MIM Service Project Fall 2020: Rafaella Ribeiro

STUDENT BIO

My name is Rafaella Ribeiro. I am currently a junior at FIU. I am majoring in international business and supply chain management. I was born and raised in a small town in Brazil. I have always loved Miami, that love however is fading away. I am taking this class to fall in love with Miami all over again. I love taking pictures, hanging out with friends, and learning a new side of things.

WHO

For my service hours I volunteer in cleaning up the Chicken key  with my honos class by  Professor John Bailly. This was a life changing and life blowing experience. I also volunteer at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood, which was also organized by Professor John Bailly for his Honors class.

WHY

This year has been so hard for me. I lost so much, to the point that I lost touch with reality. The opportunities to volunteer gave me a joy that I had not experienced in a long time. It reminded me that there is so much to do out there. The chicken key experience made me realize how damaged our planet is. I love nature and both of these opportunities made me closer to myself and more important to our beautiful planet.  

HOW

Chicken key: On October 14th, 2020, Professor John Bailly and Nichole organized a cleanup for our Miami in Miami Honors class. We went to Deering Estate Park. From there we started to prepare for our time on the island. We were assigned groups of two and we canoed to the island, and then back to Deering Estate Park.

Bakehouse Art Complex: On October 28th, 2020, Professor John Bailly we met in the  Bakehouse Art Complex. It was located in  Wynwood, Florida. This was a project about coral reefs. The artist, Lauren Shapiro was there and she told us the meaning behind the project and what she was trying to accomplish from it.

 WHERE & WHAT

Chicken Key island 

Canoe photo by Rafaella Ribeiro/ CC BY4.0

On Wednesday October 14th, 2020, Professor John Bailly had us meet at the Deering Estate to pick up trash from Chicken Key. The day was beautiful, and the weather was just right for what the day was going to be. We got assigned into groups of two. My partner and I both did not have as much experience cannoung so it made the proces a bit harder. We paddled on our canoes out to the Chicken Key island. I had no idea how much strength it would take to get us there. It was definitely a new experience for me. Once we arrived at the island it looked so untouched. I was wondering where all the trash was at. We tied our canoe and began to explore the island. Once on the actual island I saw how much trash  there was.  To say that I was heartbroken would be an understatement. There was trash everywhere. It was overwhelming to see it. For a few seconds I forgot that I was in the United States and saw myself at a documentary of a 3rd world country where trash is not properly disposed of. It was so easy to fill the bags because there was trash everywhere. We filled our bags but there was still so much trash left behind. I was happy to have had this opportunity and so surprised to see something like that with my own yes. The day was beautiful and once done filing the bags we had the chance to explore the island for fun and swim in the ocean. 

Bakehouse Art Complex

Rafaella And Lauren by Rafaella Ribeiro/ CC BY4.0

On Wednesday October 28th, 2020, we met Professor John Bailly at the Bakehouse Art Complex to help out a local artist, Lauren Shapiro, with her art project. I was super extended for this project but I was also nervous because I had had an experience with clay before and it gave me a bad allergy reaction. I went into the part of the gallery that was home to Shapiro’s project. She introduced herself and I met the rest of my classmates. Shapiro explained that the molds we would be using were made of  actual coral reefs. It was cool to know that they were able to use actual reefs. To a certain extent it made it feel more real. She taught us how to use the mold and it was game on. I loved the compact behind the project. I think it was a clever way to bring awareness while doing something fun. She decided not to bake the clay. With time the project will dry out and fall apart. This is kind of what is happening to the reefs. Her project is a really cool representation of the problem. The experience was really fun and gave me a chance to bind with my classmates. 

SUMMARY

Chicken Key by Rafaella Ribeiro/ CC BY4.0

Those two experiences were truly fun and it made me feel connected with my plant. Chicken Key was the most humbling experience I have ever had. I grew up near the water and have always enjoyed being on the boat. Now I appreciate it even more because It is so much work to be in a water vehicle that is not electric. I was so happy to make the island a bit less polluted. I know that we did not fix the problem, but we did our part. This experience  reminded me of something I heard once. I cannot fix the planet by myself, but I can do my part, and if everybody did their pat this would be a much better place. I hope that in the culture I have other opportunities to get involved with a clean up. Bakehouse Art Complex was also a great experience. I loved how chill my volunteering experience was.

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