October 28, 2013
Dedicating their time and talents to improve a local public
school, 42 volunteers from St. John’s University’s College
of Pharmacy and Health Sciences participated in the 19th Annual
New York Cares Day Fall, on Saturday, October 19.
The group—which included undergraduates, graduate students,
faculty, and administrators from the College—painted murals, stairs
and lockers; organized closets; and potted plants at PS 282-KAPPA
VI in Far Rockaway, Queens.
“We are particularly proud of our volunteers and how they are
living the mission of St. John’s University with their
participation in this program,” said Russell DiGate, Ph.D.,
dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “To be able to
give back to the community and make a real difference is a
New York Cares was
founded by a group of friends who wanted to take action against
serious social issues that faced New York City in the late 1980s.
New York Cares Day is the organization’s annual effort to
revitalize the city’s public schools.
Jacky Lu ‘15P, a toxicology major, hoped that his work would
help inspire others. “I heard about this volunteer opportunity
through the Toxicology club,” Lu said, while creating a poster for
the event. “I decided to participate because I wanted to give back
to the community and hopefully, give these kids something to aspire
Like many of the participants from the University, site
representatives from New York Cares expressed hope that PS 282
students would be inspired to continue this type of volunteer work
within their own school. “One of the goals of New York Cares is to
turn people who receive service into volunteers themselves,” said
Raymond Ampil, education programs associate and site captain for
New York Cares.
“We had a great time, but more importantly, we were able to help
the administrators at the school gain access to the supplies they
needed in the closet,” said Pulkit Khatri ‘15Ph.D. He and his
team of volunteers spent the day organizing a storage space that
had been in such disarray, it was barely accessible. “I would love
to do more activities like this,” he said.
Sawanee Khongsawatwaja, associate dean of administration and
fiscal affairs for the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences,
orchestrated the College’s involvement with New York Cares. She was
pleased with the day’s results. “I’ve worked with New York Cares in
the past and I knew this would be a great opportunity for our
students to get involved,” she said. “We had a fantastic turn out
and they all did a great job.”