AWNY Art Nights at The Dwelling Place

Each year, AWNY chooses a New York charity to support. For the past two years our chosen charity has been The Dwelling Place of NY – a privately funded transitional residence for homeless women run by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany.

Located in Midtown, the Dwelling Place has provided shelter, sustenance and support to thousands of women since 1977.

At any given time, 15 women call The Dwelling Place home. Each woman gets personalized care, support and guidance to help her build a sustainable, self-supported life. There is no time limit on how long women can stay at The Dwelling Place, meaning women have a place to call their own until they are ready to move on.

This year, AWNY decided to extend our support beyond financial contributions and began to volunteer at The Dwelling Place. On Wednesday evenings, a dinner is held for Dwelling Place residents, former residents now in permanent housing, elderly neighbours living on fixed income and women living on the streets. Once a month after this dinner, the AWNY team has been holding an “art night”.

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AWNY volunteer, Tanya McCaw, chats to a resident during art night.

Led by our resident artist Jacinta Stewart, the AWNY team brings art materials, ranging from watercolours to adult colouring books. The idea is that art provides an opportunity for self expression, creativity and even meditation.

Doing art can contribute to psychological well-being, yet for many women on the streets and in shelters, they do not have the opportunity or resources to create or enjoy this type of activity.

The team has been overwhelmed by the level of interest the women of the The Dwelling Place have shown in the art nights, with over 20 women participating each time. The talent in the room has also blown us away, although for those who are not artists, Jacinta is on hand to provide helpful hints (some members of the AWNY team need this the most).

But most of all, we have loved getting to know these fascinating, warm women who have opened up to us with their stories and with whom we have shared many laughs.

Join us for the Fall Gala

If you would like to support The Dwelling Place, their annual Fall Gala will be held on 19 October 2017. You can find information on how to buy tickets here.

We would love it if you could join the AWNY team for what promises to be a great night in support of an amazing cause.

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One resident’s masterpiece.

How to Go Leaf Peeping

By Julia O’Brien

And just like that, summer is over.

In its place comes the transformative season of autumn – or, if you’re already Americanised, fall.

Unlike in most parts of Australia, New York treats its residents to four distinct seasons. Fall in New York (and the broader north-east coast of the United States) is spectacular and warrants some exploring to see the patchwork colours of the changing leaves.

Whether you only make it as far as Central Park, or head north to New England, becoming a leaf peeper (that’s an actual term) during fall is a wonderful experience you can’t replicate back home.

But to do it right does take some planning, so here are some tips to help you make the most of one of Mother Nature’s ultimate gifts.

Step One: Know When to Go

Every year is different, depending on what the weather’s been like, so your best bet is to keep an eye on one of the many fall foliage maps, which show when certain areas are hitting peak leaf peeping time. The further north you head (such as Maine and Vermont), the earlier the leaves change, and peak time can be as soon as mid-September. The further south you go, the later the change happens, and leaves can still be turning as late as November.

This September has been unseasonably warm and so the leaf peeping season is likely to run late. But many weather factors play into how intense the colours will be and how long the vivid leaves will be around.

Step Two: Plan Ahead

Leaf peeping is a popular activity, so sadly you’re not going to be the only one trying to catch a glimpse of the tress, especially when they hit peak colours. Crowds swell on weekends, making roads crowded and accommodation both expensive and hard to come by. Our tip is to make any reservations well in advance, and if you can, plan for a mid-week excursion to avoid the crowds.

Step Three: Pick Your Destination

Purists would argue that you need to visit New England to see the best leaves – but there are also plenty of places to go that are much more conveniently located to New York City. The New York Botanical Gardens has a vast collection of Maple Trees that are worth a visit, while Fort Tyron Park is a just a subway ride away and can be combined with a trip to the Met Cloisters. The Metro North also offers a number of discounted excursion packages to the Hudson Valley during fall. Why not combine your leaf peeping with some wine tasting for the best of both worlds?

If you’re willing to rent a car, then make a beeline for Kent, Connecticut. It will take you less than two hours to travel and there are plenty of photo-worthy red barns and white steeples to stop at along the way. Head to Kent Falls State Park for a picnic lunch and then pop in to the Kent Falls Brewing Co. for a hard-earned beer.

