Last summer, Luke T. Kues MPH ’24 made it through a competitive process to become one of 15 Do Good Accelerator Fellows. Driven by a passion for public health and wellness, Kues balances academics with an executive director position at True Community, a nonprofit he founded in 2020 to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and wellness training internationally.
Accelerator Fellows participate in an eight-week course through the Do Good Institute where they test, scale and execute their ventures, working with field experts and networking with their peers. Kues recently shared his experience on the impact of his fellowship.
Tell me about True Community.
When you are well, I am well. The idea of True Community and the tree in our logo comes from that concept. If one tree is well, it can support others by sharing its nutrients. Through individual and community wellness, we too can support each other and help one another grow. We have that beautiful opportunity at the School of Public Health—we are surrounded by other people who are growing and learning. The more connected we are with each other, the more we can grow.
What does service look like when you go into a community?
We first started our initiative at universities. After talking with each university’s students and staff, we created a program designed to address students’ perceived needs and expand access to lifesaving skills. We do a lot of partnerships. For example, every February we partner with my fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, to host a program called Saving Lives with the Alphas. Each February we partner with 15 chapters throughout the midwestern region of Alpha and work with them to host free CPR trainings on campus and in local communities.
This year, we’re aiming to reach 300 people with 30 training sessions.
Through individual and community wellness, we too can support each other and help one another grow. We have that beautiful opportunity at the School of Public Health—we are surrounded by other people who are growing and learning.
What did you learn as an accelerator fellow that you would like to apply to True Community?
I learned how to effectively pitch True Community and different initiatives like the Black Stars Wellness Initiative, a worldwide wellness tour beginning in Ghana, to stakeholders. I was given resources and feedback that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to access.
What was the most rewarding part of the program?
The most rewarding part was creating the vision for Black Stars Wellness, getting the feedback and help from the accelerator to properly plan and make sure everything was lined up for it and then watching what we talked about on paper come alive in the community.
What advice would you give to a UMD student interested in joining or starting a nonprofit?
You just gotta go for it. There is never gonna be a perfect time. Establish a clear vision and talk to as many people as possible and get their feedback.
Want to Do Good? Student applications are open until February 12! Apply here.
- School of Public Health
- Department of Behavioral and Community Health