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IU Southeasts's Derek Gross Selected to Participate in Leadership Program

January 20, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Fourteen NAIA student-athletes have been selected to participate in the 2012-13 Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program. The initiative is now in its sixth year, and will inspire, motivate and create a new and diverse generation of American Red Cross volunteers and leaders through exemplifying the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character program. 

"Athletics plays such an important role in creating a sense of community on college campuses. 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 NAIA student-athletes," said Brian Hamil, Red Cross National Chair Biomedical Services. "Since its inception five years ago, the Red Cross has experienced over 8,500 first-time blood donors from NAIA schools participating in this program."

As part of its support of the Red Cross diversity initiatives, State Farm Insurance is sponsoring this partnership. The leadership program kicks off with two weeks of energetic training at the Red Cross National Headquarters located in Washington, D.C. from June 4 to June 15. The incoming class will participate in a rare and unique opportunity to acquire first-hand coaching, mentoring and professional leadership training presented by the Red Cross, one of the nation's largest non-profit organizations. In addition, Kristin Gillette, Director of Champions of Character, will hold character workshops during the two week leadership academy.

"Student-athletes selected for this program have an amazing opportunity to hone their leadership skills, build lifelong relationships and learn the necessary steps to carry out a lifesaving mission," said Gillette. "These student-athletes join an amazing group of Red Cross / NAIA Collegiate Leadership alum who over the years have increased the number of first time donors. I look forward to meeting these campus leaders in Washington, D.C. and following their impact once they return to campus."

This once-in-a-lifetime experience allows NAIA student-athletes to be a part of a team made up of young adults from NAIA campuses throughout the country. The program is part of a larger Red Cross diversity strategy for moving the Red Cross from awareness to action, building Red Cross capacity to serve all Americans.


Student-athletes will learn from civic and business leaders how to uncover their leadership potential off the field. The participants will organize successful campus blood drives, actively participate on a leadership board, and take part in diversity and cultural competency training. For their efforts, students will receive scholarship support provided by the Red Cross and State Farm Insurance.

The 2012-13 Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program participants are
Zach Aldrich, Baker University(Kan.), Tennis
Aaron Back, Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.), Wrestling
Tamara Bates, Philander Smith College (Ark.), Basketball
Derek Gross, Indiana University Southeast, Baseball
Taylor Hosna, Missouri Baptist University, Track & Field
Hannah Husmann, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Tennis
Kate Kendall, Illinois Institute of Technology, Volleyball
Emily Koch, Avila University (Mo.), Volleyball
Konner McIntire, MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.), Volleyball
Alec Meddings, Bethel University (Tenn.), Swimming
Kamari Palmer, Allen University (S.C.), Volleyball
Jacob Simmonds, Friends University (Kan.), Basketball
Baily Tom, Indiana Institute of Technology, Softball
Christian Wood, Southwestern Assemblies of God University (Texas), Basketball

To learn more about the Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program, please contact Kathy Busch (NAIA Champions of Character) at kbusch@naia.org or Jennifer Lourie (Red Cross Biomedical Services) at louriej@usa.redcross.org.

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Last year, almost a million volunteers and 35,000 employees helped victims of almost 75,000 disasters; taught lifesaving skills to millions; and helped U.S. service members separated from their families stay connected. Almost 4 million people gave blood through the Red Cross, the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The American Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work. To learn more visit www.redcross.org.

About the NAIA: The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is the governing body for athletics programs at colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada. The long-held mission is to advance character-driven intercollegiate athletics while promoting the education and development of well-rounded students and productive citizens through sport participation. The association offers equitable access and opportunities to more than 60,000 student-athletes for the chance to compete in its 23 national championship events held annually throughout the country.  

Today, the NAIA strengthens its commitment to student-athletes and strives to enrich their college experience by supporting academic achievement and character development. NAIA Champions of Character is the association's innovative flagship program designed to instill character values in student-athletes, coaches and youth in the communities it serves. To learn more visit www.NAIA.org.

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