Cyclists stop in Ames to promote disability awareness

Tomy Hillers

Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members stopped in Ames to promote

awareness about disabled people at the Ames Boys and Girls


The 27 Journey of Hope cyclists from across the nation rode into

Ames Monday as part of their 53 stops between California and


Jay Lettow, member of the ISU chapter of Pi Kappa Phi, said Ames

was near the halfway point of their ride. The group has already

traveled nearly 2,400 miles, trying to form friendships along the


“We make `friendship visits’ where we try to raise awareness for

people with disabilities,” said Lettow, sophomore in graphic

design. “We do this through softball games and puppet


The puppet show,”Kids on the Block,” shows that people with

disabilities are not different from others, Lettow said.

“In each skit there is one character who has a disability and one

character who is an average person,” he said. “There are three

characters who have different disabilities. One is a boy who is

blind, one is a girl who has Down’s syndrome, and the third is a

boy with cerebral palsy.”

Joe Rogenstein, director of public relations for the ride, said the

“Kids on the Block” puppet show attracted more than 100 children

to the Ames Boys and Girls Club Monday afternoon.

Lettow said one girl he met this summer helped him understand

the principle his group promotes.

“The best experience I have had so far came from a visit with a

13-year-old in Colorado,” Lettow said. “She was non-verbal, yet

through her mother’s sign language we were able to

communicate. I discovered we both enjoyed being a part of the

crowd and attending high school basketball games.”

Now in its 14th year, Journey of Hope is expected to raise more

than $350,000 for people with disabilities. Lettow said he raised

$6,000 for the ride.

Journey of Hope director of community and corporate events John

Powers said one goal is to provide disabled people with exciting

events to participate in with the cyclists.

“We often escort local organizations to baseball games or host

dances and barbecues,” he said. “We also try to highlight local

efforts on behalf of people with disabilities.”

Besides stopping in Ames, the Journey of Hope bikers stopped at

Camp Sunnyside, a camp for children with disabilities, in Des


“This assists in making the community aware of local

organizations and supporting those with special needs,” Powers