The Ability Experience, the national outreach project of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, services the disabled throughout the United States. It is the only fraternity-run philanthropy in the world, making it an extremely unique aspect of Pi Kappa Phi.
After a successful 2014 War of the Roses (Pi Kapp’s annual philanthropy event), Alpha Iota chapter received national attention from many major news outlets including ESPN, USA Today, NBC Sports, Fox Sports, Yahoo! Sports, Bleacher Report, and many others for having Auburn Men’s Head Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl sit in the dunk tank while raising money for The Ability Experience. This event put us over $1000 in fundraising for The Ability Experience.
In 2015, the chapter helped raise a total of $1650, while constructing three wheelchair ramps, and logging over 800 hours of community service at Camp ASCCA. Alpha Iota also won Pi Kappa Phi’s national award for the most community service hours by helping out with various organizations such as the Humane Society, Miracle League, the Ecology Preserve, Food Bank, and Camp ASCCA.
The Ability Experience
"Create a community, one relationship at a time, where the abilities of all people are recognized and valued."
The Ability Experience, formerly Push America, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves people with disabilities. The Ability Experience was founded in 1977 as the national philanthropy of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity with the purpose of instilling lifelong service in its members and enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities. Although the organization is still fulfilling the purpose for which it was intended,The Ability Experience has grown into a nationally recognized nonprofit with numerous programs educating undergraduates, alumni and communities about the abilities of people with disabilities.
The Ability Experience’s mission is, “We use shared experiences to support people with disabilities and develop the men of Pi Kappa Phi into servant leaders.” which has been fulfilled for more than 35 years. Although the wording may have been changed, The Ability Experience’s vision to “Create a community, one relationship at a time, where the abilities of all people are recognized and valued,” remains unchanged. Through programs of all kinds, participants display The Ability Experience’s four core values (abilities, teamwork, empathy and integrity) while serving others. Although the funds raised are invaluable, just as important is an increased awareness of the amazing things people with disabilities can do, as opposed to focusing on what they can’t.
The Alpha Iota chapter has the goal of donating $25,000 to the Ability Experience this year. Every contribution goes towards helping individuals with disabilities in need of financial and medical assistance. Any donations to our chapter's Ability Experience fund are greatly appreciated!
ASCCA is an acronym that stands for Alabama’s Special Camp for Children and Adults. Beginning in 1976, Camp ASCCA has been a nationally recognized leader in therapeutic recreation and is known throughout the world for its superior quality services. Providing camping experiences for children and adults with disabilities, Camp ASCCA is open year-round. Within its barrier-free environment, Camp ASCCA offers 230 wooded acres on the shores of beautiful Lake Martin in Alabama. Camp ASCCA serves an average of 7,000 people annually.
The needs of campers with disabilities are cared for by trained staff, and there are many different camping opportunities for all individuals throughout the year. Camp ASCCA is a special place where campers with disabilities have the opportunity to express their individuality and independence within a carefully supervised setting. Their families also are provided with a chance to relax in the knowledge that over thirty-six years of experience goes into providing a safe environment where fun can be had by all. The activities offered at Camp ASCCA include horseback riding, swimming, canoeing, fishing, arts and crafts, accessible waterslide, zip-line, water tubing, archery and rifle range, mini-golf course, paved nature trails, splash pad, and more. To learn more, visit Camp ASCCA’s website. The brothers of Alpha Iota chapter volunteer out every semester at Camp ASCCA’s Fun Fish Weekend and MD/PD Weekend, serving as the majority of counselors for the weekend.
Within the past three years, the brothers of Alpha Iota have built 5 wheelchair ramps for the physically disabled. By teaming up with Alabama Rural Ministries (ARM), Auburn Pi Kapp has been able to serve its local community by giving up its Saturday to help build a wheelchair ramp for someone in need. These wheelchair ramps have become a staple for the Pi Kapps at Auburn as the dedication of the chapter for its philanthropy remains unmatched.
Ability Weekends, formerly known as Push Weekends, are national service projects that provide funding and manpower to build and renovate structures for camps and facilities serving the disability community. This year the Alpha Iota chapter went up to Camp Twin Lakes’ Will-A-Way in Winder Georgia to help the camp build a new pavilion.