RICHLAND -- Richland graduate Gina Ojeda is embracing this era of the global village, where a local Bomber can make an impact half a world away -- in Africa.
Ojeda, 18, is the primary planner of the Tri-City area's Hoops of Hope free-throw shooting event scheduled to begin at noon on July 10 at Carmichael Middle School in Richland.
"I always wanted to help or change the world somehow and found this (Hoops of Hope) through a Christian concert I went to," Ojeda said.
Hoops of Hope was founded in 2004 by Austin Gutwein, then a 9-year-old, in an effort to raise funds for and awareness of African children orphaned by AIDS.
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The event has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon. Hoops of Hope fundraisers took place earlier in 2010 in both Qatar and Abu Dhabi and are scheduled later this year in Nigeria.
It has also evolved into a do-it-yourself charitable exercise for both individuals and groups seeking to unite their community in working -- or, to be precise, free-throwing -- toward a common goal.
"I've been impressed with her initiative to go out and contact people and get things done," said Angel Ojeda, Gina's mother. "It's been an awesome learning experience for her."
Gina is quick to note that friends -- including fellow Bomber and 2010 Media Classic participant Jalyn Von Oelhoffen -- are lending time and energy to the project.
The effort has also garnered attention in other media, as Ojeda has made the effort to promote the contest via both an interview at KONA radio and online at hoopsofhopetc.com, where prospective shotmakers can find registration, sponsorship and donation forms.
Ojeda, herself an All-Area first-team golfer, found the radio promotion a novel episode in her public relations endeavors.
"I thought it was fun," she said. "I was nervous at first, but it was fun to experience something like that."
"Businesses have been great," Angel said when asked about area sponsorship.
"She's always been a kid who, when she does something, she gives it her all. When she decides to do it, she just goes for it."
And while Carmichael will be echoing with participants of all levels bouncing basketballs and ringing backboards, little ones should also limber their arms for shooting some hoops.
"I'm going to have little hoops for little kids so that they can participate," Gina said. "People have asked if 5- or 6-year-olds can go, and I decided to get them."