Before agreeing to any plans with her friends, Ridgefield High School junior Meredith Karle looks through her highly detailed planner to find some white space. Karle is the founder of Turning Pages, a non-profit organization that distributes books to area low-income schools and libraries. Her foundation, as well as other philanthropic endeavors and extracurriculars, drive her to be organized, follow self-imposed deadlines, and leave her with little free time. But, she makes the busy schedule work. \u201cBeing accountable to myself is something I\u2019m always working on,\u201d she said. Over the last two years, she has completed 400 hours of community service \u2013\u2013 growing Turning Pages, participating in shoe drives, and tie-dyeing pillowcases for children with long-term illnesses \u2013\u2013\u00a0an accomplishment that helped her win the Congressional Award, given to young Americans by the United States Congress. She became active in community service five years ago when she co-founded Turning Pages with her cousin, Madeline Fouts, in Rye, N.Y. \u201cWe wanted to share our love of reading with the world and the local community,\u201d Karle said. \u201cI had read somewhere that the single biggest predictor of academic success is the presence of books in the home.\u201d Karle and Fouts began by reaching out to their Rye community and redistributing used books. Three years ago, Karle moved to Ridgefield and started a Turning Pages club at her new high school. Turning Pages here has 20 active members, who have been responsible for redistributing 20,000 books that they store in their homes and deliver to organizations in need. The foundation has provided book collections to Danbury Family Children\u2019s Aid Center, Fort Lee Education Center (New Jersey), Lawrenceville School Camp (New Jersey), and the Carver Center in Port Chester, N.Y. Members also helped replenish books in a Long Island classroom after Hurricane Sandy. \u201cMost teachers spend their own money to fill their classrooms,\u201d Karle said. \u201cAnd all of it was destroyed, so we helped.\u201d Local partners Turning Pages has partnered with Ridgebury Elementary School, where members \u00a0read to kindergarteners and first graders once a month. Karle\u2019s family helps support what she loves. They help her solicit books, and even her mom\u2019s friends bring some by from time to time. The teen said the organization\u2019s mission keeps growing. In addition to filling school and camp libraries, Turning Pages focuses on fundraising and global outreach. \u201cWhen I was younger, I was focused more locally,\u201d she said. \u201cAs I got older, and became more aware, I reached out to our global community.\u201d Sponsorships The foundation has raised more than $2,000 for two children they sponsor living in Nepal and Sierra Leone. \u201cMaking an impact there has shown me that these children \u2014 before they can even think about learning and education \u2014 need clean water, food, even a classroom to learn in,\u201d Karle said. She imagines a future in the nonprofit world and plans to major in business, although she doesn\u2019t know where yet. Beyond college, she wants a job that will allow her to have a tangible effect on the betterment of her local and global community. \u201cI really like being able to see the impact that I am making,\u201d she said. \u201cWe receive letters from the children that we sponsor, seeing that we\u2019re helping real people has been something very important.\u201d To get involved, give away books, or donate to Turning Pages, contact Meredith Karle: firstname.lastname@example.org.