Nine undergraduate members and two chapter alumni gathered in the Lafayette Jefferson High School’s special needs classes on Nov. 8 to present a large grant to significantly assist teachers and students.
The Ability Experience, the national outreach effort of the national Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, rewarded the Purdue chapter and its programming by giving $5,000 to assist the school. The grant will be used to provide classroom supplies and equipment and will help offset costs associated with field trips.
Also, the grant will help offset the cost of criminal background checks that are required for chapter members to be in the classroom. Previously, chapter members had to fund the cost of the background checks themselves.
“The Ability Experience is unique in that our mission is not only to support the disability community, but also to develop our members into servant leaders that are able to make an impact throughout their lives,” said Mike McBride, chapter alumnus and regional director of chapter services for The Ability Experience’s national staff, who made the check presentation.
“Omega is such a great example of this and it all starts in the classroom at Lafayette Jeff,” McBride said. “That’s what this grant represents – a commitment to supporting the people and organizations where our mission is lived out every day. We know our mission is only possible because of our students and we try to reward their hard work by making impacts through funding and events in their local communities.”
Not all of the nearly 200 chapters nationwide have a local volunteer relationship. “These partnerships are what drive involvement in our programs and a create a lifetime service,” McBride said.
The grant money given to the school in November will be augmented by chapter fund-raising, too. A quarter of the fraternity’s annual money raised is also available for local grants.
Over the six years the chapter has been working with the classes, it has donated $33,189 to the school. The fraternity is on pace to raise nearly $20,000 during 2017, which means up to another $5,000 should be available sometime in the spring semester.
McBride was one of two chapter alumni to be part of the check presentation. Lafayette Jeff Special Education Department Head Steve Beeler is a chapter alumnus, too.
For McBride, he found his passion for service while an undergraduate fraternity member. He participated in various programming activities on and off-campus and twice (2015 and 2016) participated in the Journey of Hope, the national cross-county cycling event each summer raising money and awareness for people with disabilities. He also did the inaugural Ability Experience Challenge event of riding across Europe during the summer of 2017.
Service is important, according to McBride.
“It gives great perspective to students who can so easily get caught up in the bubble of life on a college campus,” he said. “It changed my life and even started my career on a path where I’m able to continue to help make a meaningful impact, and I’m grateful for that opportunity.”
Additional photos of the check presentation as well as chapter members assisting in the classroom can be found under the photo gallery tab on this website.