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franklin county times

Journey of Hope rolls into Meridian

By Staff
PUPPET SHOW Tony Alarcon, left, of University of California at Berkeley, and Jeremiah Haswell, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, stage a puppet show Wednesday night at Bonita Lakes Mall to teach children about people with disabilities. The college seniors are part of the Journey of Hope team and are biking across the country to raise awareness about people with disabilities. The group heads to Livingston, Ala., today. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
July 18, 2002
The Journey of Hope 2002 South Team arrived in Meridian on Wednesday on its way from San Francisco to Washington.
A group of 28 cyclists all of them college undergraduates and members of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity are peddling across the Southern United States with seven crew members.
The team has raised $350,000 for the fraternity's national outreach project, "Push America." The project provides services and education to promote a greater understanding of people with disabilities.
One of the cyclists, Jake Fehrman of Anderson, Ind., is a recent graduate of Purdue University. Even though the group is traveling 4,120 miles, he said the trip has been relaxing.
Fehrman said he and his team members have learned a lot of lessons by going to "friendship visits" set up in communities where they stop to meet with people who have disabilities.
He also said he appreciates his fraternity's philanthropy more since the trip began.
Mayor John Robert Smith met the team after its arrival at Meridian Community College and presented the members with a proclamation declaring Wednesday "Push America Day."
Chad Schroeder is a team crew member from Taylor, Texas, and a graduate of Southwest Texas State University. He said about 2 percent of the money raised will help cover the team's expenses while the rest will be distributed through various grants to help people with disabilities.
Another team of Pi Kappa Phi members is cycling across the Northern United States. The teams are scheduled to meet in Washington on Aug. 4, at the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
The team in Meridian performed a puppet show at Bonita Lakes Mall on Wednesday night for elementary-aged children. The show was designed to raise awareness of people with disabilities.

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