Galveston County, TX - What started off as an idea from one of Galveston County's most talented students evolved into a youth driven, county-wide community service project on July 25. Carey Landon created a program called Book Buddies as a freshman at Friendswood High School. She applied for funding from http://www.dosomething.org/ in 2010 and was awarded seed money to kick off her project. The Book Buddies Program involves collecting used books, having volunteers record themselves reading the book onto mp3 players, and then packing the mp3 player with 20-30 books into a kit. The kits would then be donated to local libraries, head-start programs, and other children's programs. In a county-wide collaboration of high school students, this program grew by leaps and bounds when the United Way Galveston County Mainland Youth Advisory Board adopted the idea for their first project. Each member of the UWGCM Youth Advisory Board collected books from their communities through book drives. Sonya Hernandez, TCISD class of 2013, collected more than 14 boxes of books from her school through the various clubs, like Interact. This summer, students from Clear Springs High School, Friendswood High School, Santa Fe High School, Clear Brook High School, Clear Falls High School and Texas City High School took boxes of books home to record onto the MP3 Players. Carey Landon and Lily Vo, of Friendswood, packaged together the kits with instructions, charger cords and other maintenance equipment to ensure the kits would last for a good while. The kits, which include the mp3 player, 20-30 books, headphones and instructions, were donated to 3 Galveston County children's organizations to improve literacy and language skills of young readers. On Thursday, July 25, 2013, 3 members of the UWGCM Youth Advisory Board distributed 12 Book Buddies Kits on a bus provided by Connect Transit. Carey Landon (Friendswood HS), Lily Vo (Friendswood HS), and Ashley Ortamond (Santa Fe High School) visited 3 local children's programs along with Tracy Cotton, a teacher at CSHS, and Lindsey White, Assistant Executive Director at UWGCM. The first stop was the La Marque Public Library, where they met Telishia Long and Margaret Little. The next stop was at the Resource and Crisis Center, where we met with Samantha Coats and Shannon Samuelson. The last, but certainly not least, destination was the Children's Center Day School. During our visit, students teamed up with Advisory Board members to learn how the kits work. It was magical to see this project come to life in the hands of theses students who were so eager and happy to learn!