Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hoops of Hope in Guideposts Magazine

At age 9, Austin Gutwein knew he wanted to help orphans living halfway across the world.
So he did something about it.
In 2004, the Mesa, Arizona, resident had been touched by a video telling the story of African kids orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Despite his young age, he organized a fundraiser—similar to a walkathon—in which he shot basketball free throws to earn $3,000 for the World Vision charity.
After this early success, Gutwein set his sights even higher. The young basketball fan organized a free throw competition called Hoops of Hope, in which anyone can take part, regardless of ability.
Each year, schools across the country organize Hoops of Hope free-throw marathons which raise money for projects across Africa. To date, more than $800,000 has been raised to build schools, medical clinics, and orphan centers, as well as providing bicycles and mosquito nets.
Austin, now 14, told CBS News that watching other children get excited about helping others through Hoops of Hope has been an inspiration.
"It's just awesome to see kids get so motivated about shooting hoops," he said. "If given the opportunity, kids will blow you away."

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