.

I think most of you reading this know what breast cancer means to me and my family. I am happy to report that I did get the results of my mammogram back and everything is fine. The only thing that makes me nervous is that the type of breast cancer that my mom had is not really detectable on a mammogram. So even though my doctor is advising me to do annual mammograms now, my mom suggested that I see about doing mammograms and MRIs on alternating years (my mom’s cancer was found on an MRI).

Anyway, back to how OrangeTheory is support breast cancer awareness. This past Saturday there was an event at the gym (sadly I couldn’t make it). For every calorie burned during class for the entire day, they were going to donate a penny to breast cancer causes. So for example, I typically burn about 500 calories in class. They would donate $5 for that. Between the calories burned over the day and some other donations that came in, they were able to give a nice donation to the charity.

They have also decided to make the orange zone on the heart rate monitors pink for the month.

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So instead of striving to be in the orange zone for 12-20 minutes in class, you want to be in the pink zone.

Not only is it a nice way to show support, I think it’s pretty fun too.

Beyond that, my workouts have been pretty normal. I’m getting used to the schedule and have been able to maintain my M/W/F workouts. I’m getting a little nervous about Thanksgiving and how I will keep up my workouts then, but I’ve got plenty of time to figure that out.

But I keep thinking to myself that the fact that I’m trying to plan my workouts for something that is a month away is a major step for me. I have never been this dedicated to working out without a goal date (the only other time I was this dedicated was when I was losing as much weight as possible before my hip surgery). While the food plans are still tough on me, now that working out is seeming to be normal and expected, I’m getting better and better.

I’m excited for my next 5K (which is less than 4 weeks away). I’m curious how much progress I will have made now that I’m doing treadmill training 3 times a week.

Early Days (or 2 Weeks Of Long Shifts)

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been working 2 hours earlier than usual at my new box office job. And I’m still finishing at my usual time so I’m working 8 extra hours a week.

I agreed to this because one of my co-workers has been shooting a movie and he wasn’t able to work. So I agree to help cover his shifts.

Having this happen so early in my time with this new job really has been good. It reassured me that if/when I need to take some time off for booked work it can be done without having to be laid off. And I’ve proven myself to be a reliable employee by agreeing to start early.

It hasn’t been easy working longer hours sitting at my computer. I’m trying to get up every so often and just walk around my living room. I can’t go too far in case the phone rings or a chat comes up, but I need the time to stretch.

It also was tough making sure that I could get all my morning stuff done before I started working. Even when I was working as a recruiting assistant from home, I always was dressed and out of my pjs when I worked. I’m doing the same thing now. Every morning, instead of waking up and making breakfast in my pjs before getting ready to start working, I’m now not leaving my room until I’m ready to work. I make my bed and get dressed (even though it’s usually just yoga pants and a tank top) before walking into the rest of my house and starting my morning.

I’ve never really done that before and it does seem to make a difference in my day. Instead of easing into my day, I feel more urgency to get work done in the morning. I’m supposed to go back to my usual start time next week, but I think I am going to continue this new routine of not leaving my room until I’m fully ready for my day.

While the extra money has been really nice, I am looking forward to getting back to my normal schedule. There are some things in the morning that I like to get done before work (like checking email and catching up on the news) that lately I’ve had to do either between calls (there is a decent amount of downtime) or at 3pm when I’m done working.

And while the search for another day job continues, I’m starting to get more referrals to jobs, which makes me happy. I got this box office job off of a referral and I always feel more confident getting work that way. I’ve got 2 referrals for jobs right now (one as a virtual assistant and one as a personal organizer) and I’m just waiting to see if anything comes of either (or both!) of those.

I know that I’ve gone through the adjustment phase of a new job several times by now, but I really do like once I’m settled into a routine and I can pretty much schedule out how everything in my day will go. It’s nice that I’ve gotten to that place again.

General Meeting (or Hanging Out With A Casting Director For Free)

This week, I had a general meeting with a casting director.

For those of you who aren’t actors, a general meeting is when a casting director takes some time to meet with you even though they might not be casting something in particular then. They get to know you a little and sometimes you read a scene from an old script.

While this sounds like a great concept and it used to happen more often, sadly this is a rarity for actors to find these days. More often you will have to pay to meet a casting director.

Paying to meet a casting director is technically illegal, but they still happen. They are called workshops and companies promote them by saying that this particular casting director is coming in because they have to cast a certain role.

And to meet them, you have to pay a fee (and in turn the casting director who attends gets paid to be there).

I’ve always found this to be a bit sketchy. If the casting director’s job is to find talent to fill a role, why do we have to pay to be considered? And being at a workshop is not an audition for a particular role. It’s more like an audition to get an audition.

For non-acting jobs, it would be like paying to apply for a job posting that you found. Not paying a monthly (or yearly) fee for a site and you can apply to all the jobs you want. But paying $20-80 (that’s typically what it costs for each workshop) for each resume you send out.

That’s why I find it a little ridiculous. If you disagree with me, I first ask you to check out these two webpages. And if you still disagree with me, that is your opinion and I’m not going to stop anyone from spending their money how they want to spend it. I just want to speak out for anyone who is on the fence if they should be spending their money on workshops.

