Nicole Patrick: Miami Service 2019

Photos by Vivian Acosta, John Bailly, and Nicole Patrick (CC by 4.0)
Video by Nicole Patrick

By Nicole Patrick of FIU at Chicken Key, 10 November 2019

In order to understand a community, one must serve it. As one of the most rewarding parts of this class, we serve our community through volunteering. Miami In Miami, as a class, volunteered at the Deering Estate’s Chicken Key, which is an uninhabited island located inside of Biscayne Bay.

Through the power of social media, I was able to recreate our class’ experience for other students. Solely through word of mouth, I was able create a group of 22 FIU students and alumni to volunteer in the Chicken Key Cleanup. With my professor John W Bailly, I had participated in the cleanup two times, so I knew what to expect. In order to have a successful time, I created a schedule and structure for the entire day:

Chicken Key Faciliation sheet by Nicole Patrick.

In anticipation of the cleanup, I sent messages to members via our WhatsApp group chat explaining what we will be doing, what time we will be meeting and finishing, and what items to bring. This way, all the volunteers were aware of what we were doing.

On November 10, 2019, the current was very strong, so I encouraged the volunteers to partner with someone who balanced their canoeing experience. For example, someone who had no experience with someone who had a lot of experience. This way, they could work together in canoeing about one mile to Chicken Key.

It was pretty nerve-wracking to be hosting my first ever cleanup, but something that I learned it that sometimes your position is to lead. It was hard for me to see everyone working so hard while I made sure everyone was alright and posted on The Deering Estate’s Instagram page and story. This may seem very minuscule, but it was very different for me. Typically with cleanups, I attempt to feel accomplished by picking as much debris as possible. However, as Bailly had put it, my role brought everyone together. Without me taking the initiative, the cleanup would not have been possible.

I am very humbled and grateful for my leading experience and all of the volunteers that came. Together, we filled eight canoes with debris that we collected off of Chicken Key. During our reflection, each volunteer had taken something out of this experience from communicating directions while canoeing to paying attention to the details in collecting micro plastics. I am very excited to take what I had learned from November 10, 2019 and use it on my next cleanup, which will be on December 21, 2019.

Below, you can find the posts I had done on Deering Estate Instagram:

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Author: Nicole Patrick

Hello everyone! My name is Nicole Patrick. In three words, I would describe myself as organized, kind, and determined. Currently, I am a senior in Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management’s 4+1 Master’s program. I anticipate to graduate with my Bachelor’s in Summer 2020 and my Master’s in Fall 2020. In my third year at FIU, I am grateful of the many opportunities that I have been able to take part in such as being a Panther Camp Facilitator, Alternative Breaks Site Leader, Teaching Assistant in the Honors College, Campus Tour Guide, and Recruitment Coordinator for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. As an Honors student studying Hospitality and Tourism Management, I bring a much different perspective to the Miami In Miami (MIM) course. My hospitality interests are in eco-tourism, sustainability, and cultural immersive experiences. Traveling and volunteering are two of my biggest passions. I aspire to make the world a better place by showing rather than telling them of a culture, which is exactly how this course is designed. Haven taken Art Society Conflict with Professor John Bailly last year (2018-2019), I fell in love with his immersive teaching style. Being born and raised in Pembroke Pines, Florida, I rarely came to Miami before starting at Florida International University. To explore where I am from and what is my culture was one of the reasons why I applied to the university. This course excites me and I cannot wait to go on our adventures exploring to find the Miami culture. To follow my journey in the class and life, you can visit my Instagram page.

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