NSU alumnus creates career from passion of serving people with disabilities

NSU alumnus creates career from passion of serving people with disabilitiesNick Breaux is on a journey to transform the lives of college students through teaching empathy and serving people with disabilities. The 2010 Northwestern State University graduate recently completed his first year as a program consultant for Push America. A philanthropy created by Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity in 1977, Push America instills lifelong service in fraternity members and exists to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Push America is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, however Breaux spends most of his time driving across the country. In the past year, he’s logged more than 9,000 miles between visits to 40 universities. Breaux works with Pi Kappa Phi chapters to develop and improve Push America programming. Undergraduate chapters across the country have and continue to establish volunteer relationships with local facilities that serve people with disabilities in conjunction with fundraising on campus and in their local communities for the programs of Push America. Members of Pi Kappa Phi have raised millions of dollars for the programs of Push America as well as donated millions of man hours to renovate facilities that serve people with disabilities across the country.

Breaux’s passion has not waned since his days as an undergraduate. In fact, it’s only grown. In May 2010, only days after graduation, Nick completed a “super summer” by serving as crew chief on both Gear Up Florida and the Journey of Hope South team. The cycling events bring the spirit of Push America to communities from coast to coast. Breaux says it remains the best summer of his life.

“Each day our work was rewarded as we visited a new town and new people. Everyone should understand that a person with disability is a person with their own set of abilities. That summer I met comedians, home run sluggers, business leaders, and champions. Although they live with certain disabilities, each has amazing abilities.”

The same mission persists today with in his professional role at Push America. Breaux’s visits to Pi Kappa Phi chapters allow him the opportunity to motivate and inspire college students to grow individually through service-learning. Particularly rewarding are his visits to newly established chapters.

“It’s been great to help a new group men start their Push America projects from the ground up,” said Breaux. “Those guys are gung-ho about Push America and it’s such an important part of growing brotherhood.”

His travels have also connected him with incredible individuals. One memorable visit came at Western Michigan University’s Theta Rho Chapter. Members had invited Johnnie Tuitel, a motivational speaker and founder of “Alternatives in Motion. Breax says Tuitel is the nation’s leading, self-proclaimed ‘handi-capitalist.

“He was born with cerebral palsy and is easily one of the funniest and most amazing people I’ve had the opportunity to meet. He attributes so much of his success to his focus on his abilities, not his disability.”

The same values and ideas Breaux shares with Pi Kappa Phi members across the country are the same ones instilled in him as a student at NSU. “Beta Omicron chapter helped me develop leadership skills that have positioned me to serve others as a consultant for Push America.”

Breaux says he looks forward to continuing Push America’s work in erasing stereotypes associated with disabilities. “I do what I do to make a difference through my beliefs in a greater cause, to help people impact the lives of others, and present the opportunity for our members to grow.” To date, Push America has raised over $15 million to benefit people with disabilities and organizations dedicated to their service.