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Inspiring Stories from Keys

The heart of our mission at VoyageMIA is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the Miami’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool.  Check out inspiring stories from Keys below.

Aaron Dabee

I was born and raised in Mandeville, Jamaica, a small quiet town on the southern side of the island. In high school I was always interested in gaming and being a gaming YouTuber, however, I needed to learn how to edit so I could make these videos, this is where I realized learned and started to love the technicality of creating content. As I grew up, I also grew out of wanting to be a gamer, but I still enjoyed the video editing process. With this passion for editing, I used YouTube to learn and increase my knowledge. Read more>>

Evan Wexler

I’ve always enjoyed photography and have always had a camera of some sort, but getting an iPhone in the late 00s threw my love of photography into overdrive. Having a very accessible camera made me actively practice photography. Made the jump to a DSLR in 2016 and a Full Frame Mirrorless Camera in 2019. The only obstacle has been the steep learning curve that photography has- and finding time for my hobby. Read more>>

Valerie Perreault

I grew up in a blue-collar family on a military base in Chicago (my dad is a career Navy Veteran). After high school, I moved to Dallas, Texas, and attended the Art Institute of Dallas. I knew I wanted to be in the arts but was still unsure about what field I wanted to be in. I majored in film and even had several of my short student 8mm films shown in some international film festivals. After graduating I moved to Austin and took a job as a video editor at the Texas Senate. It was dry but it paid the bills. In my free time, I wrote poetry, made short films, and started a side hustle making hand-carved linocut posters for the bands in my little downtown neighborhood. Read more>>

Jean Nafrere

Always hustler, always moved with a purpose & good intention. Immigrated from Haiti to the u.s. with my family when I was two years old, growing up you learned how to work with less and make it stretch. Since I was a kid I always had an eye for the nice things, ungrateful at the time not realizing how hard it was to get it or get by for that matter, which was what my parents worked extremely hard to do. Dad used to work 2 full time jobs and remember mom used to walk after work to pick us up at school just to catch the bus home downtown. It went from selling candy out my locker in middle school to fixing and reselling electronics and using that money to buy new kicks whenever I had enough. Read more>>

Jeanne Selander

I adopted my first dog, Diego, from the Florida Keys SPCA in 2013. I wanted to do something to raise awareness about adopting senior dogs, so I began adopting older dogs and then started getting calls to take the hospice cases that had been diagnosed with chronic medical conditions. I decided to give them their best last days. It’s never easy adopting the seniors. Some of them have chronic health conditions with only a short time left to live. Losing them is the hardest part, but knowing I gave them their best last days is the greatest feeling. Read more>>

Douglas Mader

I’ve always loved animals. I was born in the Florida Keys and grew up exploring the Mangrove swamps with my older brother. I knew at a very young age that animals would always be a part of my life. Uncle Sam sent my father to Viet Nam and our family followed him to his military station in Hawaii while he was away. We stayed there even after my father retired from the service. Hawaii was a mecca if you liked exotic birds. But, there was a dearth of herpetofauna. There were a few species of native lizards and amphibians. There were no endemic turtles (except for sea turtles) and only one species of snake – the Hawaiian Blind Snake. Read more>>

Nicole Navarro

Growing up on a thirty-acre horse farm in Western Pennsylvania, I learned to appreciate and respect animals, both wild and domestic from a very early age. My surroundings and environment nurtured that love and I was encouraged to explore the woods surrounding the farm and local parks. Although life sent me in a different direction, away from animals, for years, it all came full circle when I found the opportunity to volunteer at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm in Key West, Florida in 2017. It is there that I met two foxes, Lana and Rocky, that would effectively change my perspective and purpose in life. Read more>>

Jeanne Selander

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm was started by accident in 1994. Ducks were crossing the road between the golf course and the jail and were getting hit by cars. A deputy suggested that we have inmates round them up and put them in an unused area beneath the jail, to be cared for by the landscaper. The rumors then started that we were taking in animals, so people started dropping things off, and the farm began. Read more>>

Liz Huddleston

I am born and raised in the Florida Keys. After High School I decided to follow my passion for fashion across the globe. I earned a degree from London College of Fashion and gained a lot of experience in the fashion industry working in advertising, production, merchandising and design. I met my graphic designer husband Sam in London. When the economy tanked in 2008, we decided to come back to my hometown for a ‘temporary’ stay while we made plans. Temporary turned into permanent and we opened Miss Monroe in 2012. Since then we’ve bought a house, rescued 2 cats and welcomed 2 children. Read more>>

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