In 1976 when Durward Owen, then Executive Director of Pi Kappa Phi, was looking for a way to mobilize the work force that was the fraternity’s undergraduate members. At the time, a man named Thomas Sayre was designing a therapeutic play unit for children with severe disabilities. The two men met, and Push America was born. In 1977 Push America was founded as a non-profit organization by Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.
In 1987, Bruce Rogers took it upon himself to cycle across the United States in the Name of Push America. This could be called the first Journey of Hope, as only a year later Push America organized an official team of 21 cyclists to again cycle from the west coast to Washington DC in hopes of raising funds, and spreading awareness of the abilities of people with disabilities. The tradition continues today, and each year over 90 Pi Kappa Phis cycle over 4000 miles on three different routes through the United States. With the huge success of the Journey of hope, Push America started yet a second cycling event in 1997, Gear up Florida. Gear up Florida is a two week, 800-mile cycling trip from Miami to Tallahassee, Florida.
Though the cycling events had taken a seat in the spotlight, Push America did not forget its origins. In 1989 construction efforts of Push America expanded, as the first “Give-a-Push” weekend was held in Charlotte NC. Each weekend was to be a two day project for undergraduates from around the country to come together and construct accessible environments for facilities supporting people with disabilities. Two years later, the first week long version, “Push Camp”, was started in Clemson, SC. In 1994 a third construction program, “AccessABILITY”, was started allowing undergraduates and alumni participate in local service programs making homes accessible through the construction of wheelchair ramps.
Building on the Road
In 2003, another construction program was added to Push America’s list to impact camps and communities over a six week period during the summer. Build America was introduced to provide an opportunity for members of Pi Kappa Phi to join a team that would travel across the country together and build accessible environments while forming friendships at the different camps they visit.
Through Push America, members of Pi Kappa Phi have raised millions of dollars, and donated millions of man hours to renovate facilities that support people with disabilities across the country. The story does not stop here however; there are still many new projects in planning, more funds to be raised, and millions of people to expose to the abilities of people with disabilities. Please help us continue our outreach by making a small donation on my behalf to Push America by clicking the “Donate” link above.
Push America's Year-in-Review for 2009
Click here to see a summary of the data presented in the video.
Craig Van Blaricum Kenneth & Ruth Stoner Dan McNeill & Phoebe Tse Linda Parker Albert & Betty Kutzke Andy Wolf & Stacie Adams Karlene Gayler Randy & Patty Heil Dean & Andi Burger André Lißner April Serbus VeliAd Jens Humrich Samantha Reinblatt Lynn & Judy Huerter David Jacobson Family Paul Epp Josh & Lori Heil Marilyn Bailey Rick & Cindy Slocum Jeremy and Stacey Kincaid Timo Röver Shaun Honeycutt Jean Serbus Dennis Cooley Danny Redmon Rich & Jane Bireta Jan Andrick Nintendo 64 Tim Baird Margaret Bayer Nico & Corinna Larry & Pj Davis Mrs. Whittemore Frank Weilandt Jack Porter & Marian Hukle Edward & Bonnie Redmon Maru & Sunyoung Kim David & Dan Dan Gaus Amanda & Amber Donaldson Lloyd & Dorothy Redmon Christoph Nachtigäller Bud & Beth Weiler Chris & Genevieve Decker Simeon Platte David Henkel Brent Paulger John Sheu Matthew & Lindsey Deaver John & Isla Andrick Steve & Janet Serbus Eric Caughey Galen & Karen Van Blaricum Remon Ginsburg Elmar Brosinsky Matt Matheny Lindsay Larson Karen & David Bireta Malte & Mareike Logan Smith Tim Bradley and Allison Hall David Maulat Aaron & Kristin Huerter Nick Guinan Greta Elsbernd Konrad Kerz Jaymin D. Patel Zandra Myrick Stephan Hähne Laura Serbus