Friday, September 18, 2009

Do Something Bigger than You

This is a blog I just posted for ThinkMTV. - Austin

Doing something bigger than yourself doesn’t depend on your ability it depends on your availability. That phrase was so true in my life. Because if you were to look at my ability I was definitely not “qualified”. But you see making a difference isn’t about how qualified you are or about how popular you are, it's about how willing you are. And I realized that as my adventure began.

My adventure began six years ago after I watched a video about a girl who had lost her parents to AIDs. I began thinking about it and for a nine year old it was scary. I didn’t know what this thing called AIDs even was. All I knew is that it was leaving kids without their parents. I couldn’t imagine living without my parents and yet 15 million kids had to go through this. If you don’t think that’s a big number, think of it this way - If 15 million kids linked hands and stood in a straight line, they would go from Los Angeles to New York and back again 5½ times!

I knew I had to do something. My ability didn’t make a difference to me. A man from World Vision encouraged me to use my favorite sport to make a difference. So I started a free throw marathon called Hoops of Hope. Over the past six years we have raised of 1.5 million dollars to help children orphaned by AIDs. We have built a school and two health clinics in and AIDs ravaged region of Zambia. 100% of what we raise goes to help these kids.

I learned early on that I was not popular (I’m still not) or good at basketball but that didn’t stop me. And I would encourage you as you read this to know that you, no matter what your skills or age, can make a difference. It's about your availability. It's about how willing you are to make a difference. Making a difference doesn’t have to be some big huge ordeal. In fact, you can make a difference by simply picking up trash, helping at the homeless shelter, recycling. Only you know what your passionate about and only you know whose life is going to be forever changed because of you.

This year I have an amazing opportunity to encourage my generation to do just that. It is my second year with an incredible conference called the Revolve Tour. This all-teen girls event really motivates my generation to get involved in changing lives. We certainly aren’t doing it because of our ability. The girls at the Revolve Tour are passionate about making a difference and they’re doing just that. We’re stuffing backpacks with school supplies, and a warm blanket and we’re going to deliver them to the school in Africa next summer. It is so motivating for me to see 8,000 girls each weekend come together ready to change the world. They care about seeing lives changed. And that is what I would encourage you to do. Whether you’re a teenager like me, a grandparent, or somewhere in between, care. You can make an impact and it can start today.

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