Thursday, August 26, 2004

Hawaiian ride helps with AIDS

Good Things Happening

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William O'Connell, an assistant professor in Xavier University's graduate counseling program, was part of a caravan of 55 cyclists who biked 400 miles across four Hawaiian Islands in July to raise money for HIV/AIDS services.

"It was exciting to be part of an event where people and faith in the human spirit come together to make a difference,'' said O'Connell, 40.

His goal was to raise $2,500, and he raised $2,900.

"People greeted the 55 cyclists all along the course,'' O'Connell said.

"We camped out and rode bikes, covering the Islands of Oahu, Maui, Molokai and Kauai.

O'Connell said he became familiar with the problems of families of HIV/AIDS victims when he was an intern at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in 1987, studying to be a pastor. He was a student at the Athenaeum College of Ohio, Mount Washington.

"I realized then that there was a big need to work with families of HIV/AIDS victims. There wasn't much knowledge about the disease then,'' O'Connell said. "They also suffer. One man on the ride had lost his mother to AIDS. I rode with the hope of finding a cure, but also with the hope of raising awareness of the impact AIDS has on families and friends,'' O'Connell said.

The ride was sponsored by the Life Foundation for Hawaii.

"The ride was a personal milestone for me, but I am not sure if I will participate in it again. However, I plan to get involved in local fund-raisers for HIV/AIDS services,'' O'Connell said.

Grants awarded

The Ohio Valley Foundation has awarded grants totaling $75,000 to three organizations.

The Cincinnati Association for the Blind received $25,000, which will be used to buy equipment and hire seven additional employees with visual impairments.

The association offers blind and visually impaired people the opportunity to seek independence through rehabilitation, employment counseling and information services.

The Episcopal Retirement Homes Inc. received $25,000 for renovations to the Marjorie P. Lee Retirement Community.

Work will include remodeling the independent- and assisted-living apartments, building a three-story wellness center and adding a dining room and cafe and updating the dining facility.

The Work Resource Center also received $25,000, which will be used to support Building Values LLC, a nonprofit organization that finds ways to reuse building materials. The center also provides retail and construction job training for people with disabilities and disadvantages.

Building Values is a waste-reduction program, providing low-income residents affordable home-repair items, while Work Resource Center participants gain job skills and training.

The Ohio Valley Foundation was founded in 1946 by John Rowe, John Warrington and William McGrath to offer help to organizations through grants for capital improvements.

ACTS OF KINDNESS: Former Bengals helping kids

Two former Bengals players are using their influence to benefit children's educational charities.

They are Isaac Curtis and Louis Breeden, who formed a team with bigg's 14 years ago to launch the project.

The Curtis-Breeden Foundation has raised more than $2 million through an annual celebrity golf classic.

Last week, the foundation donated $10,000 to the Academy of Greater Cincinnati,Amberley Village, a school for gifted children.

Binders donated

More than $30,000 worth of binders was donated to Kids In Need by Vulcan Information Packaging, a manufacturer of custom and stock binders.

The binders were distributed in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Atlanta and Charlotte.

Crayons to Computers received some of the binders. Dick Bere, chief operating officer of Crayons to Computers, said his office is a local resource center that gives supplies to teachers.

Kids In Need is a program of the School & Home Office Products Association Foundation for Educational Excellence.

Resource centers of the program serve an estimated 800,000 students and more than 60,000 teachers nationwide.

Vulcan Information Packaging is a Vincent, Ala., based company with a local office in Liberty Township.

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Hawaiian ride helps with AIDS

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