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Community Engagement News

Apr 24, 2023. 5 min read

Community Engagement News April 24, 2023

UPHOLDING ‘SACREDNESS OF THE EARTH’

Volunteers Remove Invasive Plants from Public Beach Park on ‘Sustainability Saturday’

Sustainability Saturday
Sustainability Saturday

After learning that certain plants pose a potential threat to the environment, the volunteers set about uprooting the Mexican clover and centipede grass from sections of the Virginia Key property. – Photos by Gabriel Bouani

A small group of students and staff recently removed invasive plants from the public beach park at Virginia Key in Miami-Dade County. The “Sustainability Saturday” project ushered in Earth Week activities at Barry.

After learning that certain plants pose a potential threat to the environment, the volunteers set about uprooting the Mexican clover and centipede grass from sections of the property. Both plants are considered invasive because of their spreading growth patterns.

Luiz Serra Arenas, education coordinator for history and culture at the Virginia Key Beach Park, told the volunteers that the roots of the Mexican clover and centipede grass tend to grow extensively under the beach sand and kill the roots of native plants.

The Virginia Key Beach Park management has been paying close attention to the endangered beach jacquemontia. That plant is endemic to southeastern Florida, but much of its native habitat has been lost.

April 15 was Barry’s Sustainability Saturday—the academic year’s last major day of service coordinated by the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI). The community service project provided an avenue for volunteers to honor the Adrian Dominican commitment to upholding the “sacredness of the Earth.”

“While attendance at this year’s Sustainability Saturday event was small, the quality of service provided by our small group of students was high,” said Dr. Valerie Scott, the CCSI’s experiential learning coordinator. “Members of the staff at Virginia Key Beach Park were very thankful for our service.”

Dr. Scott added, “Feedback from the students was positive.” The students “felt that their service had an impact on our community,” she said.

The other major days of service for 2022–2023 were International Coastal Cleanup Day, September 17; Food Security Day, October 8; the Barry Founders’ Day of Service, November 5; and Barry’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, January 14.


CCSI Expresses Gratitude to Volunteers for Service to Community

CCSI Expresses Gratitude to Volunteers
CCSI Expresses Gratitude to Volunteers
CCSI Expresses Gratitude to Volunteers
CCSI Expresses Gratitude to Volunteers
CCSI Expresses Gratitude to Volunteers

Last week (April 16–23) was National Volunteer Week. On social media, the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI) expressed gratitude to volunteers for contributing their time, talents, and energy in service to the community. CCSI-based volunteers include Barry Service Corps Fellows Jocelyn Flores (left), Virginia Rivas (second from left), and Joseline Bucumi (right) as well as Barry Urban Garden Coordinator and AmeriCorps VISTA Member Mia Hunt.


Community Engagement Award Winners Recognized at Campus Event Include 24 Community Partners

Community Engagement Award Winners

Several community partners attended the event on March 29. Among them was Ms. Nadie Mondestin, executive director of the Haitian Youth and Community Center of Florida (HYCCF) and a current member of Barry's Community Engagement Awards Committee (pictured at right). HYCCF joined the list of award winners in the Community Partnership category in 2019 after being nominated by Dr. Pamela Hall, a psychology faculty member, who subsequently became a member of the Community Engagement Awards Committee (at left).

Over the years since 2014, the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI) has presented a community engagement award to 24 community partners.

They were among the winners of awards recognized on March 29 at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards, an event that featured presentations of projects completed by students and faculty.

The winners of awards in the Community Partnerships category include Feeding South Florida, Miami Edison Senior High School, and Mount Tabor (Missionary) Baptist Church—the inaugural winners in 2014—and Hubert O. Sibley K–8 Academy and South Florida People of Color—the most recent winners (in 2022).

Other winners include the League of Women Voters of Florida, Miami Children’s Initiative, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Partnership (2015); Church World Service, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers & Student/Farmworker Alliance, The Collaborative Family Law Group of Central Florida, and Special Olympics Florida (2016); Gang Alternative, Miami Beach Community Church, Urban GreenWorks, and William H. Turner Technical Arts High School (2017).

Completing the list are Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, MCCJ, and the Women’s Breast and Heart Initiative (2018); Haitian Youth and Community Center of Florida, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (2019); The New Florida Majority, PACT: People Acting for Community Together (2020); and Bread for the World (2021).


Looking Back at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards: A Pictorial Report—Part 2

Community Engagement Showcase & Awards
Looking Back at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards: A Pictorial Report
Looking Back at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards: A Pictorial Report
Looking Back at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards: A Pictorial Report
Looking Back at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards: A Pictorial Report
Looking Back at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards: A Pictorial Report
Looking Back at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards: A Pictorial Report
Looking Back at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards: A Pictorial Report
Looking Back at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards: A Pictorial Report
Looking Back at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards: A Pictorial Report
Looking Back at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards: A Pictorial Report
Looking Back at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards: A Pictorial Report
Looking Back at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards: A Pictorial Report
Looking Back at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards: A Pictorial Report

Volunteers Needed to Make Advocacy Calls in Support of Women’s Breast and Heart Health

The Women’s Breast & Heart Initiative (WBHI)
Volunteers Needed

The Women’s Breast & Heart Initiative (WBHI) is looking for volunteers to make advocacy calls in support of its work—helping to prevent and detect breast cancer and heart disease.

Volunteers will call selected legislators to seek support for an appropriation identified as “Education is the Key to Health Literacy.”

WBHI is “a nonprofit outreach organization piloting whole communities toward lifesaving, preventive self-care,” according to information at its . “With boots-on-the-ground education and screening initiatives, WBHI vigorously encourages and supports social responsibility, community organization and the good health of all.”

A Barry community partner, WBHI says that thousands of college and university student volunteers have joined its work through its “academic partnerships, which foster social responsibility and civic engagement and offer opportunities to see genuine change-making in action.”

Details of this volunteer opportunity are available via , the community engagement portal. For additional information, email bevy@flbreasthealth.com or call 786-378-2650.


Community Engagement News: Next Week

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT EDUCATOR AWARD: Since 2014, the Center for Community Service Initiatives has presented 13 staff and faculty members with an award in the Community Engagement Educator category. They were among the winners of awards in seven categories recognized recently at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards.

PICTORIAL REPORT: A pictorial report gives readers a final retrospective on the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards, which took place on March 29.



Community Engagement News is a publication of the Center for Community Service Initiatives.

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