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.
Aaron & Kristin Huerter Konrad Kerz David Jacobson Family Kenneth & Ruth Stoner Tim Bradley and Allison Hall Karlene Gayler Edward & Bonnie Redmon Remon Ginsburg David Henkel Greta Elsbernd Samantha Reinblatt Christoph Nachtigäller Jan Andrick Andy Wolf & Stacie Adams David & Dan Dan Gaus Amanda & Amber Donaldson Jeremy and Stacey Kincaid Jaymin D. Patel Tim Baird Paul Epp Shaun Honeycutt Dennis Cooley Frank Weilandt Josh & Lori Heil Matt Matheny Matthew & Lindsey Deaver Laura Serbus Nick Guinan Dean & Andi Burger John & Isla Andrick Eric Caughey Galen & Karen Van Blaricum Lloyd & Dorothy Redmon Rich & Jane Bireta John Sheu Mrs. Whittemore Jean Serbus Jens Humrich Malte & Mareike VeliAd Stephan Hähne Lindsay Larson Lynn & Judy Huerter Nintendo 64 Simeon Platte Brent Paulger Logan Smith Karen & David Bireta Marilyn Bailey Albert & Betty Kutzke Nico & Corinna Jack Porter & Marian Hukle Dan McNeill & Phoebe Tse David Maulat Larry & Pj Davis Margaret Bayer Maru & Sunyoung Kim Randy & Patty Heil Craig Van Blaricum Danny Redmon Zandra Myrick Rick & Cindy Slocum Timo Röver Bud & Beth Weiler André Lißner Elmar Brosinsky Steve & Janet Serbus Linda Parker Chris & Genevieve Decker April Serbus