Makai Reese Chosen as Runner-up - Samantha Dembowski named local Youth of the Year 2020 

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Samantha Dembowski named local Youth of the Year 2020 

Makai Reese Chosen as Runner-up



Samantha Dembowski, a senior at Ewing HS, is a seriously busy and determined young woman. In addition to having been a BGC Club member, Samantha worked at BGC summer camp and in the BGC after school program at Spruce Street Clubhouse, where she introduced a regular dance program. She’s a great team member and contributes individually one-on-one with the children in a caring way. She’s a bright and hard-working student who gets good grades and loves to teach. Her personal mentor, Christina Jones, Sr. Program Director at Spruce Street Clubhouse, remarks “Sam is that ray of sunshine with the kids – particularly when dancing. She turns on the positive energy in any room she enters.”

Besides her work, she has volunteered in the community as a Capital Health Volunteer, Special Olympics volunteer, with the Ewing Police Youth Academy, and at the Ewing Library. At home, she supports her Grandmother, particularly in her early High School years, when her Grandfather was very sick, and now after her Grandfather has passed away. 

She plans on attending Mercer County Community College this fall and is interested in Occupational Therapy for children.  Through her community service work and HS vocational experience at Mercer County Special Services, she saw first-hand the needs of children with disabilities and their parents. Samantha’s motto is quite fitting for her determined and energetic personality “When challenges come, don’t jump, go through, because at the end you learn from what you went through.” We couldn’t be prouder to be represented by Samantha in the BGC NJ Youth of the Year state competition. At state competition, she has the chance to earn a $20K scholarship to compliment her $2000 BGC scholarship and go on to nationals.

Wherever she goes, Samantha's a winner to us!




The judges also choose Makai Reese of Lawrence High School as the runner-up for Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County Youth of the Year. This comes with a $500 scholarship.

Makai's humor and extroverted nature immediately comes out when you meet him. He’s terrific in front of an audience too.  He’s articulate and immediately likeable. He plans on attending college this fall in engineering and earned a scholarship as a BGC representative to a summer global leadership trip to Africa "Kenya 2020 Experience." In his speech, he noted how BGC Mercer is a place full of opportunities for people. We know he’ll take all the opportunities offered to him and run with them!


More pictures from the event at

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