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"Journey of Hope" for People with Disabilities Rolls into Las Vegas

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016   

LAS VEGAS --- When "frat boys" make the news, it isn't always in a good way. But this week, a team of cyclists from the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity is to stop in Las Vegas as part of a cross-country trek to raise money for people with disabilities.

Dozens of riders with the Journey of Hope started slightly more than a week ago in Long Beach, Calif., and hit Pahrump on Monday. They'll end up in Washington, D.C., in August, where they will link up with two other teams that took central and northern routes across the country.

Algernon Dean, public relations director for the "Journey of Hope" south route and a member of Pi Kappa Phi, said it's an annual tradition that started almost 30 years ago.

"Along the way," he said, "we stop at friendship visits, interact with the clients at the camps that cater to people with different abilities, and we do our best to make the world a better place for people that live day to day with a disability."

The team of cyclists will spend the next two days playing wheelchair basketball and going to the water park with kids from the city of Las Vegas' Adaptive Recreation Division.

Pi Kappa Phi, like many fraternities, has battled multiple hazing scandals over the past 15 years. However, Dean said, the Journey of Hope represents the true spirit of the organization.

"One of our missions is to develop a different type of fraternity man," he said. "We are the only fraternal organization to own and operate our own philanthropy, which sets us apart."

Each year, he said, the teams cycle 12,000 miles through 32 states. Each person raises about $5,000 to take part, and they secure corporate sponsorships. So far, the teams have raised $500,000 this year alone -- money that goes back into the community as grants to organizations that help people with disabilities.

More information is online at abilityexperience.org.


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