Two years ago, Jessica Galan, then a North Campus student, set a goal for herself. She wanted to form a club dedicated to educating the public about animals rights.
She soon founded Voice for the Voiceless with her psychology professor, Jessica AuBuchon. The organization, the first of its kind at Miami Dade College, concentrates on fostering “love and compassion for all animals,” according to the club’s North Campus Sharknet page.
“Their lives shouldn’t be perceived as any less, because they are impacted by those surrounding them,” said Djaina Dervil, the club’s current president. “Peoples actions heavily influence the mindset of their pets and even though violence, such as pit-bull fighting, they only want to serve and please their owners for it, instead of being beaten.”
Dervil, 18, is using the club’s influence to develop action plans to prevent further animal mistreatment, show why all animals deserve to be treated humanely and correct public misconceptions about the life experiences of animals.
Voice For The Voiceless regularly organizes hurricane disaster relief events to help animals that have been impacted by dangerous weather conditions.
After Hurricane Irma hit in 2017, the organization partnered with Third Wave Volunteers to fundraise. They collected food donations from students and PetSmart and shipped them to Puerto Rico and northern Florida.
After Hurricane Michael in 2018, the club formed a partnership with Austin Pets Alive, collecting funds to buy pet food on Amazon, which was then shipped to Texas.
AuBuchon and two other MDC professors, Valerie De Angelis and Jurist Willis-Taylor, have conducted research to determine the benefits of having pets in academic settings. Results from their investigation showed that pets help students with stress management.
Dervil plans to implement therapy animal programs at MDC to positively impact mood and stress for students, staff and faculty members.
“As president, I hope to expand the organization and make it well-known,” Dervil said. “I hope Voice For The Voiceless will continue to grow.”
The club has also remained vigilant of helping and educating the community about animals. Late last semester, they hosted a two-day event that featured film screenings, a guest appearance by marine biologist Garrett Stuart and a pop-up Market to raise awareness for veganism and animal extinction.
This semester the club hosted a screening of Lady and the Tramp on Valentine’s Day to collect blankets and small toys to donate to the Miami-Dade Animal Shelter.
Next month, the club plans to participate in a charity event, Walk For The Animals Miami, at Biscayne Park on March 2.
“Animals are life,” said AuBuchon, the club’s advisor. “As humans, it is our responsibility to bring awareness.”
For more information about Voice for the Voiceless, visit sharknet.mdc.edu/organization/voiceforthevoiceless