Photo from pikapp.org
By Jim Lo
Chartered in Charleston on December 10, 1904, Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity is currently one of the biggest fraternities in the United States. In 1977, the fraternity decided to create its own philanthropy organization, The Ability Experience, which focuses on supporting children with disabilities and has since raised more than $15 million.
“We use shared experiences to support people with disabilities and develop the men of Pi Kappa Phi into servant leaders,” Pi Kappa Phi’s website states.
Aside from the social elements, the fraternity sees encouraging young adults to take part in matters that exist outside of college as its mission. It is every chapter’s goal to conduct their own philanthropy events on campus. Nonetheless, it is every member’s responsibility to take part in these on-campus fundraisers.
By taking initiative, members get firsthand experience in numerous life changing lessons.
Every year the organization offers several events for members of the fraternity to participate. Some of the most popular ones are Gear Up Florida, Journey of Hope and Build America. All focus on raising awareness for children with disabilities during the summer.
Members who decide to participate must raise a certain amount of money. They dedicate their summer to charity service, and money raised by members beforehand also go directly into the national philanthropy organization.
For members who decides to take part in these camps, the organization allocates mentors that help guide them through the process. During this span of time, a mentor’s job is to successfully lead participants through the process of raising money. If one does not achieve the minimum fundraising quota, they will not be able to attend the event. Take Build America as an example, members have to raise a total of $4000 before the end of May 31st. Not only does it take time and dedication, but it also takes guidance from mentors who has attended more than one of the events listed above.
As a member of the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, Derek Torres is now a leader and a mentor for these summer programs.
“Journey of Hope and Build America has made me into a much better person overall,” said Torres.
Torres continued to explain how he feels how he has become more open-minded and a stronger leader and friend due to the life lessons he has learned in the process.
“I am not afraid to pursue new challenges and am always willing to lend a helping hand to those that need it,” he said. “I work even harder now as well because of the tremendous amount of responsibilities I was given both summers.”
With annual events, it encourages college students across the country to reach out to people in need of help. Opportunities like these are rare, but it’s becoming more and more popular nowadays. It is really important that teenagers sacrifice their free time into doing something beneficial to the society.