Camarillo’s Youth of the Year tends garden, helps hospice and library

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© Acorn Newspapers
Samantha Pinsak © Acorn Newspapers

Camarillo teen Samantha Pinsak seems to personify the old saying, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”

The 17-year-old Rio Mesa High School senior juggles volunteer work and remains one of the top-ranked students in the Oxnard high school’s International Baccalaureate program.

For her volunteer work and good grades, Samantha was named the Camarillo Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Youth of the Year.

“She is a hardworking and dedicated young woman but never draws attention to herself,” said Lori Wrout, the IB coordinator at the high school. “She is a great example of what we want our youth to be: educated, dedicated and humble people.”

As a full IB student, Samantha is required to take extra classes, enroll in challenging courses, perform well on yearly tests, write a 4,000-word essay on a selected subject and volunteer at least 150 hours in the community.

Helping hospice

Samantha, 17, volunteers at Camarillo Hospice’s farmers market the first Saturday of every month. All proceeds from the market are donated to the hospice. Samantha works in the office, takes attendance of the vendors and organizes the general business end of the market.

“She is very thorough in her work, and we can always rely on her to be accurate,” said Ira Grooms, a fellow volunteer at the market. “I’m sure glad we got her.”

Samantha said she enjoys working at the market because all the volunteers are passionate about hospice and the people it serves.

“The money goes back to people who are sick or dying or for a family that is grieving, and the volunteers have a strong connection with that cause,” Samantha —

IB said. “I see a lot of kindness with people at the farmers market.”

A student’s haven

When Samantha isn’t at the farmers market, she spends part of her Saturdays at the Friends of the Camarillo Library, a nonprofit that sells donated books to help support the library financially.

Samantha said it’s important to her to help the library because it’s a valuable resource for students doing research and homework.

Samantha is one of the few volunteers with the Friends who isn’t a senior citizen, a situation she thoroughly enjoys.

“It’s like having your funny old grandpa with you,” Samantha said. “I just like the change of scenery and to talk to them about their opinion of things. It’s refreshing to be out of my school bubble of teenagers.”

Beautifying the campus

As part of her community service requirement for IB, Samantha adopted a 10-by-10-foot raised planter at Las Colinas

Middle School last summer. Anyone can adopt one of the planters on the campus to beautify the environment.

Samantha offered to buy her own flowers and design the planter, said Gail F. Wander, the volunteer Las Colinas campus beautification chair. Samantha tends to the garden every week.

“She’s dedicated, Lori Wrout committed and coordinator true to her word,”

Wander said. “I’ve never had to follow up with something she was going to do. She has added to the beautification committee and the physical and welcoming presence of the grounds.”

Samantha will accept her award with nine other community honorees at the Chamber’s annual

Top Ten banquet at Spanish Hills

Country Club on Fri., March 23.

Although dedicating more than

150 hours in community service has been a large workload in addition to her schoolwork, Samantha said, getting more involved with the Camarillo community has been priceless.

“I know more people now and see them places and say hi,”

Samantha said. “I am pretty busy and I do a lot, but it’s nice to know a lot of people notice the work I’m putting in. I feel good giving back because people are getting help because of my actions.”

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