Those two webpages have information from Billy DaMota. He is the biggest anti-workshop advocate in my opinion and he is always happy to tell actors about free workshops around town (sadly there are very few). He seems to be looking out for actors as much as he can.

And Billy DaMota was the casting director who did the general with me this week. He took me out to lunch (he paid but because I was going to workout right after I only had a juice) and we had a nice chat. We discussed my background and a recent audition that I did for a project that he cast. We also discussed the podcast I work for (he was a guest on it in the past) and some guests that he has in mind for us.

While I didn’t audition for him for any parts, to me this industry is about building real relationships with people. I know that if Billy sees that my agents have submitted me for a part that he agrees I’m right for, he will bring me in. He wants to see me succeed as an actor.

And while I have plenty of friends who do workshops and have said that that is the reason that they booked a particular role, for me that is not a priority for spending my money. I need to focus on paying down my debt (it’s still not as low as I’d like it to be but it’s moving in the right direction) and getting into another acting class. And while there are many casting directors who claim that they will not bring you in unless you are well-known or attend one of their workshops (I’ve had 3 casting directors tell me this in the past year), I have actually gone into all of their offices without ever having to spend a cent. While technically I have not booked anything, attending a workshop doesn’t guarantee a booking either.

Basically what I want you all to know after reading this post today is if you are an actor, you don’t have to spend money to meet casting directors if you don’t want to. And if you need any advice from a casting director, I highly recommend contacting Billy DaMota and asking him. He’s more than happy to answer questions.

At least reasonable questions. Don’t ask him if he can cast you in something. ;-)

Lunch and Learn (or Learning More About My Next 5K)

I was recently invited to be a part of a blogger lunch and learn for the Hard Rock Cafe 5K. I was so excited to attend since this will be my second year participating in this 5K.

The first part of the lunch and learn was the lunch section of it. We were brought back into a private room at the Hard Rock Cafe at Hollywood and Highland and we were given a sample of some of their appetizers.

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It was all super delicious (and my share of what was on our table was pretty much my meal for the day).

While we were eating, I was seated with 2 other bloggers and a representative from My Friend’s Place. My Friend’s Place is a center for homeless youth and is the official charity for the Hard Rock Cafe 5K. They were actually the charity for last year as well, but I’m embarrassed to admit that I signed up for the race because I wanted the medal and not because of the charity.

During lunch I learned a lot about My Friend’s Place including some of the programs that they offer to help get youth off of the streets and into safe places. I also learned that they are one of the rare homeless organizations that will let people bring their pets with them (although the pets do stay outside).

I was so interested to learn more about My Friend’s Place and fortunately the second half of the Lunch and Learn was a tour of the facility and to learn even more about it!

It was a short drive over and as soon as I got inside, I noticed how different it looked from other homeless organizations I’ve seen around LA.

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They make it as cheerful and homey as possible. We started our tour in the entry room where people come in each day (sadly, the center is only open during the daytime and weekdays right now).

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At the front desk, everyone can get clean socks and underwear. It’s the little things that can make you feel like a new person. We learned that they have to buy men’s briefs because they are cheaper, but they would love a donation of new boxers to give out (I’m hoping to make a Costco run to pick some up to donate). At the front they also have a mail service. Anyone who wants to get mail at their address can do so. And they can use the address to get a state ID card. I never thought about it before, but you cannot get an ID without an address.

Next on the tour was a room right off of the entry way. And it was not something I was expecting to see.

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A circus classroom! Cirque du Monde is a program that was created by Cirque du Soleil. While it might seem silly to have a circus program at a homeless shelter, there is a lot of good that can come from people learning circus tricks. Many of the homeless youth have not been in environments where they can trust others. But in Cirque du Monde, they have to be able to trust the instructors and have respect for the lessons.

After we learned a bit about the program, we were given a chance to walk on the wire in the room. I jumped up and was the first to go.

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It was awesome! I was able to go up and back and it felt amazing. After I went, all the other bloggers tried it out and realized how great of a confidence booster an activity like this is.

Next we toured the classroom where they have GED classes and tutoring as well as computers for the youth to use.

Next to that was the clothing room.

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While it looks full, they can always use more donations of clothes and shoes.

We then headed upstairs to see the mothering program room.

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They have parenting classes and are able to provide diapers for little kids. And they mentioned an amazing idea for people to donate diapers. When your kid outgrows the size of diapers you have at home, donate the extra ones so that they will have some to give out! They don’t mind that it isn’t a full box. Any diapers are helpful.

We also learned about some of the other programs that are available at the center such as legal aid, health services, life skills (like finding a job and permanent housing), and counseling.

Honestly, while I have volunteered at homeless shelters before, I never learned as much about homelessness (and homeless youth) as I did during the Lunch and Learn. I know that when I have money to donate to charity, this is going to be one of the first places on my list to get money. These kids need help and many times they don’t have anywhere else to turn.

I highly encourage everyone to learn more about My Friend’s Place and donate either goods or money if you can. And if you want to join me for the Hard Rock Cafe 5K, you can still register and get an awesome medal as well as help an incredible organization.