Name: Whitney Weadock ’16
Major: Early Childhood Education (4-5 endorsement / Psychology Concentration)
Hometown: Hilliard Ohio
Experience: Mission Trips to El Salvador and Nicaragua
“I chose to come to OWU because of the wonderful opportunities to travel. … Since freshmen year, I have gone on two international mission trips, received a Theory-to-Practice Grant to travel to Florida for a National Early Childhood Conference, and was given a Student Individualized Project grant to present at an Ohio Education Conference.
“Ohio Wesleyan has afforded me numerous travel opportunities that have enriched and ensured I am in a field I plan to spend my whole life.”
Mission Trip Lessons:
El Salvador (team member): “While I was in El Salvador my freshmen year, I was able to spend time with children in a different culture with a different background than those I have worked with in the United States.
“When we were in a small village, a family was giving us a tour. As we walked around, a small girl followed us around. I smiled at her numerous times, and then she came up and grabbed my hand. …
“As we walked through the community, Sara, this small child, held my hand and squeezed it so tight. … When we began walking through the community, I felt like an outsider peering into other people's lives.
“By the end, Sara made me feel like one of her friends who she wanted to play games with and laugh with, not alongside her community but within her family.”
Nicaragua (team leader): “After we got settled into our housing facility, we began to talk about excitements and worries. I realized I was most excited to get working and see my group grow and explore who they are in relation to the families of Project Chococente.
“The first day, I was so concerned with each member of the group finding a place and relaxing with the community. By day two, I spent a good amount of time working on sanding the desks and trying to get as much done as possible.
“Finally, on day three, I found the reason I was in Nicaragua. I was busy sanding the school desks when the school bell rang and two boys came out of their class. It was their lunch time and they came over and asked if they could help me sand their desks.
“The boys sat down next to me and began sanding away. After a few minutes of silence and some sideways glances, the boys began asking me question after question. They smiled and were so curious. After 15-20 minutes, they had to go to eat. All day they kept coming by and waving.
“The next day when I saw them in the morning, they came running over and gave me a big hug. Then they ran to school. I realized how much enjoyment I get from children and their joy.
“I have traveled to many different countries and states, and the one thing that is always different yet familiar are the people. I have never met two people who are the same nor have I met a person I did not want to get to know. People all have similar qualities yet such different stories to share.”