Rebecca Schindelar

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Waynesburg University

Heinz Programming Area:
Children, Youth, and Families
International Experience Summary:

Rebecca Schindelar spent four weeks in Brasov, Romania volunteering at an orphanage through the organization, Projects Abroad. During her time there, she assisted with caring for the children’s basic needs through diapering, feeding, and cleaning them. She also led activities to increase the stimulation, development, and socialization for children aged 6 months-17 years, as the children she worked with all experienced mental and/or physical disabilities. Throughout her experience in Romania, Becca took advantage of the countryside and toured other cities in the surrounding area to learn more about the culture, history, and religion of the country. She hiked up a 962 meter mountain to view the city, ate a variety of unique wild game, attended an Eastern Orthodox Church service, travelled to Peles Castle, visited the historical city of Sibiu, and ventured to try many other unique experiences. A Romanian family opened up their house for her to stay in during her time in the country, and she was able to exchange language with them and learn more about their culture, especially through conversation and cuisine. She spent an extensive amount of time studying Romania’s adoption policies through her coursework with Seattle Central Community College, and applied her learning to her service with orphans and to her future career as a social worker. This enabled her to develop an in-depth understanding of the policies and circumstances surrounding the welfare and orphanage system in place in Romania. This experience has been a defining peak in her pursuit to understand the needs of humanity and search for ways to love those who understand life through a different world view than her. Through her conversations and interactions with the people of Romania, Becca truly immersed herself in the culture and learned that there were an incredible amount of similarities in the needs of people abroad and domestically that surfaced when she took the time to engage with them.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Hidden World of Human Trafficking

“Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Hidden World of Human Trafficking,” was an event that was held on the campus of Waynesburg University to raise awareness about the atrocities of human trafficking that impact the world. This global issue was explored through a three-part interactive and informational exhibit. Those in attendance were able to start the experience by receiving a biography of an individual who had been trafficked and survived, and then relating their story to the general facts and information about how trafficking occurs across the world. Participants were first introduced to the basics of the trade and methods of human trafficking, and were then allowed to participate in interactive displays so that they could better relate to the painful realities of the daily experiences of individuals enslaved by other human beings. Those experiencing the walk-through simulation were even given the opportunity to take a test to evaluate how their consumption patterns and daily lifestyle choices support the trade of human trafficking. In the final step of the simulation, individuals were enabled to connect the factual information that they were learning, with individuals and organizations who have dedicated their lives to ending this terrible trade. This event was well attended by around 80 students and community members. Those who participated in the simulation were enlightened with a broader awareness of this issue that plagues a multitude of individuals across the nation and the globe. Through providing facts about the local issues with human trafficking and the impact that it has upon community members, the participants were able to relate and aspire to maintain future vigilance. Those in attendance reported that this simulation opened their eyes to a whole new world of existence in the case of many peoples’ lives, and that they had no idea of the torturous living that these individuals were forced to endure by other humans. Surveys were completed at the conclusion of each individual’s journey through the simulation, and through these surveys, the Waynesburg University cohort was able to track the learning and progress of the participants. Individuals who walked through the exhibit learned that although women are the primary victims of the sex trade, men and women alike fall victim to human trafficking in the form of forced labor. Those persons, who took the time to partake in this Community Engagement Experience, were challenged to use their knowledge to learn the warning signs that may alert them to trafficking going on in their community, as well as methods of living actively towards ending the trade.