A 15 Year-Old Justice Hero

Kara Powell | Sep 21, 2009

Last week I spoke at The Gathering, a conference for foundation leaders and philanthropists that was hosted in Phoenix, Arizona. At the first evening session, Austin Gutwein, founder of Hoops of Hope, shared his story, which had already been captured on video by CBS Sports.

When Austin was nine, he started Hoops of Hope, a basketball marathon, to raise funds for children in Zambia who were orphaned because of A.I.D.S. Six years later, God has opened up amazing doors and Hoops of Hope has gained momentum in bringing about deep justice. He says he’s not even that great of a basketball player, but he loves the sport and cares about kids around the world.

Austin is now fifteen, and while I’m always a bit concerned when we hero-ize teenagers who perhaps aren’t developmentally ready for that sort of attention, his deep justice story is inspiring. I love this quote from Austin at the end of this video: “When given the opportunity, kids will blow you away.”

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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