“Something is happening in our generation. Kids are really trying to make a difference in the world. They’re reaching out to people in need, and they’re stepping out of their comfort zones. Something is happening in their hearts. They want to take their best shot at life; they want to do something bigger than themselves.”
That’s exactly what Austin did. He was just nine years old when he watched a video about an African AIDS orphan named Maggie. That video led him to take his best shot, and when he did, he changed the lives of AIDS victims on the other side of the world. Austin made a difference by shooting two thousand free throws in a local gymnasium. His friends, family and community sponsored him, and he raised $3000 to help African children orphaned by AIDS. But Austin didn’t stop there. He founded “Hoops of Hope”, an annual event to further help AIDS victims. Since then, with God’s guidance, Austin and his “team” have accomplished far more than he ever imagined. The events he’s organized have built a school and a clinic in Africa, and his vision continues to grow. Austin wrote a book about it. Here’s what he has to say:
Austin’s book, Take Your Best Shot, is his personal narrative. It tells the story of how “Hoops of Hope” grew into a miracle, and it includes a sub-story about Austin’s faith in God. With the help of co-writer Todd Hillard, Austin writes in a teen-friendly style that encourages kids to search for their own ways to make a difference as well as introduces them to a purpose-driven life through faith in God. Each chapter ends with thought-provoking questions, activities and links to additional information.
“Who would have dreamed that one kid, one video, a basketball, and a hoop in America could be used to change lives half a world away?”
His book is proof that one kid with a vision can indeed change the world.
I highly recommend that you buy a copy of Take Your Best Shot and read it with your kids. Then have a family conference to answer the question: “How can we make a difference?“
To learn what happened to Maggie, be sure to read the last chapter of Austin’s book.
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 240 pages
You can preview the book by clicking here.
Read Austin’s blog.