Advancing the Common Good
through Community Service at Bowdoin College

Avery Forbes '08

Avery Forbes '08

Avery Forbes '08

Major: Art History/ Visual Arts
Hometown: Fairfield, CT

Service Activities

  • SmART Art Mentoring program - participant and leader 2005-2007
  • Community Service Council 2006-2007
  • Will participate in a spring service trip to Puerto Rico planned for 2008

How did you first get involved in service at Bowdoin?

At the start of my sophomore year I was at the Student Activities Fair and feeling totally overwhelmed. Just as I was about to make a run for the exit one of my friends reached over a table and grabbed me. She pointed to the sign for SmART and said, "I think you would really like this." So I signed up. I enjoyed SmART so much that I took over as Co-President that next semester and have never missed a mentoring session!

What have you gained from your service experience and working in the community?

I have learned so much from working with kids. It is one of the most satisfying things I do. They have taught me that it's not only about the finished product. It's about the process. It's okay to spend all day twisting pipe-cleaners into funny shapes without ever making anything, as long as you had a good time. And I have learned how to stay positive and encouraging without sounding fake. My first mentee called me out for saying that everything she did was "awesome". Ever since then, I have been working on ways to be encouraging while being sincere and honest at the same time.

What does it mean to serve the common good?

In talking with the principal of West Harpswell Elementary, he told us that a few of our mentees had particularly hard lives and always seemed sad and alone in their classes. After hearing that I made it my goal to keep everyone smiling throughout our mentoring sessions. Serving the common good means extending this effort out into the real world. I have found that smiling, even on the saddest day, can sometimes make your problems seem a little smaller. A random act of kindness can make such a difference in a person's day. Serving the common good means being the best person that you can be without worrying what everyone else around you is doing.

Story posted on November 28, 2007

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