CHICAGO (CBS) — Cross country riders from the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity are trading in their bikes for wheelchairs this week in Northbrook.
It’s all part of the 31st annual Journey of Hope that rides each year across the country. It’s a 4,000 mile bike trip across the country to bring awareness to The Ability Experience.
“It’s a group of cyclers that travel coast to coast and try to raise awareness for people with disabilities,” said Ellen Mirochnick, Coordinator, Special Services.
This is the eighth year the bikers will be stopping at the north suburban YMCA.
The cyclists will take on the Great Lake Adaptive Sports Association in a “Wheels versus Wheels” football game.
“It’s a great event. We expect a packed house. It’s really a wonderful opportunity for people to understand others and to see people who might have a difference than you might have a strength that you don’t have,” Mirochnick said.
Mirochnick said the game is designed to highlight abilities and not disabilities.
“The motto for The Ability Experience and for the Y is that no one has to sit on the sidelines. There’s ways to do things. If you’re life changes, to make accommodations and to be still part of a larger community,” she said.
The football events are free and open to all children and families and it is encouraged to come dressed in your favorite football team jersey or uniform.
Recently the NSYMCA has begun providing inclusive opportunities in dance, yoga, art, fitness and aquatics for children with special needs so they can learn, play, and interact with their peers.
“We hope people come away with a message of empowerment. It’s really an inspiration for people who’s lives changed and then suddenly have a disability. It’s also a message for our young people with all the bullying that goes on, this really gives credibility to people that anything is possible,” Mirochnick said.
The event will be held at the Y, located at 2705 Techny Road in Northbrook. The Northwestern Football Team will also be on hand for a meet and great starting at 6:30 p.m.
The annual Journey of Hope cross-country ride is sponsored by The Ability Experience, a national philanthropic organization of the Pi Kappa Phi national fraternity. The ride is completed by fraternity members of Pi Kappa Phi, who travel 4,000 miles together from the West Coast to Washington, D.C. The vision of the organization is to “create a community, one relationship at a time, where the abilities of all people are recognized and valued.”