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Fifteen NAIA student-athletes had the experience of a lifetime earlier this month, thanks to the American Red Cross, the NAIA and State Farm Insurance.
Now in its sixth year, the Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program continues to inspire, motivate and create a new and diverse generation of Red Cross volunteers and leaders.
The NAIA student-athletes selected to participate in the program just completed two weeks of leadership training at Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C. There, student-athletes received mentoring and coaching from senior leadership of the Red Cross, along with a heavy schedule of leadership activities.
They also learned from civic and business leaders how to successfully organize campus blood drives, and they took part in diversity and cultural competency training. They also received a Champions of Character presentation by NAIA staff members that was designed to help them exemplify the core values of the NAIA Champions of Characters program-integrity, respect responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
The next step of the program is for these student-athletes to go back into their communities and promote and support the Red Cross. Last year's class sponsored 10 blood drives, recruited 624 first-time donors and contributed to an overall increase of 33 percent in the number of units collected by the Red Cross.
"The work being done on campuses throughout the country as a result of this program not only saves lives but has a huge impact on these young men and women who participate," said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO.
As part of the program, the student-athletes will receive scholarship support from the Red Cross and State Farm.
This is the sixth year of the partnership, which is unique to the Red Cross and the NAIA. Brian Hamil, who serves as the Red Cross National Chair, Biolmedical Sciences, noted that this partnership is a great opportuniy to combine leadership and service.
"Athletics play such an important role in creating a sense of community on college campuses," Hamil said. "The partnership with the NAIA has created a rich opportunity to connect campus communities with the life-saving mission of the Red Cross through the energy of the NAIA student-athletes."
This program is part of a larger Red Cross diversity strategy moving the Red Cross from awareness to action and building the Red Cross' capacity to serve all Americans. Look for application information on NAIA.org this fall.
Student-athletes attending the Red Cross/NAIA Leadership Program
|Zach Aldrich||Baker University||business major, tennis|
|Aaron Back||Lindsey Wilson College||Recreation tourism, sport management major, wrestling|
|Tamara Bates||Philander Smith College||biology major, women's basketball|
|Derek Gross||Indiana University Southeast||business finance major, baseball|
|Taylor Hosna||Missouri Baptist University||physical education major, track, field|
|Hannah Hussman||Nebraska Wesleyan University||political science, Spanish major, tennis|
|Kate Kendall||Illinois Institute of Technology||political science major, volleyball|
|Emily Koch||Avila University||nursing major, volleyball|
|Molly Knight||Marian University||finance major, golf|
|Alec Meddings||Bethel University||physical education major, swimming|
|Konner McIntire||MidAmerica Nazarene University||corporate communications major, volleyball|
|Clayton O'Neil||Southwestern Assemblies of God University||marketing major, basketball|
|Kamari Palmer||Allen University||biology major, volleyball|
|Jacob Simmonds||Friends University||physical therapy major, basketball|
|Baily Tom||Indiana Institute of Technology||business administration major, softball|