Zachary Reale ’18Pharm.D.
Hometown: Poughkeepsie, NY
Engaging Others in a Meaningful Way
How did you first become involved with service at St. John’s?
After I was accepted to the Catholic Scholars Program at St. John’s, it was my hope that the values and focus on service would help me deepen my faith. My first service experience was through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which offered service throughout the metro area. It taught me the value of the Vincentian Mission, and being at St. John’s, I took it to heart. That was the springboard for all of my service endeavors at the University.
Do you have a favorite service activity?
My favorite kind of service usually involves sharing a meal with someone in need. For example, instead of handing someone money on the street, I’ll offer to take them to the nearest restaurant, usually a McDonald’s or Dunkin Donuts. Spending time with people you’ve never met can be interesting. It gives me an excuse to eat my favorite junk food, and I get to have a real conversation about life with someone who doesn’t have many people to talk with. It allows me to engage with someone in a meaningful way.
Which service activities have had a particularly strong impact on you?
One of my most memorable experiences was during my freshman year. It was right after Hurricane Sandy, and I was serving with Campus Ministry in the Rockaway section of Queens. That area is a waterfront community that was really hit hard by the storm. Our job was to sort through clothes that were salvaged and donated to the local residents who’d lost everything. It was such an eye-opener—I’d never imagined a level of destruction like that. But I also witnessed a large number of people coming together to support each other in so many ways.