June 24, 2009


‘Hoops of Hope’ a hit, despite rain

HoopsJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Jessica Davis at the Hoops of Hope fundraiser at the First United Methodist Church.

Living and Leisure Editor

Three teens were so impressed by a 9-year-old boy who raised $3,000 in one day for orphans in Africa, — by shooting basketballs — they decided to do the same fundraiser here.
Jessica Davis, a Homer Junior High student, Katie Thomas and Katie Sweeney, both Cortland High students, all 14, set up a Hoops of Hope fundraiser at the First United Methodist Church in Cortlandville Saturday.
“We’re doing a basketball shootout for kids in Africa who have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS,” said Davis.
Behind her, several basketball nets were set up in the parking lot at the Route 222 church, where all three are members. Though the rain poured, and only 26 people attended, the girls persevered, and brought in a total of $1,450 by days end.
“I think we did pretty good,” said Davis. “I am pretty excited that we raised that much.”
Participants donated money to take 10 shots at the hoop, part of the world wide effort of Hoops of Hope fundraisers taking place. The girls also solicited their friends at their respective schools beforehand, amassing $935 before anyone even made a shot. “In one week we raised $435,” Davis said.
The girls were inspired after they attended a Revolve Tour in Rochester. The conference and concert was designed for girls in sixth to 12th grades and Arizonian Austin Gutwein was a speaker. When Gutwein was 9 in 2004, he saw kids who lost their parents to HIV/AIDS in Africa suffering. The girls saw a similar video, of children not having enough food, water, supplies — and no parents.
“It was so sad,” said Jessica. “And here we were having our lunches brought to us,” said Katie Sweeney.
Gutwein knew he could easily be one of the orphans, he told them. He came up with the Hoops for Hope idea and made 2,057 shots, raising $3,000 in one day, Davis said.
The money was used by World Vision, a Christian humanitarian charity, to provide hope and help for eight orphan children.
The Cortland area girls say World Vision and Hoops of Hope are using the proceeds to go toward building schools, medical testing and school materials to help children in the Africa.
“(Gutwein) started it at 9 and in five years, he has made over a million dollars,” said Cindy Davis, Jessica Davis’ mother.
Since then, Hoops of Hope has become a worldwide organization. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to the children, Davis said.
Davis wants to keep doing Hoops of Hope fundraisers during the school year at half times during basketball games and maybe organize a friendly competition between Homer and Cortland schools.
“I think it’s amazing we raised so much more money then we thought we did,” said Thomas. “I think it was amazing that one kid started this and now its worldwide,” said Davis. “Just by shooting baskets,” said Thomas.


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