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St. Olaf student plans inspiring trip to cities named 'Hope' in every state

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A Minnesota college student and one of her former teachers have an ambitious road trip planned for this summer – they plan to visit a city in each state with “Hope” in its name.

The duo – St. Olaf senior Addie Larson and teacher Sheila Clouse – plan to start in New Hope, Minnesosta, on June 6, and end the trip in New Hope, Florida, in October. In the meantime, they have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $35,000 they’ll need to make the trek.

“I just want to spread the word that it is possible to have hope, despite all the trauma in America,” Larson told BringMeTheNews.

Clouse initially conceived the idea for the trip, said Larson, an art major who will be the project photographer. They plan to share their experiences via social media along the way and later write a book with essays and photos that profile the people they meet.

The four-month trip itinerary has the duo camping their way across much of the nation, stopping in far-flung small communities from Hope Island, Washington to Isle of Hope, Ga. They’ll climb Mt. Hope in Colorado, and make two flights, on their way to a place called Hawaiian Hope in Honolulu and Hope, Alaska.

Larson, 21, an Ely native, said she has been to about 10 or 15 states, so she expects an eye-opening adventure.

“We are optimistic about this trip, and we want to make other people hopeful as well. So often we see all the bad stories in the media, and the good stories get pushed aside, or overshadowed,” Larson said.

Clouse has a special interest in school violence as an elementary school teacher, a former Minnesotan now living in Florida. In this video, she says that making this trip is an effort to combat a sense of disillusionment in school communities and towns nationwide.

“We’re trying to find hope, bring hope to everyone, to show, yeah, there is still a lot of hope left in America,” she says.

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