Bright Ideas: Local woman on an HIV/AIDS mission to Africa, friends aim to trace Huck Finn's travels

CINCINNATI - The Cincinnati area is rich in creativity and bright ideas. Many artists, community activists and entrepreneurs are ready to run with projects and programs, and they’re turning to crowdfunding sites to fuel their ideas.

Project: Becoming the Change I Want to See

  • Platform: GoFundMe.com
  • Started: November 1, 2013
  • Goal: $2,000
  • Project By: Ashley Townes

Ashley Townes works with HIV and syphilis patients at Hamilton County Public Health. Yet, even with her daily contributions to disease awareness, Townes felt as though she was not doing enough. "Becoming the Change I Want to See," is a volunteer trip to Ghana for the prevention and education of HIV/AIDS.

Townes said she hopes to not only promote awareness while on this trip but also help reduce the stigma that still follows this disease.

  • Where will the money go? Funds will go to pay for Townes’ program fee, flight, required vaccinations, and her Ghanaian Visa.

While it is the Volta Region of Ghana that will reap the physical benefits of her assistance, she hopes that her trip will also spark conversations, awareness and added interest in the topic of HIV/AIDS here at home.

Why should people support Becoming the Change I Want to See?

Ashley Townes says: “I would hope that someone would support my project for three reasons: to stand as an advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness, to support me as I travel abroad for community outreach, and to support humanitarianism.”

Days until this project closes: 57

Project: The Real Huck Finn

  • Platform: Kickstarter.com
  • Started: February 23, 2014
  • Goal: $14,550
  • Project By: Justin DeWitt

Justin DeWitt and his friends long for a classic adventure tale to share. Although they Discussed taking a trip from Cincinnati to New Orleans on DeWitt’s cabin cruiser, they found that when they began to research other’s experiences with "The Great Loop," there was very little information available.

That’s when DeWitt and his crew decided to document the adventure themselves. The Real Huck Finn will chart the group’s excursion, detailing all locations visited, including boat-side restaurants and fueling stations.

It will additionally cover the history of each of the locations they explore. DeWitt says he will be sharing this adventure through a coffee table book complete with the stories of the trip and photos of all of the locations as well as a DVD that will document the entire adventure.

  • Where will the money go? If funded, the money will go to the costs of publication and video editing as well as generating the print of both books and DVDs.

DeWitt added that he and his friends look to share their experience in a face-to-face forum as well. After the trip and the release of the book and DVD, they hope to speak to schools and universities about the journey, providing students with the narrative for what the trip meant and why they felt it was such an important to take. 

Why should people support The Real Huck Finn?

Justin DeWitt says: “I see what we are doing as an inspirational journey for others and we want to take as many people along with us as possible. In all, we just want to show people that the natural world still exists in certain locations. That the beauty and tranquility of the world we grew up in is still out there to be seen and explored and that anybody with nothing more than the will and determination to go out and do something with it and be a part of what we do.”

Days until this project closes: 20

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