Mar 06, 2017

MBAs Volunteer on Board for Local Nonprofit Positive Tracks

Helena Nannes T'17By Helena Nannes T’17

I’m a list person. So, naturally, when I came to Hanover, I had a list of things that I couldn’t imagine graduating from Tuck without experiencing. At the top was the Revers Board Fellow Program—an opportunity for Tuck students to sit as non-voting members (voting vs. non-voting status is up to the organization) on the boards of local nonprofits and work with them on projects that can add value to their organizations. The chance to give back to the Hanover community coupled with experiential learning made the Revers Program a perfect complement to my classroom education at Tuck.

A number of local organizations participate in the Revers Program and we’re lucky here in Hanover to have a chance to get to know them all through a wide variety of volunteer opportunities. When I first learned about Positive Tracks, I knew it was the perfect fit. Positive Tracks helps youth get active and give back. The organization and its founders believe that kids need fun, active pathways to help causes they care about. At Positive Tracks’ core is the belief that doing good is good for you, and that nothing rivals the power of sport to mobilize and unite people of all backgrounds and demographics. As a former college athlete myself, I knew “Sweat for Good!” was a mantra I could get behind. I am one of two board fellows with Positive Tracks, and my classmate Nikki Burns T’17 and I have had an absolute blast.

My work with Positive Tracks began in the second half of my first year and is still ongoing. The team at Positive Tracks is inspiring and ambitious, and we’re constantly working on an assortment of different initiatives as the organization seeks to become a national—and hopefully one day global—movement. One of these initiatives is understanding how to measure and share the effects that Positive Tracks has on youth. We’re working with independent evaluators from the University of Michigan and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation who have found that Positive Tracks’ programs lead to youth feeling increased confidence as leaders, increased empathy and perseverance, and enhanced fitness.

Another important initiative we’re focused on is how to bring Positive Tracks to more communities and touch more lives throughout North America. We recently worked with Tuck Professor Steve Kahl as well as other community members and youth on a design thinking exercise to devise new ways to reach communities outside of our own. Nikki and I work with Positive Tracks on the real-world business problems that organizations face, and we use our Tuck education to provide additional perspectives, guidance, and strategic thinking to the boardroom. Being a part of an organization that cares so deeply for kids and getting active makes it easy to jump on board. Before we graduate, one of our goals for Positive Tracks is to develop an even deeper connection to the Tuck community through opportunities such as youth mentorship programs, executive “power hours” for strategic brainstorming, and Tuck-based teams for local athletic events where Positive Tracks already has a presence, such as the CHaD Hero Half Marathon.

Facilitating opportunities for kids to lead through getting active and giving back is something everyone can get behind. With a message this strong and a leadership base so inspiring, I know that I’ll stay involved with Positive Tracks long after I’ve left Hanover. It’s incredible to think that as a 27 year-old I’m sitting on the board of a nonprofit, but the Revers Program has made that possible. The program enables Tuck students to leave a mark on Hanover in hopes of empowering organizations like Positive Tracks to leave a mark on the rest of the world.