Advancing the Common Good
through Community Service at Bowdoin College

Meaghan Kennedy '06

Meaghan Kennedy

Meaghan Kennedy '06

Major: Neuroscience
Minor: French
Hometown: Manchester, NH

Service Activities:

  • Portland Housing Authority Tutoring Program: Volunteer 2002-2006; Co-Leader 2003-2006
  • Alternative Spring Break Leader: Public Health in Gallup, New Mexico, 2005-2006
  • Public Interest Career Fund Summer Fellowship: Child Health Services intern, Summer 2004
  • Community Service Council, 2004-2006
  • Bowdoin Americorps Program: 2005-2006
  • Organized campus-wide School Supply Drive: Spring 2005
  • Tedford Shelter: Volunteer, Summer 2005
  • Child Health Services (Manchester, NH): Volunteer 2002-2006; full-time volunteer internship
  • January 2004
  • Common Good Day

How did you first get involved in service at Bowdoin?
I was always very involved in community service in high school and see it as a big part of who I am, so I knew I wanted to stay active in volunteering at Bowdoin. I had worked as a tutor for ESL students in high school and my proctor raved about how great the Portland Housing Authority tutoring program was, so I decided to give it a try during my freshman year. I quickly became hooked and started co-coordinating the program during my sophomore year. Once I got involved and saw how active Bowdoin students are in the community, I was inspired to do more!

What have you gained from your service experiences and working in the community?
If there’s anything I’ve learned through community service, it’s that I gain just as much – if not more – from the community members I work with as they gain from me. When I work at the PHA education center I am constantly amazed by how driven the students are to succeed despite their difficult pasts. I have been working at the center since my freshman year, so some of the students I began working with as freshmen in high school are now applying to colleges as seniors. Several have asked me to help them with their college essays, and as I read their stories of escaping the war and poverty of Ethopia, Sudan, and Somalia during their childhoods, I am continuously inspired to forget about whatever obstacles stand between me and my goals. Together, my service experiences have taught me about community, culture, support, challenges, and – in many ways – myself.

What does it mean to serve the common good?
I think serving the common good means doing what you can to make our world a better place. It means thinking of others, donating your time, and working towards a stronger community. No one person can change the world, but if everyone does their little part – whether it’s joining the Peace Corps or serving food in a homeless shelter once a month – it really can make a difference.

Story posted on February 14, 2006

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