This year’s Washington, D.C. ABST consists of 2 staff accompaniers, 2 student leaders, and 6 student participants. Our team arrived in Washington, D.C. around 5pm on Sunday, May 5. We spent Sunday settling into the center, picking up some groceries, and going to bed early to get ready for a 6am start on Monday.

Monday was our first day working at the Father McKenna Center. At 7am, we started packaging some meals for takeout and prepared to serve the men who were staying to eat. We ate breakfast with the men, helped with some projects around the center, and watched a documentary with the men. After the documentary, the director of services spoke with us, and we did a meet and greet with some of the guests at the center. Each student was paired with one of the men, and we chatted with each other, and then took turns introducing ourselves to the group. After this event we helped prepare lunch and ate with the men. We finished cleaning up lunch around 1pm and had the afternoon free.

During the afternoon, we walked down to the capital for a tour. The tour was super cool, and we even had a run in with a famous representative. Anna and Niomi were at the end of the line on our tour, and they were swarmed by press when Marjorie Taylor Greene walked by. Anna’s head made it into a clip that a CBS reporter posted on her X account (formerly known as Twitter) which is posted below. Aside from that cameo, our tour was still very interesting. Afterwards, we stopped by the botanical gardens, and then we returned home to the center to cook and reflect.

Tuesday started with the same service projects, and we stayed after lunch to work in the food pantry. At 3pm, we left the center and met with a lobbyist named Char who has worked on the Hill for several years. We grabbed milkshakes with Char, and we asked her tons of questions about what it is like to work on and around Capitol Hill. It was incredibly interesting! Next, we walked to a nearby restaurant and grabbed dinner with some Gannon alumni. It was super fun to meet the alumni and see what they had done post-graduation! After dinner, most of the group went to see the monuments lit up at night, and a few of us went back to the center to hit the hay.