Our first community spotlight is Arina Zhirkova: 18 years old and a resident of Sunny Isles Beach for the past 9 years. She is an active member of our community who launched a weekly beach cleanup program and spreads awareness to prevent beach pollution.
What part of our community are you most passionate about and why?
“I founded Sunny Isles Beach Cleanup in August 2020. I was 16 years old at that time. My aim was to get large groups of people together to clean our beach. I have had around 20 to 30 volunteers each week. It’s been going really well. I’m very passionate about helping people and our marine life.”
What type of impact do you hope to have on our community?
“I hope to make my impact on our community by making our beaches cleaner and making others aware of pollution issues. When I first started, I filled two to three large bags of trash. It was a serious problem. Now, because of the impact our group has made, we only clean up one to two bags. Our city is beautiful because of our beach, and we must do our best to protect it.”
What’s something you want to accomplish in the next 5-10 years?
“Something I want to accomplish in the next five to ten years would definitely be a cleaner environment. I would like to go out to the beach and look around without seeing so much trash. Every piece you pick up matters. If one person picks up a piece of trash, it creates a big movement together.”
Why should someone get involved in your group?
“People should get involved because it’s better for the environment. Not only are the cleanups great for the earth and community service hours, it’s also a really fun social event where people can learn a lot. When others walk on the beach and start picking up the trash, they start thinking to themselves, ‘Oh wow, we didn’t notice this trash.’ or ‘What else can we do to help? How often can we come out here?’
So, the answer’s simple. I host beach cleanups every Sunday. If you’d like to learn more about the cleanups, please follow @sunny_isles_beach_cleanup on Instagram.”