August 2, 2017

A Lesson in Leadership

In our continuing effort to be an institution for training future leaders in the field of nutrition, MANNA is hosting a fellow from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fox Leadership Program.

Meet Sam Follansbee, a Senior at Penn. Sam is studying philosophy, politics, and economics, with concentrations in public policy and governance, and plans to attend law school after graduation. Sam, a linebacker for Penn’s varsity football team, serves as President of Penn’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee and heads the Penn chapter of Uplifting Athletes, a national nonprofit that uses the platform of athletics to raise money and awareness for rare disease research. We’ve been very grateful to Sam for all his hard work this summer and would like to share his experience in his words.

This past spring, the Fox Leadership Program offered me a summertime fellowship opportunity with MANNA. The Fox program engages in various civic initiatives, including the sponsorship of fellowships for Penn undergraduates and recent alumni. The program encourages students to consider the lessons in leadership and life modeled by Robert A. Fox: find your passions; put people first; and succeed the right way. After working for, and learning from MANNA and their staff, it has become clear to me that there is no greater embodiment of these lessons than the endeavor that is MANNA and their food as medicine movement.

Since I began my time with MANNA in June, I’ve had the privilege to work on projects ranging from drafting, disseminating and analyzing data from MANNA’s Client Satisfaction survey, to aggregating the number of meals and clients MANNA has served over the years based on their geographic location. The latter project led me to discover that, in the last decade, MANNA has cooked and delivered over 7.5 million meals to individuals fighting life-threatening diseases. I hope my time at MANNA will help them to continue to effectively improve the health of the communities they serve through their medically appropriate meals and nutrition services.