Real Life Church junior high ministry WIRED, will host a free rally on Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 7pm to help promote the 2nd Annual Santa Clarita/Tri-Valley Special Olympics and Hoops of Hope Shoot-A-Thon in Santa Clarita. The actual Shoot-A-Thon will take place on March 30th from 10-3pm at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex. Real Life Church Student Ministry will have teams made up of junior high students participating.
The kick-off event is being held at RealLifeChurch, 23841 Newhall Ranch Road, Valencia, CA91355 and will feature special guest, Hoops of Hope founder, Austin Gutwein. Gutwein was just nine years old with a heart for orphans in Africa when he started Hoops of Hope. After watching a video showing children who had lost their parents to AIDS, he realized these kids weren’t any different from him except they were suffering. Austin felt God calling him to do something to help them. He decided to shoot free throws and on World AIDS Day, 2004, he shot 2,057 free throws to represent the 2,057 kids who would be orphaned during his day at school. Friends and family sponsored Austin and he was able to raise almost $3,000. That year, the money was used to provide hope to 8 orphan children.
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Over the past nine years, Austin's effort has turned into the largest free throw marathon in the world with an estimated 40,000 people in more than 25 countries participating in Hoops of Hope. By doing something as simple as shooting free throws, Hoops of Hope participants have raised more than $3 million. The efforts have led to the construction of the only high school in a rural region in Southern Zambia, four dormitories, two medical clinics, two computer laboratories, feeding programs, multiple water projects as well as the funding of a dormitory at an orphanage in Kenya and a school in India. Austin has been featured on many national broadcasts and publications. His message is one of hope. A message that anyone, no matter what their age or skills has a purpose and can make a difference that lasts forever. “You don’t have to be grown up to change the world,” says Gutwein.
RealLifeChurch is proud to partner with these great organizations in a day that will make a difference in the lives of youth who are serving right here in Santa Clarita and the lives of the all the children and athletes it will benefit. Donations will be split equally between the two organizations. RealLifeChurch has served the SCV since October 2000. The congregation opened its environmentally-friendly facility in April 2010 with an 1100-seat auditorium and a community-focused coffeehouse. Worship services are held Saturdays at 5:00pm and Sundays at 8:30am, 10am, 11:30am and 5pm. The church is located at 23841 Newhall Ranch Road in Valencia. Visit website at reallifechurch.org.
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