Monday, February 22, 2010

Students Throw Hoops of Hope

Article Reprint from Montgomery News / North Penn Life

Students throw "Hoops for Hope"

By Tony Di DomizioFor North Penn Life Sink a free throw, help another Zambian youth get a place to sleep.

Feb. 21, Immanuel Church of the Nazarene in Towamencin will see close to 400 youths shoot free throws into 18 basketball nets in order to raise money to build dormitories for students in Twachiyanda, Zambia, and to provide for care centers for orphans in Swaziland.

Hoops of Hope will run from 1 to 7:30 p.m., and all of the participants are the 400 or so youths in the church’s Upward Basketball League.

The event can be attributed to coincidence and being at the right place at the right time.

When Richelle Holnick, 13, a Pennridge Central middle schooler, attended a Revolve concert in Philadelphia, she witnessed a speech from 15-year-old Austin Gutwein about his nonprofit organization he started in 2004 called Hoops for Hope, which raised money for children in Africa orphaned by AIDS.

“That experience showed me what one kid can do,” Richelle said. “If we wanted he said he would e-mail everyone a way to start their own Hoops of Hope and the money will go to his organization to send over. I really wanted to help them out.”

At around the same time, Marie Jansen was reading “A Hole in Our Gospel,” which mentioned Gutwein and his effort.

Jansen and Holnick, unbeknownst to one another, approached the youth pastor at the church with the same idea and the same message.

“We got together,” Richelle said, “and now we are getting to do this.”

Each child participating in the event will get a sponsor to donate money toward their day of standing at the free-throw line shooting 1,000 baskets in honor of the children of Zambia and Swaziland.

“After I found out I was able to do this, I was happy that I could help and that other kids could help too,” Richelle said.

Youths will be broken up by groups and proceed to shoot hoops. Each one will try to sink 1,000 baskets.

“The idea is kids are coming in and getting sponsors to raise money, and that money will go to build a dorm in Zambia, where Austin Gutwein has raised money to build a school,” said Richelle’s mother, Cathy Holnick. “These kids have to walk so far for school, that they are sleeping in the school. They want to build a dorm so they have a place to sleep and they can go home on the weekends.”

Hoops of Hope “shoot-athons” have funded the building of a high school for 1,000 students, a medical lab and a counseling center, according to Holnick.

Most recently, Hoops have helped fund a water project in Kenya and a second medical clinic in Zambia.

The Hoops of Hope universal goal is to raise $580,000 to complete dorms for the high school.

All money collected through Hoops of Hope go to World Vision, a nonprofit that facilitates the building of Hoops of Hope projects.

Because it is in its preliminary year, the church’s Hoops of Hope event will feature only youths in its Upward league.

“Let’s see how we can do with this the first year. In subsequent years, we are hoping we can open it up to the community,” Cathy Holnick said. “Certainly, people can come from the community and be supportive at the event and they can donate as well.”

Individuals can also show up and sponsor a child through World Vision, she said. A World Vision table will be at the event.

Businesses in the community have asked to either be sponsors or to donate prizes.

“We want to make it a festive event and keep kids motivated,” Cathy Holnick said.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gilbert Christian School Backpack Build

GILBERT, AZ – A Gilbert teen is continuing his work to help out children in Africa.

Beginning Thursday morning, every Gilbert Christian School [GCS] student will walk down an assembly line hand packing a backpack full of school supplies to send to a school they helped to build in Zambia Africa in 2007.

The backpacks are part of 15-year-old GCS sophomore Austin Gutwein’s Hoops of Hope program.

In January, students from GCS participated in Hoops of Hope and raised $12,000 to fund the backpacks as well as raised $2500 to help an orphanage devastated by the recent earthquake in Haiti.

Gutwein, a tireless crusader for the 12.5 million AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa will be returning to Africa with a couple GCS students in June to hand deliver the backpacks.

Gutwein, who was recently named one of the top 10 most caring Americans by the Caring Institute, founded Hoops of Hope six years ago while in the 5th grade at GCS.

What started at GCS has grown to the largest free-throw shooting marathon in the world, involving tens of thousands of kids globally.

In the past five years, Hoops of Hope has raised nearly $2 million, opened a high school, four dormitories and two medical clinics to help orphan children in Africa.

Austin, who will be present at the backpack build, says, “It’s neat to see your own school get behind something. It shows that our school isn’t just about us, but it’s about giving and helping others. We now have thousands of schools around the world doing Hoops of Hope, but none as special as GCS”.

In 2004, Austin was captivated by a World Vision video that told the story of a little girl named Maggie who lived in Zambia in Southern Africa.

She lost almost everyone she loved to the AIDS epidemic that ravaged the country, leaving nearly a million children orphaned.

“As I watched I just kept thinking about what it would be like if I lost my parents. I finally asked myself: What if this was me?” Austin writes in his book Take Your Best Shot.
Austin was changed forever, and he decided to do something about it. He used something he loved: basketball. His organization Hoops of Hope was born.

For more information visit

Thursday, February 11, 2010

American School of Doha Hoops of Hope

Students hold first ‘Hoops of Hope’

Students at the American School of Doha (ASD) hosted their first “Hoops of Hope” event yesterday to raise awareness about the plight of African children who have been orphaned by HIV/Aids.

Students were inspired by the speech of the Hoops of Hope founder during last year’s Global Issues Conference that was hosted by ASD. Hoops of Hope was started in 2004 by 10-year-old Austin Gutwein, who wanted to raise funds for the more than 15mn children who, by UN estimates, have been orphaned by HIV/Aids.

Basketball is one of the key activities of American student life, which makes Hoops of Hope, an event where students raise money by having people sponsor them for making a successful basketball throw, appropriate since this charity works specifically to help children who have been affected by HIV/Aids.

Close to 60 high school students rallied towards the organisers’ goal of raising about QR3,000 making the event a success. Organisers and faculty hope that this will become an annual tradition at ASD.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Incredible Video

Last month, the Body of Christ Community Church in Ohio held a Hoops of Hope event. They raised $5700 for orphan children. Check out this video from their event. I think the last hoop shot will inspire you!

Hoops of Hope Fundraiser from Streamlab on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Haiti Interview with Rich Stearns

Check out this interview with Rich Stearns, President of World Vision. World Vision has over 800 people on the ground in Haiti.