If you’re happy to drive a bit further, Arcadia National Park in Maine is pretty perfect. With Cadillac Mountain set against beaches and lakes, your friends will be begging you to stop posting all the leaf photos on Instagram. Stay in Bar Harbour – possibly the cutest and coolest town in New England.

Some of the best and most picturesque spots are off the major highways, so don’t be afraid to take a turn off every now and then and get a little bit lost.

Step Four: Eat all the Foods

It’s easy to get distracted by the leaves, but there’s plenty of food to be had and no time to waste. Fall is apple and pumpkin season and Americans certainly make the most of it. You’re going to come across plenty of apple cider, doughnuts, pies and crumbles (or cobblers), and you’re going to want to try it all! Make sure you stop at one of the many pick-your-own produce farms or a road-side market – you won’t regret it.

 

Event: Fall Gala at the Dwelling Place of NY, October 19

The Dwelling Place of NY is AWNY’s charity partner for 2017. Please join us for their annual Fall Gala, with all proceeds supporting their wonderful work.

The night promises to be a whole lot of fun for a great cause, with The Dwelling Place celebrating 40 years on 40th Street at this year’s event.

Event details

Date: Thursday, October 19, 2017
Time: 6.00pm – 9.00pm
Location: Saints Cyril and Methodius Hall, corner of 41st Street and 10th Avenue, New York
Cost: $125 per person. 100% will go directly to The Dwelling Place, plus a $6 booking fee through Eventbrite.
Nature of event: The Gala will be a simple church hall style gathering, with everything from decorations and raffle prizes, to food and wine donated
Tickets: To ensure you are sat at an AWNY table, please follow the instructions below:

  • First, visit the ticket sales site and write the word “AUSSIE” next to your name when purchasing.
  • Then, email Bridget Callaghan to advise you have purchased your ticket(s). This will help to ensure you’re sat on the AWNY table.

Buy tickets (don’t forget to write AUSSIE…)


AWNY’s 2017 Charity: The Dwelling Place of NY

The Dwelling Place of NY is a privately-funded transitional residence for homeless women run by The Franciscan Sisters of Allegany. Located in Midtown, The Dwelling Place has provided shelter, sustenance and support to thousands of women since 1977. Their safe, healing, and structured environment offers women the space and time to develop a sustainable plan for building a healthy, independent lifestyle.

This year’s Gala is celebrating The Dwelling Place’s 40th year on 40th Street.

Visit their website to read more about their wonderful work: http://thedwellingplaceofny.org/.

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The AWNY gals at the 2016 Fall Gala showed the other guests how to have a good time with a round of “Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!”


Another way you can help

AWNY is proudly supporting The Dwelling Place source donations for their charity raffle that will take place at the Fall Gala. If you or someone you know is willing to make a donation we’d love to hear from you. Examples of donations include:

  • Gift cards or vouchers
  • Flowers
  • Homewares
  • Beauty products
  • Jewellry

All donators will be promoted through our AWNY social media accounts and will be included in announcements on the evening.

If you are able to support this worthy cause with a donation please contact Bridget Callaghan.

 

Event: Summer rooftop cocktails at The Met, September 22

Join Australian Women in New York on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for summer cocktails and spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline.

Enjoy the last licks of summer overlooking the city on a Friday night with the ladies. Plus, just opened is the “On Country” Exhibition of Australian Aboriginal Art, so come early to wander the exhibit before coming upstairs for a drink.

Event details

Date: Friday, September 22
Time: 5.30pm on the roof – bar closes at 8pm
Location: Cantor Roof Garden Bar at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Ave, Manhattan, New York 10028. Access the rooftop on the Fifth floor via the elevator in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts galleries.
Cost: Admission fee to the museum, plus cash bar for your own drinks. The museum has a suggested admission fee, but visitors are free to pay what they wish.
How to find us: Look for Cara in a blue dress near the entrance.
RSVP: Let us know you are coming on our Facebook event page.

