Miami Palmetto High School sophomore Tatum Rivera is a member of the Palmetto Bay Youth Community Council. She’s been on the council since it started three years ago.
“We do a lot of volunteering and fundraisers,” she says. “We just finished Relay for Life. Our theme was The Book of Mormon.”
Their Relay for Life booth at Coral Reef Park featured information about Kidney Cancer. The team won third place for their centerpiece.
“We also do Jonathan’s Day, a fundraiser for special needs,” she says. “We work with the parks department on it.”
The committee helps by volunteering and setting up the day for people with ‘Unique Abilities’ where they can play games and interact with other kids.
“We’ll also do fun events like Movie Night and family campouts.”
At Palmetto, Rivera is on the varsity swim team. She specializes in the breast stroke and this past season she qualified for the 100-breaststroke event for regionals.
For pre-season training, she swims with AquaKids at Westminster.
Water sports are an important part of her life. She’s passionate about sailing, wakeboarding, and surfing. In the summer, she sails at Coconut Grove or wakeboards at Amelia Earhart Park. She also loves to make YouTube videos about her adventures and to share with others all the great things Florida has to offer.
She also hopes to earn her lifeguard certification so she can work at the new aquatics center opening in South Miami-Dade.
“I got my CPR certification a few years ago for Girl Scouts,” she says. “I use it for my babysitting service.”
Rivera has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten. Now, she’s working on her Gold Project, which is equivalent to a Boy Scout’s Eagle project. She intends to start her project this summer where she hopes to work with the Village of Palmetto Bay creating blessing boxes.
“They’re not hard to make,” she says. “They can be located around any neighborhood. It’s for people to store canned food and anyone who needs it can come and get it.”
Her plans still need to go through the approval process.
She’s also now a delegate to the Girl Scout Council of Tropical Florida.
“I just went to my first meeting,” she says. “We are talking about new things we can do for Girl Scouts and how we can improve.”
As the girls get older, time constraints make it difficult to commit the time for camp outs and volunteering. In Kindergarten, troops have plenty of girls but by high school, many troops have ten or fewer.
She is also learning sign language at school. She takes sign language to fulfill her language requirement and plans to continue through her senior year. She first became interested in sign language after participating in an ASL club at her elementary school.
“It is fun for me to speak sign language,” she says. “It is a great way of talking to someone. I start to notice more things when I’m walking around. It’s cool when I’m able to communicate with deaf people.”
In ninth grade, Rivera was in Palmetto’s iPrep program but she’s now in the Capstone/FIA (Forensic Investigative Academy) program because she’s interested in the investigations aspect.
“I’ve looked into working for the FBI,” she says. “I also liked to do puzzles when I was younger. It’s like a pattern for me.”
She also excels in math, “Math comes easier for me because I see it like a pattern or puzzle to solve.”
Next year she’ll be a member of the Health Information Project and will go to freshman classes to teach health topics.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld