On Nov. 8, Mike McBride, a chapter alumnus and regional director of chapter services for the Ability Experience, presented the check to the special needs class at Lafayette Jefferson High School. Nine chapter members joined staff at the school at the presentation.
The grant will be used to provide classroom supplies and equipment and will help offset costs associated with field trips. Furthermore, the money will be used for criminal background checks that chapter members had to pay for on their own to volunteer in the classes.
After the presentation, the undergraduates did what they have been doing for six years – work with students on life skills and classroom projects.
“The Ability Experience is unique in that our mission is not only to support the disability community, but also to develop our members into servant leaders that are able to make an impact throughout their lives,” McBride said.
“Omega is such a great example of this and it all starts in the classroom at Lafayette Jeff,” he said. “That’s what this grant represents – a commitment to supporting the people and organizations where our mission is lived out every day. We know our mission is only possible because of our students and we try to reward their hard work by making impacts through funding and events in their local communities.”
The chapter has a longstanding commitment to serving people with disabilities though ongoing on- and off-campus programming along with significant fund-raising totals. Furthermore, it has had 10 or more participants on the Journey of Hope in each of the last three years and will have at least nine more in 2018.
Over the six years the chapter has been working in the special needs classes, it has donated $33,189 to the school through Circle of Giving and the most recent $5,000 grant. The Circle of Giving allows chapters to receive one quarter of their annual fund raising for a local charity that works alongside people with disabilities.
The fraternity is on pace to raise nearly $20,000 during 2017, which means up to another $5,000 should be available sometime in the spring semester.
For McBride, he found his passion for service while an undergraduate chapter member. He was involved in various chapter activities and twice (2015 and 2016) participated in Journey of Hope. He also did the inaugural Ability Experience Challenge event of riding across Europe during the summer of 2017.
Service is important, according to McBride. “It gives great perspective to students who can so easily get caught up in the bubble of life on a college campus,” he said. “It changed my life and even started my career on a path where I’m able to continue to help make a meaningful impact, and I’m grateful for that opportunity.”