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Cool Kid

Katie Claney

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04/01/2009 - Katie Claney

By Mary Mizell

"I go expecting to change the lives of others by serving them but they have changed my life," Katie Claney explains, referring to her multiple mission trips. The Dean Morgan ninth grader has learned at a very young age about the tremendous need out there and has responded.

Katie first went to New Orleans to do hurricane relief work. She has also been several times to Wounded Knee, South Dakota -- among the most impoverished counties in America. Last summer she traveled with her granny to Nicaragua and, upon returning home, made the decision to sponsor two different children there. She works to earn the money she gives to supply the needs of these children.

When Katie heard about Austin Gutwein, the 14-year-old President and Founder of Hoops of Hope (an organization dedicated to raising funds to support a medical lab and other facilities in Zambia), she was eager to join in the effort. "Zambia is one of the hardest hit African countries by HIV/AIDS. Nineteen percent of children under 18 or 1.1 million are orphans. This lab will help stop the transfer of AIDS from mother to child," Katie says. Five years ago when Austin Gutwein (then nine-years-old) heard about the plight of the people of Zambia, he decided to do something. He has already raised enough money to remodel a medical clinic and build a high school and is now engaged in the effort to support the medical lab.

"I learned about this great cause when my mom and I attended the Revolve Tour in Denver this February," Katie says. She is sponsoring a Hoops of Hope event on May 2nd. Anyone interested in participating (by either shooting baskets or donating) can do so by visiting Katie's website, www.firstgiving.com/katieclaney for further information. Checks can be made payable to Hoops of Hope and sent to Katie Claney c/o Our Town Casper Magazine, 4010A South Poplar, #112, Casper, WY 82601.

You would think all this would be enough to keep one young lady busy, but Katie is also on her church's (Highland Park Community Church) Youth Leadership Team, works with the preschool children for the Celebrate Recovery program, works the nursery every Sunday and for other scheduled programs, occupies the first chair in the percussion section in the Dean Morgan band, has played piano since kindergarten, and is very athletic (basketball, golf, biking, running, softball -- catcher, pitcher, and third base)! WOW!

Katie, you are one cool kid! Thanks for all you do.

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