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Howard giving a big piece to the community

This was one night that Ryan Howard could forget about a frustrating season and just think of giving back to the community.

That is exactly what the Phillies first baseman did during the Stand Up For Literacy fund raiser that he and his wife Krystle hosted at the Franklin Institute.

Last year this event raised more than $200,00 and they were hoping to top that total this time.

"Every little bit helps and we're trying to raise money to help others," Ryan Howard said.

Krystle Howard has always enjoyed a passion for education and was a second grade teacher. Ryan, who was selected by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2001 draft from Southwest Missouri State, also always has placed a high emphasis on education.

"Education has always been first and foremost in my family and with Krystle being a teacher, it is the biggest thing," Howard said. "Kids won't get to the next level without being educated."

One of the beneficiaries of the foundation was the Vare-Washington Elementary School of the Philadelphia School district. Students were challenged to read 20 minutes a day, seven days a week. The youngsters exceeded the challenge and received a $75,000 academic grant that delivered a baseball-themed reading room with items such as books, desktop computers and i-pads.

For more information on the foundation go to (

Howard is hitting . .215 with 16 homers, 61 RBIs and a .663 OPS. He was 1-for-25 in the most recent road trip and has taken his share of criticism from the fans.

He should also be lauded for his long list of charitable deeds. It's the side of athletes that isn't always seen. On this one off-night from baseball the Howards were truly engaged in their charity work and they want to spread the word on the importance of reading.

One saying on the foundation's website says it all – "Today a reader. Tomorrow a leader."