Zachary Garafalo '09 Named Southern Vermont College Distinguished Young Alumnus

April 3, 2011

Southern Vermont College has named Zachary Garafalo ’09 of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., as the Distinguished Young Alumnus for 2011. The Distinguished Young Alumnus/a Award is presented to an SVC alumnus/a who has graduated within the last ten years, and who has received recognition as an emerging leader through professional and/or community achievement; who has achieved a position or distinction noteworthy for one so recently graduated; and who has served as an outstanding young role model for current and future SVC students. Garafalo was honored at the College’s Commencement in May.

Originally from Natick, Mass., Garafalo graduated from Southern Vermont College in December 2009 with a bachelor's degree in History and Politics. He immediately began work as YOUTH POWER! Coordinator for Families Together in New York State in Albany, where he mentors young people with social, emotional and behavioral challenges, helping them learn about their rights and responsibilities as citizens.

Garafalo oversees the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP), a federally funded program for young people with disabilities who are at risk of entering the juvenile justice system. As the state coordinator, he developed a training curriculum that has become the national model.

This past summer, Garafalo presented to a U.S. State Department delegation of young people from Belarus on youth leadership and civic engagement in America. In February, Garafalo led a delegation of his students to President Obama's National Youth Summit. Only 350 young people from across the country were selected to attend this event. The Summit focused on the President’s 2020 college completion initiative (SVC was the national collegiate kick-off site). He has also provided consulting services on youth leadership to government agencies, non-profits and community-based organizations in Massachusetts and New York.

Garafalo begins post-graduate studies in History and Political Science at the College of Saint Rose this fall but remains strongly connected to SVC, where he is an active participant on the Alumni Board, serving as its treasurer.

Garafalo was presented the Distinguished Alumni Award during SVC’s 84th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 7. He joined Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, Neuroscience, Oncology and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and Director of the Brain Tumor Stem Cell Laboratory, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who was this year’s Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient, and Marcus Samuelsson, chef, author and food activist,
who also received an honorary degree.

Garafalo will also attend Alumni Reunion festivities during the weekend of June 3 to 5. To join Garafalo and other SVC/SJC graduates during reunion weekend, alumni may register online at