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This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
When 20-somethings travel to Florida in March, spring break parties are often involved. But for best friends and Class of 2006 alumni David Sutton and Bobby Goldstein, an annual trip to Boynton Beach is a special time to contribute to the community.
For three years running, Sutton and Goldstein have joined a Bentley contingent that volunteers for a week with Habitat for Humanity. They got involved with the nonprofit program, which builds affordable homes for low-income families, during their senior year.
“Around that time, I had started to question some pretty big-picture things, like what to do after school and what really mattered,” explains Sutton. “Habitat presented a way to put that energy toward a project beyond myself.”
After that initial trip, the pair stayed in touch with Habitat project coordinator Lynne Johanson of the Bentley Service–Learning Center. She welcomed their offer to continue working with the program as alumni. Their responsibilities on the Bentley crew of students, faculty and staff run the gamut from roofing and dry walling to serving as chaperones for the student volunteers.
On a personal level, the Habitat commitment became the mortar of friendship. It was just after the first volunteer trip to Florida that “we decided to jump in a truck and move to California,” reports Sutton.
Goldstein, who studied Finance and International Studies at Bentley, is pursuing an acting career under the name Bobby Gold. His credits include episodes of the television series 90210 as well as several movies. Sutton employs his major – Information Design and Corporate Communication – as a writer in the advertising field. In August, he relocated to Brooklyn, New York.
“The greatest feeling is when we meet the families who will be moving into the homes,” says Goldstein, noting that prospective residents pursue a lengthy application process that includes 300 hours of volunteering. “It truly makes you realize that you’re not just building a wall.”
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.