Service Learning Hits Home for Otterbein’s Spiker

Posted Mar 31, 2020

Even during distance learning, Otterbein students are still impacting their communities through service learning. One student saw a need close to home.

Senior Winston Spiker is enrolled in Sociology 3100, a service-learning course taught by Melissa Gilbert, associate dean for experiential learning and community engagement. Students in the course were volunteering in the Westerville community and conducting case studies of non-profit organizations prior to Otterbein moving online to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“As students moved back to their communities, I challenged them to either volunteer online through a new database of opportunities we’re building, or to connect locally within their own hometown,” said Gilbert. “Basically, I want to challenge the students to reach out in their own communities, find out where the needs are, and begin the process of restoring hope.”

Spiker, a psychology major and offensive lineman for the Cardinals’ football team, chose to help out his mother, who is the head cook for Adamsville (Ohio) Elementary School.

Winston Spiker ’20

“We are providing weekly care packages of food for the students that go to Adamsville Elementary, which is where I went to elementary school,” Spiker said. “My mom and other volunteers wanted to help families who have to watch their children during the day because of the schools being shut down.”

So far, Spiker and his co-volunteers have put together 75 care packages in the two weeks they have been offering this service.

“Adamsville is a very tight-knit community of only 114 people, so when people are in need the town bands together and jumps in to help,” said Spiker. “The power of community during times like these is inspiring. I feel fortunate that Otterbein really instills those values in us even more.”