If this is your first event and you would like to connect with our Event Co-ordinator beforehand, please feel free to email Cara Zelas – cara@worldoflittledude.com

UPDATE: Bring a friend to drinks at the Met and help us launch Meet & Greet!

This new AWNY initiative aims to bring prospective and current members together over a cup of coffee.

We believe Meet & Greet will help Australian women support each other by giving new arrivals to NYC a friendly face to ask for advice, as well as a personal introduction to our network.

Our network receives a ton of requests for advice about New York City. Yet, each of our circumstances is slightly different. Through Meet & Greet, prospective members can identify their areas of interest, such as childcare, changing career, traveling solo, etc – and be connected with a member with similar experiences.

Any prospective member who attends drinks at the Met will have access to the Meet & Greet program. We believe this program to be an invaluable resource for any Australian woman who is new to NYC. We look forward to welcoming everyone as we launch Meet & Greet at the Met!

See you there!

Join us for rooftop drinks
RSVP on our Facebook page

Jumpstart your US job hunt: simple tips for Americanizing your search

So you’ve taken the plunge and moved to the US to try your luck in the Big Apple? Let me guess, sublet – tick. Favourite cocktail bar – tick. Growing credit card bill – tick. Now what you really need is to find a job.

And this is where it can get a wee bit tricky.

As one of the most competitive job markets in the world, finding work in New York is going to be quite different to what you’re used to in Australia. Making sure you’re ready to tackle the task like an American will help you be successful in what will ultimately enable you to live and work in the US.

Toot your own horn loud and proud!

Americans are not afraid of being their biggest advocate. Unfortunately, this isn’t something Aussies are typically very good at. It just feels a bit wankerish to talk yourself up, right? Well, you’re going to have to get over that, and quickly. If you get put forward for an interview, remember you’re going to be up against other Americans who have been taught from school-age how to sell themselves, so if you don’t do it, they will!

People are going to want to know your story, but they don’t have all day to hear it – life is fast-paced in New York. Have your pitch about who you are, what you want out of life, and why you’re brilliant at what you do ready to roll at a moment’s notice (and preferably in 25 words or less).

It’s not what you know, but who you know

Networking, yuck! And if there was any way around it, believe me I’d be the first person to tell you how to do it. But networking is simply a way of life here. And not just casual, accidental conversations – but rather, deliberate, regular and strategic meet-ups.

Contact people who have jobs in fields or companies you want to work and see if they would be willing to meet you for a coffee. Most of them will view this as a compliment and will gladly give you 30 minutes of their time. Treat these opportunities like you would a job interview; take a resume and have your elevator pitch, as well as some intelligent questions, ready. You never know what unadvertised openings they might be aware of, or other contacts they might have.

Understand the ins and outs of the E3 visa

As Australians, we are in such a lucky position to have the option to use the E3 visa. The problem is, however, that many American recruiters have never heard of it. Some will even think you’re making it up. So you’ll need to be au fait with the intricacies of how the visa works and what’s required of your employer should they ask you to explain it to them. Not having a clear answer could mean the difference between them picking you and picking someone who doesn’t come with the added baggage of a visa application process.

There are some very useful websites that explain the various elements of the process and what employers are required to do, such as VisaCoach.org which covers many topics including how to describe your working status on applications and resumes.

You might have to step sideways (or even downwards) to get your foot in the door

When you imagine your life in New York, the picture probably comes complete with you working in your dream job. Without wanting to dash any hopes or dreams, it’s important to keep things real. You are going to be up against plenty of other wannabe New Yorkers in your quest to find that perfect job, and so keeping an open mind is very important.

You may have to be willing to take a sideways – or downwards – step for that first job in New York. Recruiters aren’t inclined to value (or even know) many Australian companies and want to see that you have had American-based experience. So if you can get your foot in the door with one company, it makes the next job much easier to score. The dream job, while not unobtainable, might just be a little bit further away than you first thought.

AWNY is hosting a Working in the USA expert panel discussion on June 14

If you are looking for more advice, or would like to speak to real human beings who have expertise in the New York job market, grab your ticket to the 2017 AWNY Working in the USA event.

Buy tickets here