The Fresno Grizzlies have recruited a new player to help them spread literacy in the community. Parker and his mascot pal, Eddie, helped surprise their new partner, Danay Ferguson, at an assembly at Forkner Elementary School.

Grizzlies mascot, Parker, got students at Forkner fired up about reading at an assembly early Tuesday morning. The Grizzlies organization has been reaching out to kids with their reading program, Wild About Reading, for more than a decade. Students who read 10 books in five weeks get a free ticket to a Grizzlies game.

“We use baseball as a platform to be active and an esteemed member of the community,” said Whitney Campbell, the Community Fund Director for the Fresno Grizzlies.

This season they have help from a special 9 year old, Danay Ferguson, Fresno County’s young entrepreneur and the founder of Reading heart.

“She will report for assignment as the designated reader for the Fresno Grizzlies,” announced Campbell during the assembly.

“I thought the surprise was really cool,” said Ferguson about the announcement.

The young entrepreneur’s vision started when she was only 7 years old, asking her father to help her open her own book store.

“What I like about reading is that you get to use your imagination in a book,” said Ferguson.

On March 18th, Ferguson will take on her biggest challenge yet: collecting half a million books in 24 hours. She’s hoping the community will step up to the challenge as well.

“What the people can do is that they can go to my website,, and every 5 dollars gets 4 brand new books, or on the day of the event they can donate any kind of book,” said Ferguson.

As part of her responsibilities as Designated Reader, Danay will throw out the first pitch at the Grizzlies home game on April 17th. She will also hand out free books during the game.

“Danay exemplifies a champion in our community and that’s why we thought it was perfect,” said Campbell.