Mike McLaughlin hiked more than 2,500 miles to raise money for children.
Mike McLaughlin has had a difficult life. The second-year MBA student at Olin Business School was emotionally and physically abused as a child — a tragedy in its own right, but one he says helped prepare him for future challenges.
“I felt so helpless when I was younger,” McLaughlin said. “But now I’m in a position where I can fight back and do something that has a direct impact on the lives of so many kids.”
While at Washington University, McLaughlin formed his own organization, Hike4Kids. During the spring and summer of 2012, he became what is believed to be the first person to through-hike the entire Appalachian and Ozark trails back-to-back, a trip of more than 2,500 miles. His hike helped raise more than $15,000 for abused and neglected children in Africa and for the St. Louis Family Resource Center, which provides court-ordered interventions for dysfunctional families.
But McLaughlin didn’t stop there. Upon returning to campus, he formed Unite4Kids, a nonprofit group connecting at-risk children with clothing, life skills and employment to put them on a path to success.