Carley Frick, 18, of Albuquerque, N.M., a senior at Sandia High School, recruited fellow Key Club members to tutor homeless children at a local elementary school, then developed a books-on-tape program to help the children improve their reading comprehension skills. As president of her school's Key Club, Carley was looking for community service opportunities when she learned that the Albuquerque Public Schools district needed volunteers for an after-school program for homeless kids. Soon after, she and her club members trained to become tutors, and for the past two years, they have spent six hours a week reading, playing games and sharing meals with their young pupils.
During the tutoring sessions, Carley realized that "these children do not have access to books on a regular basis." So she conceived a project called "Carley's Reading Corner." She collected books and cassette tapes, sought permission from publishers, recorded the books with a tape player, and drew up comprehension questions for each book. She then taught the children how to use the tape recorder so they could follow along with books when she was not there to help them. She also designed activities to enable the kids to work on specific reading skills. "Creating programs to improve reading comprehension is a very important part of educating our youth and helping them prepare for their future endeavors in life," she said.