Pi Kappa Phi to bike ‘Journey of Hope’

Pi Kappa Phi to bike ‘Journey of Hope’
Drayton Perkins, senior, poses outside the U.S. Capital. This summer marks the fourth year that he has participated.

Biking from San Francisco, Calif. to Washington D.C. may sound like a nightmare to some, but to the brothers of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, the trip is actually enjoyable.

The members of Pi Kappa Phi are known for participating in an annual journey that is truly unlike many others. Journey of Hope provides a special opportunity for brothers to spend a summer devoting time and effort toward helping people with disabilities and providing a lasting sense of hope and encouragement for others.

Pi Kappa Phi is the only national fraternity that owns and operates its own philanthropic organization, PUSH America.

Mercer’s Pi Kappa Phi chapter is proud to say that they have successfully sent at least one team member to the Journey of Hope since the mid-’90s.

This year the brothers of Pi Kappa Phi have planned to participate in the philanthropy again, and have already begun fundraising efforts for their team.

Brothers Drayton Perkins, Jake Lankford and AJ Sholly have committed themselves to raising $17,000 this summer by participating in a letter writing campaign to contact friends, family and various media outlets. They are also writing grants to various organizations to provide sponsorship.

Ninety-seven percent of all proceeds raised are used to fund their cross-country expedition.

Senior Drayton Perkins discussed why he chose to participate in the philanthropy’s “Journey of Hope” fundraiser.

“I initially signed up to participate in Journey of Hope because I wanted to be a part of a program that was larger than myself,” Perkins said.

Perkins has participated in the Journey of Hope several times. “After my first Journey of Hope experience, I had to return and do the trip again. I have participated in the trip for the past three summers and each year I have taken on a different position while always trying to reach the same goal.”

Journey of Hope allows members of Pi Kappa Phi from all areas of the country to form teams of brothers and come together for the same cause. One interesting aspect of the trip is that all lodging, meals and necessities are paid for solely by donations.

Brothers agree that though the trip is for a remarkable cause, it is not an easy task.

Perkins discussed the preparations that brothers must endure before trekking on the journey. “There is no way to really train for such a daunting trip,” Perkins said. “The best way to prepare for this particular trip is to mentally prepare. The ride is only half of the trip and the other half is the interactions we have with people with disabilities and the people we are riding for.”

Jake Lankford, another participant in this year’s trip, said, “If this journey only helps one person, then it is worth my entire effort towards it.”

Lankford will begin his trip May 30 in Seattle, Wash., where he will relearn basic first aid procedures, CPR, learn crew functions/procedures and prepare the crew vehicles. After, he will travel to San Francisco to meet Sholly for orientation.

Along with Journey of Hope, brothers of Pi Kappa Phi also participate in other projects sponsored by the philanthropy, including projects like Gear Up Florida, an 800-mile trip from Miami to Tallahassee, and Build America, a six-week team event that allows brothers to travel to six different colleges and communities to improve accessibility areas for people with disabilities.

Perkins is one of the brothers participating in Build America and is looking forward to experiencing the other side of the spectrum.

“I have already seen the cycling side of Push America and now I look forward to seeing the construction side and see my labor put to tangible use for others,” he said.