THE ABILITY EXPERIENCE
A NATIONAL SERVICE ORGANIZATION
Pi Kappa Phi owns and operates a national philanthropy called The Ability Experience (formally known as Push America). The Ability Experience is a non-profit organization that was founded by members of Pi Kappa Phi in 1977. It is the exclusive service learning project of the fraternity, aiming to serve people with disabilities and instill lifelong service in all members of Pi Kappa Phi. Initially begun as a project to build therapeutic play units for children with disabilities, the organization has become synonymous with fundraising, service and awareness for people with any type or degree of disability.
Major programs include nationally recognized cycling events, empathy and awareness training sessions and construction projects that work to promote a greater understanding of people with disabilities. Members of Pi Kappa Phi have raised nearly $8 million dollars in support of the projects and programs of Push America as well as donated thousands of man hours to renovate facilities that serve people with disabilities across the country. As Pi Kapp expands to new parts of the country, it brings with it the Ability Experience Philanthropy, dedicated to exceptional community service and action unparalleled in the Greek world. The Ability Experience is committed to its mission of “[using] shared experiences to support people with disabilities and develop the men of Pi Kappa Phi into servant leaders.”
The Ability Experience’s integrity to its mission is exemplified in every program. Push America programs were created to educate and provide a quality hands-on service experience for members of Pi Kappa Phi, while enhancing the lives of people with disabilities. The Ability Experience has the future in mind as many members of Pi Kappa Phi go on to be leaders in our communities, states, and country. Pi Kappa Phi members are serving on city disability committees, disability task forces within their companies, many undergraduates are changing their majors to special education, and others are more socially aware of disability issues.
Since the conception of the Theta Mu chapter, our efforts with The Ability Experience have enabled the brothers of Pi Kappa Phi help bring about a pervasive change in the public perception of both Greek life and the University of Massachusetts as a whole. In our chapter, The Ability Experience is an essential part of our fraternity experience. We believe that service to others is the best example of what words like “fraternity” and “brotherhood” are all about.
Our chapter holds various events to raise money for Ability. We most recently put on a fashion show with the local chapter of Best Buddies and held a date auction, both of which raised money for Ability. We also hold a 36 hour bike-a-thon outside of the Student Union, in which brothers bike to raise money for Ability and awareness for people with disabilities.
Outside of Ability, our chapter has a tutoring program at Amherst High School, where brothers can act as roll models for high schoolers while helping them with their work. During the winter, we shovel out many people’s driveways in our neighborhood after a large snowstorm, especially those who may have a hard time clearing their driveway on their own.