Last week, my work focused around a three day at the North Campus of Miami-Dade College, a large community college in Miami. The event was called Spring Into Sustainability, and was held over three days. The first two were talks held by various members and organizations in the community working towards sustainability in Miami. Engage Miami was asked to speak on Monday. It may seem odd that Engage Miami would be chosen to speak at a sustainability event, as our mission does not have its main focus in environmentalism. However, sustainability extends beyond environmentalism. In order for a community to be sustainable, it must balance human, economic, and environmental factors. Affordable housing, for example, contributes to a sustainable Miami in that it allows its residents to live and work in the city as it grows economically. Eco-friendly housing contributes to a sustainable Miami by helping to ensure that the city will still be livable in a century. By connecting young people to local politics, Engage Miami hopes to encourage sustainable living in Miami. Only those living within a community can express to representatives what needs to happen in order for balance to be maintained between humans, the environment, and the economy. During the talk, our organizer explained it this way: It is our job, as citizens, to express our opinions to our representatives. It is their job to take the all the input and synthesize solutions.
Tuesday was another office day, and I decided to make calls then rather than Monday in an effort to reach more people, or even different people, than the ones who answered regularly on Mondays. It was actually very successful. I spoke to and scheduled volunteers who had never answered the phone before, demonstrating the effect that simple scheduling has on volunteer outreach. Because of this, I have decided to vary the times and days I call volunteers week to week. On Tuesday, I also learned some exciting news. We will have another intern joining us this week. Because I’ve had success contacting and organizing volunteers, I will be training the new intern on call making and will be put in charge of volunteer management. I am very excited to meet and train the new intern, as well as find out what my new role entails!
On Wednesday, we returned to the Miami-Dade College North campus for the festival portion of Spring Into Sustainability. Various organizations were there tabling and entertainment was provided. There was a live band and a performance from the interpretive dance class on campus, as well as short speeches from the organizers of the event and all of the organizations present. At this event, we collected around 20 signatures, which is a big number for a small organization. For local organizations like Engage, each signature requires a detailed explanation of the work we do, what our meetings entail, how often we will contact those who sign up, etc. Larger organizations like Planned Parenthood have immediate name recognition, making it far easier to collect signatures. Beyond the sign-up of volunteers, I was very impressed with the event. It was entirely student-organized, which is a perfect demonstration of Engage Miami’s philosophy: that young people, when given a proper platform, can create change.
This Thursday, I did not go into the Planned Parenthood offices due to the fact that my supervisor was in Tallahassee lobbying law makers. I did, however, collect my first story for the Planned Parenthood Story Bank. It was from a woman named Peggy who was born in the 1920s. The amount of change she has seen, from a time when even talking about the use of birth control was punishable by jail time, is incredible. But what struck me was how much has stayed the same, mostly the attitudes towards women’s healthcare that has to do with women’s sexuality. I plan to talk more with my supervisor about what details can be shared of Peggy’s story and hopefully have a blog post on its own examining her story and its implications in today’s political climate.
On Friday, I worked more on the bios of the Miami-Dade county commissioners. This project has been a little slow going, mostly because of the time it takes to consolidate information from the various places available. I would again encourage any reader to research their city council or county commissioner and give them a call. Everyone has things about their community they wish to change. Is there a road with too many potholes? Do you want recycling bins in public libraries? A stoplight at an intersection? Contact your local government! Real change happens swiftly at the local level.
Finally, a few weeks ago I mentioned working on a graphic for Harassment Intervention Training. The finished product is below. Its very different from my original draft, due to name changes, the addition of logos, and other factors. However, the structure remained the same, and I’d like to share it with you.
Have a good week!