Pi Kappa Phi pushes to give back

Imagine spending the summer doing more than jumping in pools, serving burgers or chilling with friends. Rockwood sophomore Jeremy Osborne and Farmington Hills senior Spencer Haworth, brothers of Pi Kappa Phi, are spending their vacation giving back on a 67 day cross-country cycling trip called the Journey of Hope.  This annual event is dedicated to helping those with disabilities and raising awareness for them through Push America.

Push America is Pi Kappa Phi’s nonprofit national philanthropy that is dedicated to serving people of all ages and all disabilities.

“The main goal of Push [America] is to show people with disabilities are no different than people without and our main goal is to raise awareness for these people,” Osborne said.

Both Osborne and Haworth got involved with Push America through their fraternity. They’ll travel cross-country working hands-on with people who have disabilities. Three Pi Kappa Phi brothers from the Beta Xi chapter here at Central Michigan University will be going on this trip: Osborne, Haworth, and Keith Jones. However, the entire trip is made up of Pi Kappa Phi brothers from around the country.

For Osborne, Push America is a big reason he joined Pi Kappa Phi. When introduced to the Journey of Hope, put on by Push America, he jumped on the opportunity to travel the country while making a difference.

“Push America is owned and operated by Pi Kappa Phi and my best bet to get involved with this philanthropy was to join Pi Kappa Phi,” Osborne said. “I have no regrets.”

Haworth however, has a more personal reason for getting so involved. Haworth chose to participate in Journey of Hope to honor his mother and twin brother. Haworth’s mother has lupus, a disease of the immune system, and diabetes which takes a great toll on her health. Travis, Haworth’s twin brother, is learning disabled and epileptic, which makes it difficult for him to understand concepts that come so easy to others.

Growing up, Haworth played a large role in helping his mother and twin. When Haworth was younger his mother suffered a back injury that shattered and fractured the discs in her back, making it difficult to do something as simple as walk.

“I know I am extremely lucky to have the abilities I do and to be able to have a semi normal life,” Haworth said. “People don’t realize how lucky we are to be able to get up in the morning and do almost anything we want without much difficulty.”

The brothers won’t be cycling across the United States but playing another big role by being a crewmember. The road crew consists of seven different positions ranging from public relations to historian and all these positions work together to make the entire team a success.

The seven crew members are the backbone and foundation of the operation and work behind the scenes to make Journey of Hope possible.

“My main job is to gather sponsors as we travel across the country, as well as gather cyclists for interviews and support the crew by getting them tons of media support,” Osborne said.

Fundraising for the brothers so far has been a growing process. Their main goal is to not only get Central Michigan University students involved but the Mount Pleasant Community as well. They have hosted countless fundraisers including Sororities for Hope, a monetary competition between all the Panhellenic Council sororities. They also have upcoming fundraisers such as the empathy benefit dinner and silent auction with Phi Sigma Sigma as well as a 24-hour stationary bike ride on campus, split between Osborne, Haworth, and Jones.

If individuals would like to help by donating or sponsoring them they can contact Osborne or visit their Push America donation pages here, here and here.

“I am most excited to just be completely selfless all summer and give to those who struggle every day,” Haworth said when asked what he was looking forward to the most.

It is important to the brothers that they help those with disabilities and change their lives so that they’ll always remember the Pi Kappa Phi brothers who were dedicated to raising awareness for them. When they come back from this trip, they hope to have not only grown as individuals but become more grateful for the abilities they’ve been blessed with. Most of all, they wish to have a lifelong effect on those with disabilities they met along their journey.

“I want to make an impact and bring a smile to the faces of people with disabilities so they will always remember that they are truly amazing,” Osborne said. “This is a journey of service, and not self.”