Nini Meyer and Nibal Awad of Positive Tracks join the BSuite podcast with Anne Richardson.

Episode 9: Sweating for Good with Nini Meyer and Nibal Awad of Positive Tracks

In Episode 9 of the BSuite podcast, Anne interviews non-profit leaders Nini Meyer and Nibal Awad of Positive Tracks. Positive Tracks’ mission is to equip young people ages 12-25 with the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to change the world through physical activity. Anne, Nini, and Nibal explore the origins of Positive Tracks, break down what it means to “sweat for good,” and share inspiring stories about the youth participants who are getting out there and making a difference in their communities through inclusive athletic events.

There may not always be a finish line, but there's always a starting line.

Key Takeaways

Introducing Nini Meyer and Nibal Awad

Nini Meyer, CEO and founder of Positive Tracks, has always been passionate about athletics and active in her local area. She founded the organization in 2009 after helping her young sons organize a 5K event to support their friend who was ill. Nini continues to help guide young people who want to make a difference in their communities by connecting them with the resources they need to get started, a process she refers to as “finding the starting line.” 

Nibal Awad, the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Donor Impact at Positive Tracks, shares Nini’s passion for mentorship. As a first-generation American student, Nibal learned during her early years what it takes to overcome adversities and how important it is to step forward when opportunities arise. She channels this wisdom and courage into her work at Positive Tracks and as a mentor for first-generation students in her local community and at her alma mater, Roger Williams University.

“The World Is Run by Those Who Show Up”

Nini Meyer, CEO and founder of Positive Tracks, has always been passionate about athletics and active in her local area. She founded the organization in 2009 after helping her young sons organize a 5K event to support their friend who was ill. Nini continues to help guide young people who want to make a difference in their communities by connecting them with the resources they need to get started, a process she refers to as “finding the starting line.” 

Nibal Awad, the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Donor Impact at Positive Tracks, shares Nini’s passion for mentorship. As a first-generation American student, Nibal learned during her early years what it takes to overcome adversities and how important it is to step forward when opportunities arise. She channels this wisdom and courage into her work at Positive Tracks and as a mentor for first-generation students in her local community and at her alma mater, Roger Williams University.

Overcoming Fear with Sweat Activism

Anne asks the Positive Tracks team how the young people in their organization deal with fear of failure, a sensation well-known to entrepreneurs and adolescent athletes alike. With support from the team at Positive Tracks, their families, and their friends, the Positive Tracks youth captains learn how to overcome their fears in order to fundraise and build awareness for the causes they are passionate about. Athletic performance can be a source of anxiety for some teens, but Positive Tracks’ philosophy of “sweat activism” disrupts the stress of athletic competition by championing inclusive events that are accessible to participants with diverse abilities and backgrounds.

If you are a person that believes in the power of young people and know that if you give them the stage and the tools and the coaching to get them there, our mission and our work can be very powerful.

Youth Find an Entry Point with Positive Tracks

Many young people come to Positive Tracks with a clear idea about which causes or organizations they want to support but without the knowledge of how they can make a tangible difference. Nini shares the story of Cam, a youth captain who organized an obstacle course to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention. Participants in Cam’s obstacle event completed the course twice, the second time while carrying a heavy tire which represented the invisible weight borne by persons suffering from mental illness. Anne highlights the hope that lives within concrete, actionable steps that Positive Tracks offers to young people facing unprecedented uncertainty in today’s world.

Obstacles and Adversity Can Inspire Hope

Whether running a business with purpose like Richardson Media Group, operating a non-profit to encourage leadership like Positive Tracks, or organizing athletic events for meaningful causes like the youth captains, obstacles are guaranteed. Anne, Nibal, and Nini share stories and strategies for digging deep and finding grit in the face of adversities that range from uncooperative weather, to budget cuts, to pushback towards their values-based initiatives. The three women agree that when working towards a positive mission, traits such as persistence, scrappiness, and resilience have a ripple effect which can inspire hope on a grand scale. This ripple effect has helped the youth of Positive Tracks raise over 11 million dollars to date in support of the causes they care about. 

I always say once your heart has been stretched by going an extra mile especially on behalf of someone else, it never returns to its regular size.