Volunteer. Scholar. Giver.
Those three words aptly describe Wayne resident Amy Dondero. Dondero has been selected as the 2012 Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest New Jersey.
Dondero, 17, was selected from several candidates nominated by staff at the and Pequannock locations.
Dondero will advance to the state level of the New Jersey Youth of the Year competition. She will compete against 20 other teenagers from throughout the state for a $20,000 college scholarship.
Dondero first joined the club when she was in the first grade. She quickly became involved in the many athletic and character development programs including the Keystone Club, a community service group for teenagers. Members of the club tutor their peers and are active in raising funds for trips.
Dondero credits her family with setting an example of selflessly giving to others.
“I’ve tired to take a back seat to others. I’ve always been around people who have known nothing but serving others and helping out other people,” Dondero said. “And my parent have raised me to be a selfless person. They’ve always taught me to put others first, before yourself.”
Dondero is a senior at . A four-year member of the school’s high honors program, she was recently inducted into the World Language Honors Society. She played tennis, lacrosse, and was a member of the school’s ski racing team. She plans on majoring in health sciences in college.
Dondero’s sense of selflessness is evident in the way she participates in sports.
“During games, I’m always looking to make the team look better and make my teammates look better,” Dondero said, noting that she would rather lead her lacrosse team in assists rather than goals. “I don’t feel successful unless those around me are succeeding as well.”
Dondero said the Boys & Girls Club has played a pivotal role in her growth as a young woman and helped her develop her commitment to helping others.
“A lot of teenagers don’t have a place to go and talk to someone who will help them and really listen to them,” Dondero said. “Everyone is so open here. I don’t know what would’ve happened if wasn’t involved here. It is structured enjoyment. It’s such a positive place.”
Adrian Polanco, the club’s athletic director, spoke highly of Dondero.
“She is such an outstanding individual,” Polanco said.