July 11, 2008

Journey Of Hope Rides Through Phoenix

When I first tried college down in Tucson, I almost joined a fraternity. My uncle Phil had been (and I guess still is) a Kappa Sigma at the University of Minnesota, and promised to share with me all the necessary handshakes and secret phrases to get in the door. I ended up never rushing, but my roommate pledged Delta Chi so I got a chance to live the Greek Live vicariously. How vicariously? In 2001, the chapter was revoked of its UA recognition and put on level five (5) probation by the national office. In 2006, D Chi regained university recognition. The campus newspaper ran a story on the event, interviewing Delta Chi Chapter President, Andrew Dipsia. Drew was my roommate. That's how vicariously.

Because of that experience, and the many stories Phil has shared with me, I've always had a certain image of Greek Life. And, well, turns out that might not be exactly fair...

Last Thursday afternoon, twenty-three (23) young men on bicycles showed up in Downtown Phoenix. Except, they weren't from Phoenix, and their destination wasn't Phoenix. These guys, along with a couple of support vans, were traveling from San Fransisco to Washington, D.C. Another group was traveling from Seattle, and yet another was riding from San Fransisco but taking a more northern route. Thirty-two (32) states and over 12,000 miles will be covered, all in the name of raising money and awareness for people with disabilities. And the kicker? Everyone involved is a Pi Kappa Phi, it's a prerequisite to ride.

Most social fraternal organizations donate both time and money to nonprofit organizations, but Pi Kapps are the only ones to own and operate its own philanthropic organization. Push America are the leaders of tomorrow by serving people with disabilities today. They put on a variety of awareness and fundraising events, but the reason why they were up on my radar screen today was the Journey of Hope. From the website:

The Journey of Hope is a cross-country bicycle trek beginning in San Francisco, CA and Seattle, WA and ending together with all teams in Washington, D.C. The event raises funds and awareness for people with disabilities. Simply put, the Journey of Hope is a ride with a purpose. Make no mistake; this is not a simple ride. The Journey of Hope is about many things. It is about challenging the norm. It is about serving our communities. It is about finding out more about ourselves than we ever imagined. It is about having a dream. It is about a mission. It is about hope.

They made a stop here in Phoenix for a couple of reasons. First, they had ridden almost seventy (70) miles without a break. And second, they stopped by because an ASU student is on the ride. He wasn't actually here, he's on a separate leg, but he's still on the trip.

If you dig what these cats are doing, you can donate to the cause here. Happy Weekend!

"Socialism can only arrive on a bicycle."
Jose Antonio Viera Gallo

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