I am inspired by Patti Vile – and I’m proud to present her as your latest Girl Who Is Changing The World!
Patti was horrified by the damage in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Between the storm itself, the broken levees, and the terrible flooding, she was shocked that part of her own country was so devastated. Even though she was safe and dry almost a thousand miles away on the North Shore of Chicago, she knew she wanted to help.
In March of 2007, not long after it was safe to travel there, she led a group of 19 volunteers on a volunteer tour to help rebuild the city. Even eighteen months after the hurricane, the scale of the destruction shocked the group. Thousands of homes were destroyed, and thousands more needed to be completely gutted before they could be rebuilt due to mold and insulation problems. After a powerful trip of only six days, Patti knew she had found her new lifework.
Shortly after returning, Patti came out of retirement to start her own nonprofit: Volunteer Expeditions. As the president, she plans and organizes volunteer tours for groups from all over the country to have as passionate an experience as she had. She plans each trip to the individual needs and interests of the volunteer group without ever taking a salary for herself. Most of her groups have been religious congregations, youth groups, and student groups. By the end of 2012, she will have been responsible for 43 groups’ efforts to help rebuild New Orleans – which is over 1200 people!
Patti and her volunteers gut, prep, and paint standing homes; build, insulate, and paint new homes; serve in food kitchens; sort and distribute at a local food bank; clear fields and parks; volunteer in the Bayou; and more. The city is still in need of significant help, and Patti’s inspiring work helps to reduce the number of homeless and hungry people.
Patti is an unstoppable force. She has since expanded her organization to include trips to tutor in Jamaica and soon to help the homeless in Chicago and Washington, DC. The thought of turning 70 in May doesn’t slow her down one bit! She genuinely loves being able to help others – and it shows.
For more information or to start planning your trip, check out Volunteer Expeditions’ website at www.volunteerexpeditions.org or email Patti at email@example.com today!
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Written by Guest Contributor: Allison Bernstein
~Allison Bernstein is an avid fan and employee of Patti’s. She has been thrilled to work with this amazing woman and in her spare time enjoys writing, reading, watching Community and How I Met Your Mother, petting her cat, and saving up funds to travel.
**If you know a super rad girl that you would like to nominate for our ‘Girls Who Are Changing the World’ feature, send them to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org