Luis Gutierrez is currently a sophomore studying English at Florida International University. He loves to watch movies, listen to old music, and play beach volleyball with his friends. He also enjoys writing and collecting vinyl records.
I volunteered with Vizcaya Museum and Gardens located in Coconut Grove of Miami, Florida. This estate belonged to famous businessman James Deering who bought many art works, sculptures, and architectural designs and then incorporated into his new home both inside and out. Today, it serves as a historical location that houses many events to the public and is a great spot for anyone to take pictures at.
I volunteered at this location because I was fortunate enough to grab a volunteer opportunity before the semester ended. Unfortunately, I left this project for the last minute and found myself reaching out to many art institutions to help out at. Vizcaya was one of the few locations to reach back to me and I was more than happy to assist in such a lovely and ascetically pleasing place. Also, the volunteering had me work directly off the land and I was more than used to it because of the usual yard work I have done with my father almost every weekend.
I connected with this opportunity through their website “vizcaya.org” and a second party website known as “HandsOn Miami”. Both of these websites were easy to navigate and obtain information about their volunteer opportunities. Specifically, HandsOn Miami was extremely user friendly and I would strongly encourage anyone who is in need of ANY volunteer opportunity to use their website.
WHERE & WHAT
On April 22, 2021 at around 8am, I entered Vizcaya Museum and Gardens to find a group of volunteers waiting to be instructed on where to go and what to do. I volunteered with a classmate and friend of mine, Trent, so I sat with him until we were told what to do. A lady came out and had us sign a sheet with our contact information and later told us to follow her. The group of volunteers followed her across the street and through some several paths in the different location. Eventually, we were shown a large area that contained a variety of plants and flowers. More importantly, on the path of the large area were large weeds that were erupting from the rocky trail. The woman gave us a pot/bucket and asked us to put our gloves on if we wanted to. Also, if someone didn’t have gloves, she had extra pairs so that was very kind of her. Anyways, she asked us to pull out the weeds and basically anything that was green from the path. It was a fairly simple task but quite tedious on your back and legs if you weren’t sitting down on the path. After three hours, she collected all of our buckets and thanked us for our volunteering and led us back to the original location in which we met.
In volunteering with Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, I was fortunate enough to contribute a helping hand to such a beautiful estate. This location has been a hotspot for many photoshoots in my family and being able to go back there and give back to the same place that housed many of my sister’s wonderful photos is pretty surreal. The opportunity was easily accessible through their website and second party website HandsOn Miami. Both aided in me finding this opportunity and overall contributed to finding more information on volunteering. The next time I decide to volunteer, I will definitely use that website for my future volunteer endeavors.
The actual experience of volunteering with Vizcaya wasn’t bad at all. I sat down with a bucket that they had given me, instructed to pull out anything that was green in the cobblestone path. It was a fairly simple task, and I did it with ease. While I was doing this some of the other volunteers were making conversation, so it passed the time even quicker. It was a fun and easy time and was probably the easiest volunteering opportunity I have ever done. I’m beyond glad I got to help out, even if it was simply just removing weeds in a path. I would strongly recommend anyone to volunteer with Vizcaya in the future.