CBS Sports along with acclaimed actress and philanthropist Ashley Judd tell the story of "Hoops of Hope" as they raise money one basket at a time for African children orphaned by AIDS
One foul-shot at a time, "Hoops of Hope" is helping to raise money and educate thousands of children in Africa who have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Saturday, April 5 on "The Final Four Show" (4-6 p.m., ET), CBS Sports along with Ashley Judd, the Global Ambassador for YouthAIDS, tell the story of Austin Gutwein, who at the age of 9-years old, after learning about the devastation of AIDS through his correspondence with a pen pal in Africa decided to raise money for African orphans by shooting foul shots.
Austin founded "Hoops of Hope" and raised $3,000. A year later, the ten-year old from Phoenix, Ariz. enlisted 1,000 kids from his hometown to shoot baskets, this time they raised over $38,000. In the spring of 2006, Austin announced that with the money raised they would attempt to build a high school for orphaned children in the region of Twachiyanda, Zambia, an area where there was not a high school within 60 miles. It is also one of the regions hit hardest in the world by the AIDS pandemic. Hoops of Hope would need to raise $100,000 to meet their goal and see Austin’s dream come true.
"People think kids can't really make a difference and they should wait until they are older. But that is totally wrong, you can do something as a kid," said Austin
Austin has made a difference. In October of 2007, Hoops of Hope, working in conjunction with World Vision, an international relief organization saw the school celebrate its grand opening. Now 13-years old, Austin and his dad along with CBS Sports Producer Pete Radovich and Cameraman Davie Finch traveled more than 10,000 miles to be part of the festivities. It was Austin's first ever trip to Africa and he was greeted with an emotional hero's welcome.
CBS Sports enlisted the help of Judd to narrate Austin's amazing story and journey. "Ashley, was a perfect fit to tell the story as she has traveled the globe on behalf of YouthAids and has seen first hand the devastation AIDS has on children around the world through her tireless efforts to raise awareness for AIDS," said Radovich. "Plus over the years, as a passionate Kentucky fan she has become a staple of CBS Sports' college basketball coverage."