A Fresno girl made national headlines last year when the nonprofit she started at age 8, Reading Heart, set a Guinness World Record for most books collected during a 24-hour book drive with 280,110 books.
On Wednesday, Danay Ferguson, now 9 years old, continued to collect books for her organization during #LiveLikeMolly week at Clovis Community College. The campus held various events each day this week — including a blood drive from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today — to encourage random acts of kindness to honor former student, Molly Griffin, who was killed by a drunk driver last year.
Danay and her family were on campus Wednesday afternoon to collect the barrels of books donated by students and staff. She was excited to be part of Molly Day, which was launched by the Griffin family last year on what would have been Molly’s 24th birthday.
“They made this day because of their daughter Molly, who died. They use this day to represent her,” Ferguson said. “Molly was a very kind person. She volunteered for many things and she was a nurse.”
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In her own way of paying it forward, Danay will take the donated books on a 160-school tour to reach 150,000 kids.
“We donate books to kids in hospitals and kids in underserved areas,” she said.
Since her nonprofit began in 2014, about 400,000 books have been collected.
“It makes me feel happy,” Danay said. “I’m going to give them to every elementary school student in Fresno County.”
Danay — or rather, a life-size hologram of her, built by her father, Dwayne — speaks at assemblies in local elementary schools about the power of reading, Dwayne Ferguson said. “Kids respond to kids differently. When they see this,” he said, motioning to Danay, who was sitting on a couch with her nose in a book, “it’s cool.”
A trailer has been donated to Reading Heart, Ferguson said, which Danay will turn into a mobile library able to hold 7,000 titles. She’ll travel from school to school, allowing students to walk through the trailer and select free books.
How to help
Visit www.readingheart.org to donate, volunteer or shop for T-shirts.