From left: Morgan Jones, Derek Torres and Chase Johnson
Three members of the Beta Alpha chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity at NJIT are currently training for a 4,000-mile, cross-country bike-a-thon to raise funds and promote awareness of individuals with disabilities. The students—Morgan Jones, of Edison, Chase Johnson, of Hampton, and Derek Torres, of Sandyston—will join 100 Pi Kappa Phi brothers who will be traveling to California in May 2014 to participate in Journey of Hope, which will begin in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle and end with all teams in Washington, DC.“If this wasn’t incredible enough, they will be stopping along the way to visit different clinics and interact with people with disabilities and help out along the way,” said Thea Zunick, assistant director for Fraternity and Sorority Life at NJIT. “As an advisor, I cannot be more proud of the journey they are about to embark on and am committed to helping them reach their goal.”
Jones, Johnson, and Torres are participating in the event through PUSH America, the national philanthropy of Pi Kappa Phi. Push America was founded in 1977 with the purpose of instilling lifelong service in its members and enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities. To date, Push America has raised over $15 million to benefit people with disabilities and organizations dedicated to their service. The Journey of Hope 2014 fundraising goal is $650,000.
Johnson, a senior majoring in civil engineering with a minor in environmental engineering, said that he joined Pi Kappa Phi over other fraternities due to their involvement in Push America.
“I always had an interest in Push America and wanted to help out as much as I could with it and for this reason I became involved with Journey of Hope,” he said.
In October, the brothers participated in the Beta Alpha Chapter’s semiannual fundraiser for Push America, during which they cycled continuously over a 48-hour period.
For Derek Torres, president of the Beta Alpha Chapter, Journey of Hope represents the pursuit of a dream to prove not only to himself, but to the world that nothing is impossible.
“When I was just a little boy, I was diagnosed with autism and was told that I would never have a normal life,” Torres said. “Twenty-one years and I am still going strong and proudly representing Beta Alpha at New Jersey Institute of Technology.”
To learn more about the Journey of Hope fundraising campaign, click here.