AIM plans to conquer the Grand Canyon photo: Brad McGarry hikes the canyon with his photo: Brad McGarry hikes the canyon with his son.

Want to travel and help others simultaneously?

The Asperger Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM) is set to have a unique experience to raise money and awareness for their program.

The program will hold a trip throughout the state of Arizona and the Grand Canyon from May 20-24, for 15-20 students, faculty and staff members who may be interested in experiencing the Grand Canyon and its surroundings.

A few spots are also open to any members of the public who wish to go along.

“Conquer the Canyon” is an agency in Arizona that helps non-profit programs raise money and awareness. The agency does this by holding hiking adventures for groups and individuals.

Most of the people the agency does this for are those who suffer from things such as genetic disorders, homelessness, diabetes, poverty and cancer.

The trip is being led by AIM Director Brad McGarry.

McGarry thought it would be a great idea to hold a trip like this for students who are a part of the AIM program after having the experience himself back in 2010 with his 9-year-old son Connor, who suffers from a rare genetic disease called Angelman syndrome.

According to McGarry, the experience was very rewarding.

“The reason we do this is to raise awareness for the asperger programs here at Mercyhurst, get youths and college students away from technology and back into nature, and get some exercise,” McGarry said. “We’re also making this a social skills venture for people who are fund-raising in a difficult and awkward situation because social interaction is difficult from an autism and Asperger point of view.”

AIM will host several fundraisers in order to raise funds for the Conquer the Canyon trip. One fundraiser was held at Bob Evans restaurants in Erie on Dec. 8 and 11 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. Bob Evans will donate 15 percent of its sales from those who came in with a Conquer the Canyon flier.

AIM will also host Night at the Erie Bayhawks on Monday, Jan. 28. A percentage of the ticket sales from that game will go towards the trip.

Individuals may also sponsor and donate money to anyone who goes on the Conquer the Canyon trip. If there isn’t a specific individual you would like to send money to, you can still donate to the trip in general.

Please visit the if you would like to take part in this.

If you would like to know more information about the Conquer the Canyon trip, please contact Brad McGarry at (814)-824-2451 or