Building brotherhood through service: Philanthropy meets Fraternity at Elon

A group of 74 Pi Kappa Phi brothers with the support of the Fraternity’s national philanthropy Push America set out to overhaul Kopper Top Life Learning Center, a therapeutic horseback riding facility in Liberty, N.C.

The project, named AccessAbility, for the access it provides to people with varying abilities, was an all-day event held at the farm on Saturday, April 26, 2008. By the day’s end, the brothers built an accessible ramp, allowing clients and their families to gain access to Kopper Top’s new office.

Additionally, brothers cut down trees, made way for new riding trails, cleaned existing trails, constructed fences, maintained flower beds and repainted horse gates. All of this work was made possible by a grant from Push America national headquarters and the guidance of Kopper Top volunteers.

In an e-mail to the project coordinator, Deborah Meredith of Kopper Top stated that she had been, “bragging to everyone about the difference that [Pi Kappa Phi] made at the farm. It is wonderful.”
Pi Kappa Phi is the only national fraternity to found and operate a non-profit organization. Push America was founded in 1977 and seeks to build the leaders of tomorrow by serving people with disabilities today. Through construction events like AccessAbility, Push America promotes awareness, volunteerism and fundraising on behalf of people with disabilities. The grant Elon received to provide service to Kopper Top is only one of many granted each year.
One other way Push America raises awareness is through its main summer event called Journey of Hope. Every year, nearly 100 brothers set out from Seattle, W.A. or San Francisco, C.A. on a 63-day bicycle ride that ends in Washington, D.C. Brothers cycle to a new city almost every day, where they interact with people with disabilities. Three Elon men will join the ranks this summer: Sam Christenbury, Dan Cariello and Ben Kaufman. As members of the Journey of Hope, each man also makes a commitment to fundraising; a minimum of $5,000 for cyclists and $2,500 for crew members.
Through the service projects of Push America, the brothers of Pi Kappa Phi at Elon continue to build brotherhood by serving the surrounding community. Other events include No Boundaries Week, a celebration of the abilities of everyone, and Push the Music, a benefit concert featuring Elon’s a cappella singing groups.
“Seeing the magnitude of what we did and the smiles on so many faces from the people at Kopper Top was amazing,” said Jay Kahn, the chapter’s president. “Those are the people we work for and the faces I remember. It’s projects like these that make me proud to be a Pi Kapp.”
-By Ben Kaufman ’10

Pi Kappa Phi at Kopper Top Life Learning Center, Liberty, N.C., April 26, 2008.