Tracy Theissen drew a deep gasp when she found out that UNC students had raised enough money to provide her with a new Honda Odyssey minivan.
“No it’s not,” Theissen exclaimed when told the new van was hers. “I wasn’t prepared for that.”
The minivan, courtesy of Crown Honda at Southpoint, will help Theissen get around as she gives back to the community. Theissen works part-time driving and transporting things from the Special Olympics. She is also a breast cancer survivor in addition to being diabetic and struggling with fibromyalgia.
“I have so many doctor appointments that I have to make for my different conditions,” she said. “And the car that I presently have has systematically, everything has broken down. And I just, oh my gosh, I just can’t afford to fix it.”
Students in Jim Kitchen’s Launching the Venture course in he Kenan-Flagler Business School organized different operations throughout the last semester to help raise funds to purchase the van. The projects included selling glow sticks at UNC football games, partnering with other local businesses and giving away water bottles for donations.
Sean Petersen was one of the students who took the class in the fall. He says he is happy that the class went beyond profits to look at the benefit of giving back to the community.
“The thing that’s really admirable about Jim Kitchen is that what he really seeks to do is take the skills we’re learning in the business school and make sure that we’re always aware of the social impact we can have and how we can continue to give back to our communities.”
Safe to say that Theissen is just as happy to be on the receiving end of some assistance this time around.
“It’s amazing. I feel great. I’m so surprised and shocked,” she said. “It’s just a beautiful van, and I’m excited to have it.”
This is the sixth time that students from Kitchen’s class has given away a vehicle.