Hoops for Hope Is a Slam Dunk!
On Saturday, April 15, residents of the Santa Clarita Valley are invited to come out and participate in a fun, unique fundraising event benefitting local Special Olympic athletes, as well as orphans in Africa.
Now, you might ask – what could Special Olympic athletes in Santa Clarita possibly have in common with orphans in Africa? Well, if you get out to the SCV Sports Complex on April 15 anytime between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., you will find the answer is basketball free-throws.
Six and a half years ago, local resident Scott Norton watched a video about a young man named Austin Gutwein who founded a non-profit that funds projects in support of orphans in Africa, via free-throw shooting marathons; at the time, Austin was just 9 years old. As a long-time Special Olympics basketball coach, a light bulb went off for Scott at that moment: Why not organize a Hoops of Hope event where Special Olympic basketball players raise funds for both the Hoops of Hope organization (HoopsOfHope.org) and the local Special Olympics Region (www.sosc.org/SCVTV)?
From that initial idea, a community-wide event has been established during which local high school students, Special Olympic athletes and the general public shoot baskets in exchange for pledges they garner. This year marks the sixth annual event, and each year has been better than the last!
Basketball shots are not the sole activity at this fun-filled event. Dave Caldwell serves as the emcee of the fundraiser, which features music, a silent auction and a half-court shot raffle where winners get rewarded with a gift certificate to a local merchant. In previous years, members of both the Kings Ice Crew and Laker Girls have attended the event and, as you can imagine, have been a big hit. Schedule permitting, they’ll be there once again this year.
Through participant pledges – and with the help of wonderful sponsors, which over the years have included Boston Scientific, Southern California Orthopedic Institute, Bernards (Builders and Management Services), John Paul Mitchell Systems, and celebrity couple Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin – the event has raised much needed funds for these two terrific non-profit organizations.
There are three important elements that make this a truly unique event:
1. It is one of the first events of its kind where Special Olympic athletes participate in a fundraiser benefitting others in need. It is an opportunity for the dedicated athletes of Special Olympics to pay it forward.
2. By providing an opportunity for able-bodied individuals to work side-by-side with Special Olympic athletes, the event creates an atmosphere where stereotypes are broken down, and a sense of shared purpose and community is developed.
3. Participants in the event are not only benefiting individuals locally through Special Olympics, but it also benefits people on the other side of the world through Hoops of Hope.
If you’d like to be involved with this great event, either as a participant, individual donor, or as an event sponsor please call the Special Olympics office at 661-253-2121, or visit www.sosc.org/ShootAThon.
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