Today was a pretty crazy day. It started with me cutting my finger while making a cup of coffee [go figure]. Anyway, through the busyness of it all, my wife and I decided to swing through the drive thru at our local Starbucks. I needed the caffeine if I was going to make it through the lines at the store. We ordered our coffee and waited in line. When we finally got to the window, I was informed that the lady in the car in front of us wished us a "Merry Christmas" and she had paid for our order. How cool. I've heard of these things happening to other people, but honestly, not to me. It changed my entire outlook on the day. So to the lady in the blue 4-Runner, thanks for getting my focus off of me and on to others. I hope you'll serve someone this season. After all, a little over 2000 years ago, we were given the best gift ever!
This year, we had over 4,000 girls sign up from the Revolve Tour to do Hoops of Hope. The following video is a special Merry Christmas video from Austin for these 4,000 Revolve girls. Thank you to everyone who helped us make a small difference in the lives of these children in 2008. Our prayer is that you'll have an amazing Christmas.
Since the last video I posted was pretty serious, and some have blamed me for "making them cry", I thought I'd post a funny one this time. This was shot for our Hoops of Hope event in Arizona. Have a great weekend.
The following video is one of the coolest I think you'll ever see. Nicholas has several rare forms of cancer and each day is a gift. His dream is to be a rock-star. Well, for the rest, just watch the video. And if you've never had a chance to go to a Revolve Tour event, I'd recommend it highly.
This past Sunday, December 7th [Saturday in the US], the Western Academy of Beijing held their first Hoops of Hope event! The event was incredible as over 150 students participated. They even has some competition after the free-throw marathon. I've posted some photos here! Way to go Beijing - thank you for making a difference!
One of the first locations outside of Arizona to do Hoops of Hope was our Orange County, CA location. Our INCREDIBLE host and friend, Rachel Johnston has led this effort for 4 years and does an amazing job each time. In my opinion, the best tradition they have going is that every year, their event kicks off with an appearance by the now famous, Basketball Jones. I actually know this "mysterious" Mr. Jones and I know he can hoop it up. Which is why I laugh every year when I hear that he missed the first free-throw once again! Rumor has it that he has to keep doing Hoops of Hope until he makes the opening free-throw - which is exactly why I'm glad he keeps missing it. It's good to know he's trying, but even better to know he'll be back next year. Hoops of Hope wouldn't be the same without him!
At least he hit the rim this year :)
Thanks Orange County for loving these kids and for setting the standard for us to follow in our events. You guys are incredible.
I thought I'd take a break from the weekend stories to share with you some updated pictures we received today of the Jonathan Sim Legacy School in Twachiyanda, Zambia. This is the school Hoops of Hope participants helped to build in 2007.
Inside one of the classrooms.
Outside - the Hoops of Hope Hoop is in the background
The weekend was incredible! We're just now starting to hear the stories from around the world from those that participated in Hoops of Hope this past week. We'll post a bunch of them here so check back often. As for our event in Arizona, we had 125 shooters show up and probably 200 volunteers. We had participants range in age from 18 months to 70 years old. In total, our Phoenix location raised $13,200 for the clinic!
The highlight of our event though was when a family from Burundi came and sang for us. Seriously, probably 30 family members, all refugees from Burundi came to our gym and sang songs in Swahili. It was an amazing day. I'll post some pictures tomorrow.
We just finished setting up our gym for Hoops of Hope. Tomorrow morning at 7:30am, we're expecting over 130 people to show up to shoot with us. If you're doing a Hoops of Hope event this weekend, know that you're in our prayers. If you're like me, you're probably wondering if anyone will show up :). Believe me, they will - and your event will be incredible. I'm looking forward to all the stories that are unpacked over the next few days. Thanks again for being part of the journey. Tomorrow, kids lives will be changed forever.
It's Thursday and we're only two days away for our busiest weekend of the year. Over the next few days, we're expecting 230 Hoops of Hope events to take place in 17 countries. To think, five years ago, we thought this would be a one-day thing. I'm so thankful for the incredible group of people God has brought together to help pull this off.
I received an email today that hit me pretty hard. It was from the Life Time Caring Orphanage in Nigeria, Africa. This orphanage cares for children, many of whom have lost their parents to AIDS. Here's the cool part...on Monday, the kids from this orphanage did Hoops of Hope. Not for themselves, but to help other orphan kids. They got pledges and did the event so they could help other kids who aren't so fortunate. I've done some research on this orphanage and I know that they have needs of their own, and a lot of them. Yet, the kids here did something so selfless it just boggles my mind. If an orphan child can do something, can't we all? I'm getting pictures of this event, and I'll post them as soon as they come in!
Today is World AIDS Day. A day that is set aside to create awareness to a disease that has orphaned over 15 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa. 15 Million comes and goes as just a number, BUT, think about how many children this represents. If 15 million children were to link hands and stand in a straight line, they'd stretch from Los Angeles to New York and back again...5 1/2 times! Think about that. That represents a lot of children left alone. Which is why Hoops of Hope exists - to create awareness in youth and adults in developed countries to care for these 15 million children. All by doing something fun.
This Saturday, we are expecting about 200 locations in 17 countries to host a Hoops of Hope event, representing thousands of kids, teens and adults. It should be a great day and one that we pray not only changes the life of a child in Africa, but changes every participant as well.