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AmeriCorps Inspires an Entrepreneur

July 28, 2014
Patrick McLoughlin

Patrick McLoughlin

Today’s guest post comes to us from Patrick McLoughlin, AmeriCorps Alumni (2010-2011) serving with the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky with the Build Corps team. He currently works in construction management in Chicago, Illinois, and recently co-founded Build Abroad. Patrick received his B.A. in Architecture from Miami University with a minor in entrepreneurship. During his time at Miami, he did a study abroad in Ghana, West Africa, helping design and build a school in the village of Abrafo Odumasi. 

Working with Midtown Alliance of Neighbors

Working with Midtown Alliance of Neighbors

The thing that I noticed while working with AmeriCorps was that construction projects make a very physical impact on a community. From 2010-2011, I was serving with AmeriCorps with the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky (HHCK). I was working on the “Build Corps” team, which did rehab and renovation work for low-income family homes. HHCK is in essence the “mother” organization for a number of smaller local organizations. I was working with the Midtown Alliance of Neighbors in Paducah, Kentucky, where I concentrated on serving local residents through repair and renovation projects. During my year with AmeriCorps, I helped do construction projects on dozens of projects for low-income residents and helped organize two “Repair Affair” days, which involved coordinating work on over 10 homes in a single day.

As an architecture graduate, I saw humanitarian construction as a very physical representation of how we can help those less fortunate.

As you can imagine, the work I did with AmeriCorps was very rewarding, and I wanted to find a way to give back to even more people. In one instance, I remember meeting a military vet whose roof was leaking in multiple places. There were literally tarps covering holes in his roof. Over a 1 week time period, we were able to provide him with a new roof and even rebuilt part of his front porch. As you can imagine, he was extremely gracious for all we did, and I love knowing that the work we did during that week is still making a difference today, almost 4 years later.

First Build Abroad trip to Costa Rica

Pat with volunteers from his Costa Rica trip

After I finished my year with AmeriCorps, I decided I wanted to get involved in similar types of construction projects. This past year I took a volunteer trip to Costa Rica to help local communities by doing construction work on a women’s shelter. Shortly after that, I co-founded Build Abroad.

The idea behind Build Abroad is to connect travelers with those in need, especially those travelers who can’t afford the full-time service commitment to AmeriCorps or Peace Corps. Through Build Abroad, we offer short-term volunteer construction trips to developing countries including Peru, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. We’ve built homes, schools, and orphanages and are excited to offer more volunteers the chance to travel and volunteer.

Build Abroad Volunteers

Build Abroad Volunteers

Serving with AmeriCorps after graduation was one of the most rewarding things I could have done, and it made me realize what I want to do for the rest of my life. I was able to use my skills to start a company that builds in developing countries. I hope that AmeriCorps guides you toward the path you’re meant to follow, and if you think that path might be with Build Abroad, find out how you can get involved today.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2014 11:19 am

    Reblogged this on Serve Illinois Commission and commented:
    This AmeriCorps Alum brings entrepreneurial talent and spirit of service to Illinois!

  2. November 20, 2014 6:43 pm

    what’s up thanks 4 writing this article as Im currently do’in extensive of lookn into this just now and this has help’d loads I hope u keep up the great effort

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