Hiking the Appalachain and Ozark Trails back-to-back last year was just the beginning for MBA student Michael McLaughlin. This summer, Mike is carrying the Hike4Kids flag (and others), to the top of all 48 four thousand-foot peaks in New Hampshire to bring attention to the needs of abused and abandoned children around the world.
Here’s Mike’s first blog post from New Hampshire:
Upon reaching the summit of Katahdin after a 4,200 foot climb last September, I retrieved a flag from my tattered pack and proudly displayed it as the wind whipped furiously.
I soon found that the photo of this Hike4Kids flag was an inspiration to many, not just because I brought it to a unique place but rather because it symbolized the tremendous communal effort that took place to change children’s lives.
Some people would have never thought that such an initiative might be born out of a business school, or that it would extend its influence as far as it did, but this was the magic of Hike4Kids… and all of that magic and inspiration was somehow encapsulated in the photo of the Hike4Kids banner flying high on the final mountain of the Appalachian Trail.
Ryan and Kimbrell Rakestraw brought that same flag halfway around the globe and carried it to the snowy peak of Mount Kilimanjaro where some of that same magic was recaptured again.
The inspiration surrounding Hike4Kids extended not only to the community at large, but also to the Olin MBA applicant pool, and thankfully resulted in Abhishek Chakravarty coming to Olin this past fall. Abhi hails from a poor, rural section of India in which many children do not even learn to read, and his goal in life is to one day return home and give those children the opportunities they so desperately need.
He said his dream is to one day bring the Hike4Kids banner to the summit of Mt. Everest, but we decided to start small and bring it to the top of every peak in New England that is at least 4,000 feet tall.
But this time, I’m bringing multiple flags, each one representing an amazing organization that has partnered with Hike4Kids along the way and has helped serve the needs of underprivileged children.
Flags for Foster Care India, Marygrove, the Family Resource Center, TeamMBA, and Unite4Kids are bundled in my pack as I climb toward each summit. Rain or shine, each flag will be displayed on each summit, and at the end of the journey I plan to make a video montage for each organization that shows photos of their flag on each summit along with a brief explanation of what their organization does and why I chose to carry their flag.
But the best part is, I will not be alone on those summits. My wife will be joining me, as well as Abhi and another dedicated, compassionate student named Saurabh Singh.
And on each summit, I will never lose sight of the fact that many of you are with us in spirit, as your contributions, kindness, and encouragement have made all this possible and in so doing changed the lives of countless children.
We can, and will, change the world.