Student Voice


July 22, 2024

Shoot-a-thon raises money for orphaned

April 29, 2010

In the time span of three hours, 750 children in Africa will be orphaned by AIDS.

This is why Brian Grove, 12,  hosted an event called Hoops of Hope on April 17 at the St. Bridget Parish School gym in River Falls.

“I hope to have 750 free throws shot because that’s how many kids will be orphaned by AIDS in the three hours of this event,” Grove said about statistics he learned from the Hoops of Hope organization. “It doesn’t matter if you make the shot or not.”

Grove reached his goal.

The event was free, with a suggested donation, and allowed people to shoot free throws for a cause.
In a social studies class, Grove was given the assignment as a project for Gifts of Gold. For this, students had to come up with some way to volunteer their time. The students had to work five hours each quarter since second quarter started towards their project.

“I hope to raise around $1,500 through this project,” Grove said.

At the end of the event, they had raised $200. Grove explained that people are still able to donate at The money will go to Zambia, Africa, to be used for children who are orphaned by AIDS.

“The program is reaching out to more communities now,” Brian’s sister, Amanda, said.

Amanda originally heard about Hoops of Hope at a Revolve Tour, which is an event “designed to communicate to teen girls that God loves them, just as they are, and not to draw them into a life-changing relationship without him,” according to This event was held in the Twin Cities a couple years ago. She hosted her own event a year later.

Austin Gutwein, founder of Hoops of Hope, is just 15 years old, and came up with the idea for this event when he was just nine years old.

CBS covered a story about Gutwein and his program, and they explained how AIDS affects the nation of Zambia.

“Today nearly 50 percent of Zambians are under the age of 15, many of them orphans,” Ashley Judd, actress and narrator of the CBS story, explained.

Amanda explained that Gutwein’s book “Take Your Best Shot” is a “big inspiration” for her.

There are many dates that national Hoops of Hope events are held, but people are encouraged to host events whenever it works for them, explained

When Brian was asked how he came up with the idea to host this event, his sister interjected.
“He came to me,” Amanda said.

Brian admitted that his sister gave him the idea.

“I knew she did it (last year), so that’s where I got the idea,” he said.

The kids’ parents helped by working in the concessions stand. Proceeds from all sales made went to Hoops of Hope.

In order to promote the event, Brian and Amanda hung brochures up at different businesses around town. They also had an article in the River Falls Journal promoting the event.

“We also e-mailed a lot of people,” Amanda said.

There were also posters that Brian created that he had on display at the event. These posters shared different facts about orphans in Africa.

“Hand in hand, orphaned kids would stretch from New York to California back and forth five times,” read one poster.

Another poster also explained that donations are currently going to build a third medical clinic that specializes in the prevention of mother-baby transfer of HIV/AIDS, as well as building a counseling center for the orphaned children. explains that since 2004, every penny raised at Hoops of Hope events has gone to help orphaned children, and the administrative costs are covered by private donations.