Grizzlies recruit new player to spread literacy

Fresno Grizzlies honor nine-year-old Danay Ferguson, founder of Reading Heart, which distributes donated books to children in hospitals and underserved areas

By Fresno Grizzlies | March 2, 2016 3:31 PM ET

Nine-year-old Danay Ferguson was honored by the Fresno Grizzlies for founding Reading Heart, as the organization announced a partnership with the "Wild About Reading" program created by the Grizzlies, which will reach 100,000 students this school year. The program encourages students to pair a love of reading with Grizzlies Baseball, and to read more often. 

With the help of Grizzlies mascot Parker, Danay was signed to an honorary contract by the team, at the position "Designated Reader." Danay was presented with a special contract to sign to join the Grizzlies, and a personalized "Reading Heart 500k" Grizzlies jersey.

Danay Ferguson, who is Fresno County's youngest entrepreneur, founded Reading Heart when she was just seven years old. She and her organization collect used books to re-distribute to young students in underserved areas and kids in hospitals. Her generosity includes free books for kids in the Fresno Grizzlies' Wild About Reading program. 

On March 18, Reading Heart is aiming to collect 500,000 books in 24 hours in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest amount of donated books collected in one day. The current world record is 274,432. As a result, each elementary school student in Fresno County will receive a free book to read. 

Says Danay of Reading Heart: "I was actually thinking about people who were less fortunate and people in hospitals because they get bored. Our donations can help kids in hospitals and the less fortunate."

For more information, please visit ReadingHeart.org/donations. The organization accepts both used books and small monetary donations of any amount.

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ABOUT THE FRESNO GRIZZLIES

The 2015 National Champion Fresno Grizzlies, Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, are a member of the 16-team Pacific Coast League and are one of 30 teams in the world playing the highest level of Minor League Baseball. The 2015 season was one of historic proportions for the team and City of Fresno, as the Grizzlies secured their first-ever Pacific Coast League and Triple-A National Championships. Learn about 2016 ticket plans by calling the front office at 559.320.TIXS between the hours of 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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