This summer, more than 100 members of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity from around the country will join together to embark on a 4,000 mile cross-country cycling trip.
Grant County resident Griffin Engle will be one of the cyclists participating in the ride, called Journey of Hope.
Engle, a junior speech languages and hearing sciences major at Purdue University, will join 11 members from his local chapter on the trip. According to Engle, the purpose of this trip is to “raise money and awareness for people with disabilities.”
Pi Kappa Phi partners with the Ability Experience to raise money for people with disabilities.
According to Spencer Haworth, a regional director for the Ability Experience, the idea for Journey of Hope started in 1987 when Bruce Rogers made a trip across the United States to raise money for the Ability Experience. Over the past several decades, the event has grown to more than 100 men making routes across the country.
“The Ability Experience uses shared experiences to support people with disabilities and develop the men of Pi Kappa Phi into servant leaders,” Haworth said.
There are three different routes that start in the beginning of June in Seattle, San Francisco, and Long Beach. Each route ends in Washington D.C. in the middle of August.
The routes will be demanding, as each day requires 70 to 80 miles of biking and a lot of training beforehand.
“It’s going to be a struggle for me because I’ve training these past few months and like I’m still not ready to go 70 miles a day,” Engle said.
Sherry Howard, Engle’s mother, was initially nervous for her son’s safety when she found out he would be participating in the Journey of Hope. However, she knows the trip will be beneficial for him and others he meets.
“I think it’s going to be a life changing experience for him, and just the opportunity to meet people along the way and make an impact in their lives is just a great opportunity,” Howard said.
Each route will stop in various cities where Engle and other Pi Kappa Phi members will have a chance to make “friendship visits,” working with local organizations that serve people with disabilities and build relationships.
“One of the ways the Ability Experience develops the men of Pi Kappa Phi into servant leaders through shared experiences with people with disabilities,” Haworth said. “These shared experiences come from what we call friendship visits.”
It is Engle’s hope that he can touch lives as he travels across the country.
“If I can change just one kid’s life, then the whole summer will be a success for me,” Engle said.
In turn, Engle continues to be touched by the lives of those he meets through the Ability Experience.
The men of Pi Kappa Phi have a saying that they live by: “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”
If you would like more information about Engle’s upcoming trip, you can visit the following link: classy.org/englejoh