Monday, December 27, 2010

End of Year Letter

Dear Friends of Hoops of Hope,

As another year comes to a close, we’re, once again, amazed by the amount of compassion you’ve shown to the “least of these”. I often smile when I think about the thousands of volunteers who helped to pull off more than 100 Hoops of Hope events this year in 12 countries. I’m humbled when I think of the tens of thousands of donors that helped us fund so many projects. And, I’m amazed by the tens of thousands of participants who shot countless free throws to represent children who have lost their parents. I count serving on the board at Hoops of Hope one of the greatest privileges I could ever imagine.

This past June, we traveled with a team of 17 to southern Zambia to witness the opening of four new dormitories at the school, as well as a clinic and testing facility nearby. There are no words to express the joy of the students sleeping in a dorm for the first time, or the patients receiving treatment that will save their life. All I can say is “thank you” for being a part of Hoops of Hope.

In 2010, your efforts were able to partially fund a dormitory at a the Huruma Children’s Home in Kenya; fully fund two additional teacher houses and a computer lab at the school in Zambia, as well fully fund two deep water wells. In March of this year, we held an auction which generated enough administrative funding to fully fund all administrative costs through the end of 2011. Once again, this means that every penny raised from the Hoops of Hope events around the world will go directly to children.

I’m looking forward to 2011 and working with you again to make a difference in the lives of children who have been orphaned by AIDS. Why? Because there are so many things left to do. The life expectancy in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa is still less than 40 years old. There are still so many who do not have access to clean water, food, healthcare and an education. We’ll continue to help as long as we can and hope you’ll join us again in 2011.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Board of Directors [Volunteer]

Thursday, December 2, 2010

World AIDS Day 2010

As most of you may already know, yesterday was World AIDS Day, a date that is very near to the heart of the Hoops of Hope team, participants, hosts, volunteers, donors, and partners. Because the UN estimates that every 14 seconds a child loses a parent to HIV/AIDS, we work toward helping in an area of our world most devastatingly affected by the AIDS pandemic. Donations received at events all around the globe go toward helping ease the pain of living in such an area. Orphans are getting much needed assistance and education, and even more exciting, some children now even get to have their parents around longer because of the medication they now receive to treat their disease!

This past June I had a chance to travel to Zambia with the rest of the Hoops of Hope team. While there, we visited a High School and a medical clinic, both of which were paid for with Hoops of Hope donations. I could tell you story after story of how lives have been changed, and how the people in those areas have benefited from individuals who set aside time and put forth the effort to care for them by shooting some free throws.

There’s one story in particular that I'd like to share with you in light of World AIDS Day. It's about a 10 year old boy named Orlando. I got to visit him in his home where he lives with his grandma and 3 brothers because his parents both died from HIV/AIDS. Orlando also has AIDS. He told me that not long ago he thought he would die. He couldn't get out of bed from being so sick, and his grandma confirmed with tears in her eyes that they had given up hope. Then the clinic that Hoops of Hope funds built opened, and it was near enough to his home for him to get to. There he received medication and care that has allowed him to live a "regular" life. You would hardly know by looking at him that he's sick. He goes to school, helps around the house, and even plays soccer with his friends! When he looked me in the eyes and said "Thank you for giving me my life" I told him it wasn't me, but many people around the globe who care. It was hard to leave Orlando that day, but as I left I promised him that I would tell his story and would be sure to thank his true heroes for him. That's probably you if you are reading this… anyone who has ever hosted, participated in, given to, volunteered for, prayed for, or supported a Hoops of Hope event in any way.

To those of you hosting events this month in recognition of World AIDS Day, thank you. You are making a huge impact in the lives of people you may never have an opportunity to meet, but that are thankful to YOU for giving them life.