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DETROIT – Marygrove College men's soccer student-athlete Ysen Dalipi (Dearborn Heights, Mich.) couldn't wait to get to Washington D.C. after being selected in February to represent the College at June's American Red Cross/National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Collegiate Leadership Program. After arriving in our nation's capital earlier this week, "Tico" Dalipi showcased the leadership skills that landed him in D.C. when he volunteered to blog first out of the 13 participants in this year's program. Each day, participants in the leadership program add to the rotating blog to recap their time in D.C. and to shed light on the great work they are conducting for current and future Red Cross volunteers.

In 2007, the American Red Cross, the NAIA, and State Farm Insurance established the innovative American 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.

Already a dedicated volunteer for blood drives on campus, Dalipi's time spent in D.C. will allow him to bring new ideas and added energy to future drives on the northwest Detroit campus. Dalipi, along with fellow student-athletes Gaven King (Livonia, Mich.) and Kaitlyn Vigna (China Twp., Mich.), have helped Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine & Wellness, William Pugh, set record-after-record at recent blood drives. In a recent email, Dalipi thanked Pugh for the opportunity to attend the leadership program.

"We have been asked to fill our athletic administration in on our experience here in Washington D.C.," said Dalipi. "First off, I would like to start off by saying how privileged I am to represent the Marygrove community, and without the help of Mr. Pugh I would not be in this wonderful program right now. With that being said, this program is truly amazing and I have learned an unbelievable amount regarding leadership skills and how to better run a blood drive. Each day one of the 13 participants are asked to write a blog basically providing a biography about ourselves, what we are doing throughout the day, what we have learned and how we are improving our leadership skills."

Link to blog on the American Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program site

DALIPI'S BLOG
Hey everybody! My name is Ysen "Tico" Dalipi and I am currently participating in the American Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program in Washington D.C. I was born and raised in Dearborn Heights, Michigan which is a city located roughly 25 minutes outside Detroit. After graduating from Crestwood High School in 2010, I then attended Concordia University of Ann Arbor my freshmen year, then transferred over to Marygrove College, which is located in Detroit. I am currently pursuing a Bachelor in biology and a minor in chemistry. I hope that after graduating with these degrees, I will be accepted into Optometry School at Ferris State University located in Big Rapids, Michigan. Some things that I enjoy doing on my free time are playing just about any sport, however soccer otherwise referred to as "futbol" is my true passion. Truth be told, without soccer I probably would not be participating in this wonderful program because soccer is what introduced me to the National Athletics Intercollegiate Association (NAIA). The ability for any student to effectively perform in the classroom and on the game field, while maintaining friendships is no easy task. Personally, this is why I feel the Red Cross and the NAIA have partnered up and chosen 13 student athletes to participate in this program; simply because of their ability to lead themselves and potentially others into making wise decisions.

Although it was our second day together as a group, today marked the beginning of the Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program. After several weeks of excitement and anticipation for this program, the other participants and I made our way to the American Red Cross Headquarters where we began learning what the American Red Cross is set out to accomplish and how leadership skills of the entire staff affect the overall success of the organization. After we all entered the conference room, we found a binder including a complete and detailed itinerary of our next two weeks. I thought it was awesome that each of us had our own work station, binder, and ID that were labeled with our names. This made me feel like we were important and respected by this organization that is recognized worldwide. After getting settled in, Mr. Brian Hamil entered the room. Brian is the man that drives this program through pure determination and selflessness. After few minutes of introductions, I could instantly see how enthused and excited he was to meet us and make 13 new friends.

After having the pleasure of meeting Mr. Hamil, Ms. Stephanie Millian came into the room to give us an overview of Red Cross communications. Ms. Millian provided a number of interesting facts about the American Red Cross' overall mission and daily/ yearly accomplishments. One thing that I found to be most intriguing was the fact that the American Red Cross responds to a home fire every nine minutes. Another interesting fact was that the Red Cross has nearly 400,000 volunteers and on average they collect 15,000 blood products every day. Another thing that caught my eye was how dynamic they are in terms of the variety of programs they offer such as CPR First Aid, AED, Aquatics and even babysitting training. This just goes to show you exactly how important this organization is for cancer patients, disaster crises, etc. In fact, during Ms. Millian's presentation she provided a picture of a lady who has so much hope and relief in her eyes, while being covered by a Red Cross blanket. This picture perfectly describes what the Red Cross is all about.

Our last speaker of the day was Mr. Shaun Gilmore, who many know as the American Red Cross President of Biomedical Services. He came in to discuss some leadership qualities that should and should not be expressed, as well the basic overview of the Red Cross. His presentation was mainly geared toward an overview of the Biomedical Services part of the organization. We learned that the Red Cross collects plasma, red blood cells and platelets, which is why we normally hear that a person has the potential to save up to three lives with a donation. Mr. Gilmore then showed us a flowchart that depicted how blood is collected and then transferred into a patient who is in need.

Mr. Gilmore then provided us with some knowledge regarding leadership and how many individuals tend to abuse it. Some things that Mr. Gilmore mentioned that as a leaders we must follow are developing an ideal career path at an ideal time, seeking out help from an executive mentor, being optimistic when new assignments are presented, determining how to use our strengths effectively and lastly, surrounding ourselves with people who strive to be successful or have already succeeded in their career objective. Some things that he mentioned that are bad leadership qualities are acting like you are better then everyone, not seeking advice or counsel, trying to rush through everything, ignoring significant data and being a jerk. I am really trying to take this advice and use it in everyday life because Mr. Gilmore is a highly successful person who is highly experienced.

Roughly two to three weeks before we were scheduled to leave for the program, a book was sent to each of us and we were asked to have it read it before we came. This book is called "Winners Never Cheat" and was written by Jon Huntsman. The amount of insight that this book provided me was breathtaking. What I really enjoyed about this book was that Mr. Huntsman not only made doing business sound so easy, but also made tackling tough situations sound easy. How? By instilling honor, integrity, common decency and good morals/ethics into himself and others. After reading this book, I instantly wanted to become a better person, better leader, better friend, better son and a better brother regardless of the situation I am in. Mr. Huntsman stated in his book "The adherence to an ethical code is best defined as how one honors a bad situation or bad deal." I immediately thought back to how many situations that I dealt with without using the daily values that I was taught growing up. From here on out, I will begin to assemble a leadership code of behavior that I will attempt to follow for my whole life, because I feel that if everyone goes about their business using good ethics, morals and values, we can all become leaders in our own way.

After our first day at work, we made our way back to the dorms where we had the option of relaxing, working out, basically free time. After that time, we all met up and went out to eat at a delicious restaurant that was promoting the World Cup in Brazil this summer, so I found that very cool. After our meal, we then stopped at Trader Joe's, which is a food market that is very popular. We then made our way back to the dorms, and during our walk and even during the dinner, I was able to have some conversations with people I have not talked to too much since we arrived, and found out some interesting things. Everyone in the program has been extremely welcoming and considerate and if today was any indicator for the rest of the trip, we are in for a sweet treat!

 
 
 
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