In 2004, moved by his Christian faith, Austin was captivated by a World Vision video telling the story of a little girl named Maggie who lived in Zambia in Southern Africa. She lost almost everyone she loved to the AIDS pandemic that left nearly a million children orphaned. Austin was changed forever, and decided to do something about it. He used something he loved: basketball. Hoops of Hope was born. For the past six years, Gutwein has worked with World Vision to help children and families in need.
Take Your Best Shot (ISBN: 9781400315154, $12.99, September 2009) with a forward from Luke Ridnour, player for NBA's Milwaukee Bucks, captures Austin's amazing adventure, one that has taken him to Rwanda, Zambia, Uganda, China, Europe, and the Middle East. Austin challenges readers to go on an adventure of their own and to take their best shot while highlighting others around the world who are making a difference.
"Something is happening with our generation. Kids are really trying to make a difference in their world. They're reaching out to people in need, and they're getting out of their comfort zone," Austin writes. "Something is happening in their hearts: they want to take their best shot at this life; they want to do something bigger than themselves."
Today, thousands of kids and adults around the world join Austin to raise money for AIDS orphans in Africa. There were over 230 events worldwide last year. Hoops of Hope has raised over $1.4 million dollars and joined with world relief organization World Vision to build a high school and medical clinic in Zambi
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