While most people will be lying on the beach or working their summer job, junior Jeremy Osborne will be traveling from the west coast to Washington, D.C. on a cycling adventure that he says will change his life.
Last year, the Carlson native was a crew member for the Journey of Hope, and, this year, he will be a cyclist in the event. The Journey of Hope raises funds and awareness for people with disabilities, which is the part of the philanthropy of his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi.
“We want these people to know that we actually care about them and help them to feel respected and normal,” Osborne said. “We’re not looking down on them.”
Pi Kappa Phi is a social fraternity that has chapters all across the country, and they have helped with the Journey of Hope for many years. They cycle for about 75 miles per day and stop at host events for people with disabilities, such as wheelchair sporting events and visiting local groups of children with disabilities.
Osborne said Pi Kappa Phi is one of the only fraternities that owns and operates their own philanthropy, Push America, a nonprofit organization serving people with disabilities, and 88 percent of the funds go to helping people with disabilities.
“We go and work hands-on with these people. We don’t just write a check and send it off. It’s a lot more personal,” Osborne said.
When Osborne met some of the brothers at Journey of Hope last summer, he said he was inspired by how selfless people were when it came to coming together to start a cause. There were 2,500 crew members and 5,500 cyclists who all came together from the sponsors who were willing to donate.
Only one percent of all of the brothers in the fraternity are able to go on the Journey of Hope.
“I feel honored that I am able to go a second time. It’s honestly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I am going to be able to do twice,” Osborne said.
CMU’s Pi Kappa Phi President Matthew Berlin said he could tell that Osborne had a positive experience when he was on the Journey of Hope for the first trip.
“He came back and had a different drive to work with people with disabilities and was a lot more open to volunteering,” Berlin said.
Osborne has inspired Berlin to go on the Journey of Hope with him this summer as well.
“When we came to visit these people, they told us it felt like Christmas to them. They look forward to us coming every year,” Osborne said. “That’s a great feeling; it makes me appreciate the little things even more.”
Osborne said the trip this time will be different because it is with a whole new set of crew members and brothers, but he expects it to be a great adventure.
“Reaching out to people worldwide is rewarding; it’s not just about the cycling. The stops to help people is what it’s all about,” Osborne said.