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New York Yankees spend the day hanging (and reading) with Harlem kids for Hope Week

The New York Yankees had a busy week ... and not just on the practice field!
/ Source: TODAY

The New York Yankees had a busy week ... and not just on the practice field!

Team members traded bats for books at their 8th annual Hope Week, which lets the Yanks get involved in serving the local community, this time with Barbershop Books, a program centered on promoting literacy among young men of color. The founder wanted to create a space for kids to feel comfortable and read at the same time ... and did just that in a small barbershop in the middle of Harlem!

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It was pretty much a dream come true for the boys, who got to spend the day hanging out with the Yankees (and reading, of course) before attending an evening game as guests of honor. And the Yankees were just as thrilled to be there.

"I grew up where your neighbors were two feet to the left, two feet to the right," said pitcher Dellin Betances. "I had great parents to lead me to stay outta trouble ... and they preached education to us."

First baseman Mark Teixeira said: "I think a lot of people just look at it as athletes, but really the impact that we can have on the community and the positive impact that we have on children's lives, especially, is very important."

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The team's involvement was able to shine a spotlight on both the program and the cause. "For them to come in here and use their stage for something as small as this, but as big as this, it's just an amazing thing," said Denny Mitchell, the barbershop owner.

Forget the World Series — that's what we call a big win!