Jeff Olivas rode across the country this summer to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities.
Jeff Olivas has never been an avid bicyclist. He biked occasionally, but never really went on long rides. Until this year, that is. In January he started riding a lot, getting in over 1,000 miles in just a few months.
The reason for the change is the opportunity to help others by riding his bicycle. The OSU Business Administration senior has volunteered to help with Push America, Pi Kappa Phi’s national philanthropy, since joining the fraternity in 2002.
This year he went the extra mile—or the extra 3,900 miles to be more precise, participating in the Journey of Hope, a 64-day bike ride from San Francisco to Charleston, South Carolina, which raises nearly $500,000 each year for those with disabilities.
The ride involves 70 members of the fraternity, half of them riding across the southern states and half across the northern states. Each participant is required to raise at least $5,000 for charity. Jeff, a member of the northern team, has raised about $6,200.
“Each day the team rides until about 4 p.m.,” he says. “After that we get out in the community of whatever town we’re in and raise awareness and make friendship visits with kids with disabilities.”
After riding 60 miles or more in a day, the participants often find themselves active well into the evening, dancing during a friendship visit, playing a game of wheelchair basketball, or performing a puppet show for children.
Jeff says he was honored to be part of the Journey of Hope because many Pi Kappa Phi members apply each year, but only 70 are accepted.