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Mustangs - Fri, Feb. 28, 2014

DETROIT, Mich. -- Marygrove College men's soccer student-athlete Ysen Dalipi (Dearborn Heights, Mich.), one of three student-athletes to co-chair recent blood drives for William Pugh and the wellness department, has been selected with a unique opportunity to represent the Mustangs at a national level for the 2014 Red Cross/National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Collegiate Leadership Program. The two-week program will be held at the Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington D.C. in June.

"It means a lot to be selected for this opportunity since not many people get a chance to represent their college for something as important as this," said Dalipi in regards to his upcoming leadership summit. "I can't wait to go to D.C. and see what the NAIA/Red Cross Leadership Program has to offer."

"Tico" Dalipi is one of a handful of student-athletes from NAIA schools around the country chosen to participate in the annual event. In 2007, the American Red Cross, the NAIA, and State Farm Insurance established the innovative Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program. The program is intended to: exemplify core values of the NAIA Champions of Character program, inspire a new generation of Red Cross volunteers and leaders, promote diversity on the Red Cross Blood Region boards of directors, foster leadership opportunities; champion a philanthropic cause, and impact local communities.

The program kicks off every year in June with two weeks of energetic training at the Red Cross National Headquarters in the nation's capital. Student-athletes acquire first-hand coaching, mentoring and professional leadership training presented by senior Red Cross leadership and NAIA representatives.  They learn to organize successful campus blood drives, actively participate on a leadership board, and take part in diversity and cultural competency training.  In the past, student-athletes have received scholarship support provided by the Red Cross and State Farm Insurance.

"The Red Cross/NAIA Leadership Program is an exceptional opportunity for NAIA student-athletes to become involved in a national initiative and develop lifelong leadership skills," stated Jim Carr, president and CEO of the NAIA in a 2013 release. "The impact of this program is proven and is designed to incorporate the Champions of Character initiative. This partnership is unique to the NAIA and I look forward to its continued success."

Dalipi, along with fellow student-athletes Gaven King (Livonia, Mich.) and Kaitlyn Vigna (China Twp., Mich.), has been instrumental on campus at Marygrove with recent blood drive efforts. Since September of 2012, Marygrove has collected nearly 90 units of blood for a total of 270 lives potentially saved due to the outstanding efforts of Pugh and the student staff.

"I'm excited for Tico to get the opportunity to represent Marygrove at the national level," said Pugh. "He, along with Gaven and Kaitlyn, played a huge role in the recent success of our blood drives on campus. It is great to see our student-athletes contribute to a cause that saves lives."

Tico is the first Marygrove student-athlete to be selected for the program and will be joined by a representative from a fellow Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) institution in D.C. Last year, student-athletes from Davenport and Madonna represented the WHAC.

The next Marygrove blood drive is slated for Tuesday, April 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the northwest Detroit campus. More information regarding the blood drive will be posted on a week prior to the event.

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