“Second Harvest Food Bank is an instrumental connection to the community,” says Maria Spitale, Director, Leadership and Organizational Behavior at Full Sail University.
While students at Full Sail are pursuing entertainment industry degree programs, Maria believes it is important for students to step outside the classroom and engage in the greater community. Each month she teaches a course on community leadership and incorporates service learning into the syllabus.
Each month 30 – 50 students of Maria’s students take part in volunteer activities at Second Harvest, including sorting dry goods, meats and produce. In 2017, her students logged 800 volunteer hours at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, but they gained so much more.
“I bring students to the food bank to learn the value of being involved in their immediate community, to understand that they can influence others and to experience the world around them,” says Maria. In their reflections afterwards students write about the positive influence that comes from interacting with other volunteers at the food bank, about their motivations to contribute to their community and about eye-opening, a-ha moments when they understand the reality that faces many families in Central Florida.
In addition to volunteering at the food bank, Full Sail University conducted a food drive in December. The virtual food drive was a way for Full Sail employees to take a simple and powerful action to help Central Floridians in need. Together the team donated $3,600 to help feed hope for the holidays.