Fred Christensen, M.D.

Navajo Volunteer Literary Program, Navajo Elementary School, Scottsdale

Judith Kunkel, Nominator

Fred started off thinking he’d tutor a few kids in math when he retired as a neurosurgeon, but ended up creating a volunteer tutoring army of 75 expert volunteers, many who are clinical psychologists, nurses, educators and speech therapists.

This group has helped more than 300 first and second graders at Navajo Elementary School in the Scottsdale Unified School District learn how to read.

He is responsible for developing the reading program, recruiting and training volunteers, administering, scheduling and fundraising duties, and with all this he still continues to tutor. Many of his volunteers are clinical psychologists, nurses, educators and speech therapists.

“You can get to your 70s and say I’m not a has-been. I have something to contribute like teaching a child to read and I think it’s the most rewarding volunteer work there is.”