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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 17, 2009

Civic engagement enriches life lessons

By Kanya Gagarin

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Kanya Gagarin

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Through civil engagement in my community, I learn skills that can't be taught in textbooks, skills that I will carry with me throughout my life and help me make the world a better place.

During the slower life of the past, people knew their neighbors and took time developing relationships in their own communities. Today, life is faster with technology often preventing face-to-face interaction. Because many people are leading hectic lives, they also lack the time to become active in their communities.

It's important that we develop an ethic of obligation so that we recognize our responsibility to return goodness to the community. In this way, we develop a sense of caring for others, leadership skills, civic responsibility and career-related skills all of which lead to a better community for all.

Almost every Saturday I volunteer at Kuakini Hospital, where I visit patients who often do not have visitors, take them to their activities and provide them companionship.

Opportunities such as these help me to think about the broader issues and the solutions for my community's underlying problems.

Kanya Gagarin | Grade 11, Sacred Hearts Academy