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State Honoree

Kelcie Suda

Hawaii

Kelcie Suda, 13, of Kihei, Hawaii, an eighth-grader at St. Anthony Jr./Sr. High School in Wailuku, devoted much of her summer vacation last year to entertaining young homeless children at a local shelter. Kelcie, whose mom encouraged her to volunteer at the shelter, also made Easter baskets for the children at the shelter, and has raised money for cancer research through the Terry Fox Foundation. “My goal while working at the shelter was to make a difference in the children’s lives,” said Kelcie. Although she was nervous at first, Kelcie said the children there inspired her to keep coming back. She arranged art projects for them, made play dough, showed them movies, and engaged them in other fun activities. Most of the children were not very sociable in the beginning of the summer. “By the end, all of the children were coming up to me to talk, hold hands, and play,” said Kelcie. “They taught me to live life to the fullest and to always be thankful.” Kelcie plans to return to the shelter next summer. “It was a great learning experience,” she said.