Why I Give — Dan Jones

Why I Give: Dan Jones

We recently sat down with Pi Alpha Dan Jones to discuss why he gives to The Ability Experience and why he is a 77 Society donor. He had so much to share!

Dan’s choice to give is inspiring and has directly affected him as a professional and as a dad. He has been giving a recurring gift to The Ability Experience since 2015. That’s 4 consecutive years of support that we are incredibly lucky to have – and this is what he had to share about what his engagement means to him.

Hi Dan! Tell us a little about yourself.

Dan: Hi, I’m Dan Jones. I’m from Fort Myers, FL and live in Harrisburg, NC with my wife, Bridget and our two children, Conor (14) and Aubrey (12). I work at TIAA as an Application Development Manager.  Fun Fact: I proposed to Bridget on the steps of the Capitol at the end of the JOH 2000.

What Ability Experience summer event(s) did you participate in and the year?

Dan: Journey of Hope (South) 2000

Why did you participate in our summer leadership service program(s) so many years ago? 

Dan: I was able to participate in a couple of local Push America events as an undergrad at UCF and enjoyed the experience.  I saw Journey of Hope as a way to end my college career and as a great way to continue to work with people with disabilities and challenging myself physically.  I was an opportunity I would never get again.

How did your summer experience(s) with the organization change the way you view people with disabilities?  Dan: It has framed the way I view people with disabilities by learning to focus on their abilities. It has also laid a foundation as a father and the way I talk with my kids about those with disabilities.

What do you like most about our servant leadership programming for students?

Dan: Leaders in the organization are all in. I always looked up to everyone who I met who led the organization and their clear passion for the mission. They truly care and will do whatever it takes to support undergrads to ensure they are able to participate and get the most out of their experience.

What motivates you to give back? 

Dan: I love giving back in this way because I don’t want anyone in the fraternity who wants to experience the programs which The Ability Experience provides to not be able to participate. Just a single event can change perspectives about those with disabilities which can cascade through that person’s life and those he speaks to in his current and future family. 

Please tell us about any specific success that your involvement with The Ability Experience helped you achieve, and how.

Dan: Beyond gaining a greater appreciation of those we serve, the trip challenged me mentally and physically and gave me confidence in what I can do when I dedicate myself. I believe Journey of Hope demonstrated to organizations this dedication and helped me get my first job offer out of school. 

How would you recommend new participants make the most of their summer leadership program experience? 

Dan: This is an easy one. If doing a cycling event, don’t take the physical aspects lightly! I was not prepared to the level I needed to be for the type of day to day strenuous effort required. It wasn’t until Arizona until I got my legs under me and was able to truly take in the whole experience of the event. The trip is about those you are serving and those you are making aware of those with disabilities. Don’t let lack of preparation get in the way of why you are really there.