Quin Doyle ’26, a Gould ninth grader from Bethel, rarely misses an opportunity to travel to Lewiston on the weekends.
“It’s an opportunity to really help people. [The need is] right in front of you, so you have to acknowledge it, and I feel compelled to do it.” Quin is emphatic. “Working with the refugees in Lewiston has really made me feel more confident in my life. I now know how I can actually go out and do something to help.”
The students and Adam have been so successful in connecting with the refugee communities that they now have more families requesting services than they have students to volunteer. It’s one of the reasons Adam stands up in the all-school assembly every week to make the request.
Earlier this school year, Adam took to the stage in Bingham Auditorium to try and impress upon students why he does this work and why it’s worthy of their time. He spoke passionately about the founders of MEIRS, Jama Mohamed and Rilwan Osman, and what he says it takes to be a hero.
“I want to talk to you today about endeavors that I consider to be heroic and those people I consider to be heroes among us,” explained Adam. “When a person sticks with something, and doesn’t care if they get any credit for it, when a person stands up for their community despite the backlash they are sure to receive, despite the angry words that may come from their neighbors, that’s a real hero. I want to invite each and every one of you to find your own heroes, as a life lived with purpose is perhaps a first step to finding balance and fulfillment.”
It wasn’t his intention, but Adam was describing himself to the students in the seats of Bingham, and the description wasn’t lost on the students who travel with him each week.
Mark Brown struggled at first to find adequate words to describe his mentor.
“Mr. Leff is an inspiration for all students. What he does for the community is simply unmatched. He does it every weekend. If it wasn't for him, many students, including myself, would have never done this. It’s incredible what he has done for [the refugee population] and how much he has helped us at the same time.”
Adam deflects the adulation and insists that this work is transformative for students and allows them to flourish and live lives of purpose. It is central to the Gould experience.
“I live in an absolutely wonderful community. When there is a strong service program at a school, the community thrives. There’s engagement from all parts of our community, and we’re better for it. We have a much more vibrant community that takes care of one another, that looks after one another, that supports one another, that communicates and listens to one another closely. That’s a world that I like to be part of.”