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Samantha Martinson of Brandywine, a junior at St. Mary’s Ryken High School, has been honored for her exemplary community service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award.

The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and the country, was granted by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of President Barack Obama.

“Giving back to society through service is something I believe in strongly,” said Samantha in a news release. “Growing up I was taught the importance of putting the needs of others before my own needs. Serving God, giving of myself, helps me to pursue a life of purpose and keeps me focused on things that really matter.”

Samantha is active in the youth group at Bethany Christian Church in Brandywine where she is a member of the bell choir and an accompanist on piano for services.

She has volunteered with the Prince George’s County’s “Warm Nights” program, helps prepare and serve meals for homeless people and helps with home cleaning and repairs.

She also works at the Universal Sports and Academics Inc., mentoring a group of kids who are 4 through 9 years old.

At St. Mary’s Ryken, she is a member of the National Honor Society and a percussionist with the concert band.

“When we feed the homeless and rebuild homes, we are creating a better community,” Samantha said in the release. “When you are involved hands-on, you become aware of social and economic problems that our communities face. The compassion you have on the inside comes to the surface, and you become a better citizen.”

“The recipients of these awards demonstrate that young people across America are making remarkable contributions to the health and vitality of their communities,” said John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial. “By recognizing these students and placing a spotlight on their volunteer activities, we hope to motivate others to consider how they can also contribute to their community.”