Eamon Bencivengo, a 12-year member of the Boys & Girls Club of Hawthorne, New Jersey, has been named the Youth of the Year for the State of New Jersey by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). Eamon will receive $20,000 from Wal-Mart, a $1,000 scholarship from the Reader’s Digest Foundation, plus a chance to compete in the regional competition held in July in New York City. If named regional winner, Eamon will be awarded a $10,000 college scholarship and advance to the national competition in Washington. The National Youth of the Year receives an additional $15,000 college scholarship and will be installed by President George W. Bush during a ceremony in the Oval Office.
The Youth of the Year programs recognizes outstanding contributions of Club members between the ages of 14-18 years of age to their family, school, community, Boys & Girls Club, and for overcoming personal challenges and obstacles.
“Wal-Mart is proud to sponsor this year’s Youth of the Year program,” says Steven Restivo, director of corporate affairs for Wal-Mart’s northeast region. “The Boys and Girls Clubs in New Jersey have been instrumental in youth development throughout the state. Their dedication and the hard work of exceptional teens like Eamon are consistent with Wal-Mart’s commitment to building a strong community.”
“The Reader’s Digest Foundation has been the proud sponsor of the Youth of the Year program since 1947,” said Susan Fraysse Russ, executive director, Reader’s Digest Foundation. “We salute all the Youth of the Year nominees and their dedication to their Club, community and their ongoing success.”
Members of Boys & Girls Clubs throughout New Jersey competed for the honor, but it was Eamon Bencivengo who walked away with the title. He describes his experience in the Boys & Girls Club as follows: “Without the Club I would not be the person I am today. Through the activities that I have been involved in at the Club, I have learned valuable life lessons. Hands down, it is the Positive Place for Kids.”
As a Keystone Club member, small group leadership development clubs for ages 14-18, Eamon, 17, assists with organizing the annual toy drive, wrapping and distributing gifts for underprivileged children and participates in the Boys & Girls Club National Day for Kids and club dances. At Hawthorne High School, he served as president in both his sophomore and senior years. A member of the National Honor Society, Eamon had the opportunity to attend the American Legion Boys State, where he joined with 900 students from throughout New Jersey at Rider University for a week of instructional seminars on political issues, government structures, election process and career paths. During the summer months he is employed by the Club as a camp counselor and recently qualified as a certified baseball coach for the Borough of Hawthorne after an extensive coaching class. He has been a member of S.H.A.R.E. (Students of Hawthorne Acting Responsibly and Effectively) and a member of the soccer, baseball and golf teams.
Eamon will attend Stonehill College located in Easton, MA and plans to major in history.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of New Jersey
Boys & Girls Clubs of America annually serves over 4.6 million young people, primarily from disadvantaged circumstances. In New Jersey, there are 25 Boys & Girls Club organizations serving more than 109,000 youth in over 60 locations. Known as “The Positive Place for Kids,” the Clubs provide guidance-oriented character development programs on a daily basis for children 6-18 years old, conducted by a full-time professional staff. Key Boys & Girls Club programs emphasize character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation.
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