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State Honoree

Ryley Berg

Minnesota

Ryley Berg, 14, of Woodbury, Minn., a ninth-grader at Lake Junior High School, organized a book collection that provided nearly 900 books to create libraries for two rural schools in the African nation of Tanzania. In 1997, Ryley and his family took a safari to one of the schools to meet pen pals and to deliver donated school supplies. When he arrived, Ryley found dirt floors, no chairs or desks, and no library, so he thought a book collection could help. He approached his Boy Scout troop and a school club for help in making collection boxes, promoting the project, and collecting and cataloging books. Ryley also received help from local businesses, which provided funds to help purchase packing materials and pay for shipping costs, and from an organization called “Friends of Tanzanian Schools,” which communicated with the schools and did the shipping. Ryley plans to stay in touch with the schools and continue to host collections to help provide other necessities the students may lack.