Judson University softball player Maddie Smith has been chosen for the Red Cross/NAIA Leadership Program, along with 12 other student-athletes nationwide.
The initiative, now in its seventh year, continues to 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.
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Smith is one of two student-athletes chosen from Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference member schools for the leadership program. She is also the second Judson student to be chosen for this program since it began in 2007, following Stephanie Belokon, former Judson cross country athlete.
The experience allows NAIA student-athletes to become part of a team of volunteers made up of young adults from NAIA campuses across the country. The program is part of a larger Red Cross diversity strategy for moving the Red Cross from awareness to action, building the Red Cross' capacity to serve all Americans.
As part of the two-week training program, student-athletes will hear from civic and business leaders, learning how to uncover their leadership potential off the field.
Following their training, participants will organize campus blood drives, actively participate on a leadership board and take part in diversity and cultural competency training. For their efforts, each student-athlete will receive a scholarship provided by the Red Cross and State Farm Insurance.
The leadership program kicks off with two weeks of training at the Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington, D.C., June 2-13. The incoming class will have the opportunity to acquire first-hand coaching, mentoring and professional leadership training from one of the nation's largest nonprofit organizations' senior leaders.
In addition, Kristin Gillette, NAIA Champions of Character director, will hold character workshops during the two-week leadership academy.
"Student-athletes are seen as leaders on campus and this program strives to further develop their leadership skills by focusing on a lifesaving mission," said Brian Hamil, Red Cross National chair Biomedical Services.
"By having these student-athletes rally around the importance of donating blood through the Red Cross, they help spread enthusiasm and encourage other students to get behind the cause."