Thursday, April 4, 2013


I'm sure many of you remember my friend Mike McLaughlin from last years Appalachian Trail adventure that he hiked in order to raise funds for his "Hike4Kids" campaign.  In 6 months he raised almost $ 15,000.00 for underprivileged children.  Going by the trail name of Standing Bear he successfully thru hiked The Appalachian Trail and sent me regular blog posts about his journey and progress.  Here's the link to the first post if you missed them. 

Just search through my blog for links to the rest of the posts.  It was a really exciting series and if you missed them when they originally ran, you'll want to go back and read the posts.  This time Mike is up for another challenge that involves hiking to the top of 67 of our 4,000 foot east coast mountains and then cycling 4000 miles across America. For this event he's started a new group called "Unite4Kids."  Taken from the Unite4Kids website:

Unite4Kids is a movement with three primary goals:

(1) Raise awareness and be a voice for children who are neglected, abused, or mistreated

 (2) Raise funds for worthy charities that serve these children

 (3) Raise an army of volunteers for projects designed to help these children, such as YouthConnection and Unite4Kids

While we can never completely eradicate the mistreatment of children, we CAN change the outcomes for those children by giving them the tools and support to rise above the circumstances they were born into and go on to lead healthy and successful lives.

According to Mike....

"This summer I will be climbing 67 (4000 foot) mountain peaks to raise awareness for neglected and abused children.  My departure date for the 67 peaks in New England is July 20.  I chose that date because on July 19 I'm the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony for an alternative high school here in St. Louis.  The mascot for the school is a plush lion, which I'll be bringing to the summit of each mountain for a photo.  Also, my wife received permission from her employer to join me.  The last week of the mountains will be the week before Labor Day, and several students will be joining me then to climb the Presidentials in NH. Then I'm returning for a semester of school, but in March I'll be beginning the speaking tour as I bicycle across the country.  Several charities are lining up speaking engagements for me in cities I'll be cycling through so I can share my story and further raise awareness for abused and neglected children. " 

Here's what the schedule looks like now:
  • July-August 2013:  climb 67 four thousand footers
  • March-May 2014:  bicycle 4,000 miles across the U.S. 
Mike goes on to say, "The new schedule permits me to speak at high schools, MBA programs, and other venues along the way.  The goal is to create as much awareness as possible and I think fusing the bicycle trip with speaking engagements accomplishes this. 
I've hosted several events for at-risk youth at local agencies to directly help the kids, and I've been meeting with contractors at my university to link up youth who are aging out of foster care with entry-level jobs so they can successfully transition to adulthood.
Since the schedule opens up May-June 2013 for me, I have decided to finish my Appalachian Trail book during that time.  I have written about 80 pages so far and hope to have the first draft finished by July. "

Mike speaks from experience when it comes to abused children.  You can go here to see his video and hear his story.  Given Mike's track record, I have no doubt he will complete this challenge.  Stay tuned for more details as they develop.  I told Mike I'd be happy to cover this event here on Snug Harbor Bay.  If you'd like to contact Mike to arrange a speaking engagement, please contact him through the Unite4Kids website. 

Please check out Mike's "Unite4Kids" FB page and LIKE it.  You can also visit the Unite4Kids website for more information, to make a donation or to volunteer your time.  Please consider helping.

Good luck Mike!
(photos courtesy of Mike McLaughlin.  Do not use without permission)


  1. Quite a challenge, but he's obviously overcome bigger ones! A lot of strong, courageous people started out with abuse and neglect, but what a sad way to develop those strengths. We all need to do a better job of protecting our kids.

    By the way, I bought a pair of Vasque waterproof boots on your recommendation! Different style because I was too eager to wait for them to order a pair for me, but same great product. You were absolutely right, the toe box is FABULOUS -- my toes are claustrophobic, and they like these boots! Thanks, Kim. Now all I have to do is actually get out there and hike, lol.

  2. Wow, this sounds like a great adventure and very cause worthy. Thank you so much for popping in to see me and yep, we don't want to grow up!
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  3. I remember that series of posts, they were very interesting! :o)

    67 peaks in 2 months?! He's going to have to do more than one in a single day for some of them if he wants to finish! Will be a tough summer!

    Bravo on his new venture, I hope it's very successful!

    1. I can't wait to see how he does it too. Its going to be a challenge, that's for sure. But Mike is very strong willed. I'm betting on him!

  4. Go Mike. Finding your purpose and your passion then combining the two is an amazing way to live.

  5. What a great inspiration your friend is! J

  6. I'm wishing him great success, too! What an inspiration!


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