If you’ve ever wondered how much long-term impact a service learning trip makes on a student, let Zachary Crosser of Berkey, Ohio, tell you. It’s a lot. Possibly a life-long impact.
Zachary traveled to Guatemala with International Samaritan in 2008 when he was a high school student at St. John’s Jesuit. While on the trip, the delegation he was with worked with the nursery and elementary school kids in the morning and helped with manual labor in the afternoons. It was an all-around great experience, but what stood out to him most were the homes.
As part of the scheduled activities, the students were given tours of local homes. First they saw the cinderblock homes that International Samaritan helped build for residents of the dump. They were basic, but sturdy and safe. Then the saw the other homes, which were nothing more than shanties. “That was the first time I saw people living that way,” said Zachary. “I realized just how much privilege I had and in some ways it motivated me to continue to seek out those kinds of experiences and grow from them.”
Zachary followed his heart. In college he sought out immersion trips to Central America and studied abroad in the Philippines. He encourages other students that may have feelings about service work that linger not to brush them off. “It might actually be your life’s calling,” he said. “Try to foster it and let it grow. Figure out what you can do to pursue it.”
Now that Zachary has graduated from Boston College, he is embarking on his own career path, and service will be a part of it. He won a $11,900 Fulbright Scholarship to spend nine months in the Philippines doing socioeconomic work. It won’t stop there as he is already considering graduate school or further volunteer opportunities.
Regarding his future, Zachary said “I can’t say for sure, but this is the direction that my life is heading: working with severely poor populations and addressing social issues.” At 22, he inspires us all with his vision and compassion. We wish him the best as he continues to serve those in need.