The Ability Experience

The Ability Experience, formerly Push America, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves people with disabilities. It 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.

Members of the Beta Omicron Chapter have participated in every project of The Ability Experience, from riding in the Journey of Hope to transforming camps through Build America. Most recently, NSU Pi Kapps met the South team of the Journey of Hope as they passed through Shreveport, Louisiana. The Pi Kapps took time to volunteer time at Shriners Hospital.  Beta Omicron chapter members consistently participate in national Ability Experience events including the Journey of Hope, Gear Up Florida, and Ability Experience Weekends.

For additional information about The Ability Experience and its programs, visit http://www.AbilityExperience.org

THE ABILITY EXPERIENCE CORE VALUES:

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.

Since 1988, over 1,500 men have participated in Journey of Hope, Gear Up Florida and Build America. Each year, those events combined raise over $600,000.

ABILITIES
The Ability Experience believes in the abilities of all people. It is our goal to demonstrate to others the importance of seeing a person and their abilities before their disability.

TEAMWORK
The Ability Experience recognizes that together, everyone achieves more. All programs of The Ability Experience are team-oriented and the impact can be seen, not only in the people we support, but also in the leaders we continue to develop.

EMPATHY
The Ability Experience encourages empathy, rather than sympathy. We teach individuals to engage in conversation with people with disabilities just as they would with a friend. People with disabilities want to be treated just like everyone else and are not looking for people to feel sorry for them.

INTEGRITY
The Ability Experience has a mission and realizes it is through honesty and responsibility of our work that we will continue to advance that mission. Our integrity and passion to our mission is what continually supports the development of leadership in the members of Pi Kappa Phi and improvements in the lives of people with disabilities.

THE ABILITY EXPERIENCE FOCUS AREAS:

To date, The Ability Experience has raised over $15 million to benefit people with disabilities and organizations dedicated to their service.

VOLUNTEERISM
The spirit of The Ability Experience is carried on by volunteer relationships between chapters of Pi Kappa Phi and community organizations that help enhance the lives of people with disabilities. Establishing this relationship is a great way for chapters to give back to their community, learn more about the abilities of people with disabilities, and introduce new people to what Pi Kappa Phi is doing through The Ability Experience. Volunteer relationship activities include anything from bowling, holiday parties, lending a hand to fix things around their facilities, volunteering twice a month or more, or even being part of a buddy program with someone with a disability. The possibilities are endless and both the chapter members and people with disabilities always benefit from the experience.

DISABILITY AWARENESS
Disability awareness is accomplished by chapters of Pi Kappa Phi through numerous empathy training events and by educating the public. By promoting an understanding of another person’s situation, feelings, thoughts and attitudes, The Ability Experience’s empathy training exercises simulate what it may be like to live with a disability. Individuals gain firsthand experience and a better perspective on some of the challenges that people with disabilities face in their lives every day. People with disabilities often have to do things a little differently, but they have jobs, play sports and join fraternities just like everyone else.

FUNDRAISING
Pi Kappa Phi remains the only Greek organization to have developed and maintain its own national philanthropy. Creative fundraising events like bike-a-thons, scaffold sits and pageants have helped the brothers of Pi Kappa Phi collectively fundraise over $15 million in support of The Ability Experience’s programs. These funds are distributed across the country to benefit people with disabilities and provide more service opportunities for the men of Pi Kappa Phi. Undergraduate chapters continuously support The Ability Experience and are excellent advocates in spreading a message of acceptance and understanding for people with disabilities.

NATIONAL PROGRAMS

The Ability Experience directly impacts the lives of people with disabilities. Click the link above to learn more.

LOCAL PROJECTS

The Ability Experience can be found working here in Natchitoches. Click the link above to learn more.

MAKE A GIFT TO THE ABILITY EXPERIENCE

A secure online way to support the service projects of The Ability Experience. Click the link above to learn more.

VIDEO: AN EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCE

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