18 Under 18: Austin Gutwein

Senior raised more than $2.5 million for African orphans through his charity

Updated: February 29, 2012, 1:09 AM ET
By Ryan Canner-O'Mealy | ESPNHS Magazine

Austin GutweinCourtesy of Hoops for HopeAustin Gutwein of Gilbert Christian (Gilbert, Ariz.) started Hoops for Hope, a charity that's raised more than $2.5 million for those affected by AIDS in Africa.

ESPNHS honors 18 male teen athletes who are doing remarkable things on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. Click here to read about them.

When he was 9, Austin Gutwein saw a movie about African children orphaned because of AIDS. It left such an impression that he started Hoops Of Hope, a charity to raise money for those affected by AIDS in Africa.

He started by shooting 2,057 free throws -- representing the average number of children who became orphaned each day -- and raised $3,000 that first year. "That very first year it was just me," says Gutwein, who now plays soccer at Gilbert Christian (Gilbert, Ariz.). "I didn't really think much toward the future."

Seven years later, the 17-year-old senior's charity has gone global and raised more than $2.5 million. More than 40,000 people in 27 countries have participated. Gutwein has traveled all over the world as a result, visiting Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Qatar, China, Luxembourg and many more countries. Through it all, one lesson has stayed with him.

"This generation can step up and really change the world," he says. "And you don't have to wait to be an adult to do it." For more information on Hoops Of Hope, visit Gutwein's website, hoopsofhope.org.