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Griffith Selected for National Leadership Training

February 10, 2011

The leadership program kicks off with two weeks of energetic training at the Red Cross National Headquarters located in Washington, D.C., from June 5-18. 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, Lori Thomas, NAIA senior vice president for Champions of Character, and Kristin Gillette, director of Champions of Character, will hold character workshops during the two-week leadership academy.

Griffith, a sophomore goalkeeper from Parker, Colo., is a President's Honor Roll student at OBU and played in six games this fall for the Lady Bison.

"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. "As we enter our fifth year of the program, we remain grateful for the continuing financial support of State Farm Insurance."

"We are extremely proud of the relationship we have built with the American Red Cross and State Farm Insurance. Student-athletes selected for this leadership academy have an amazing opportunity to further their skill sets, build lifelong relationships while carrying out a very important mission," said Lori Thomas, NAIA senior vice president for membership and character initiatives. "To know that over 50 NAIA student-athletes produced an increase of blood drives on college campuses, an increase of blood collections and brought in more than 2,000 first-time donors is incredible and we could not be more proud."

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 2011-12 Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program participants are: Rachel Blonsky (Carlow University, Pa. / Softball / Greater Alleghenies Blood Region); Hannah Martin (Central Christian College, Kan. / Softball / Central Plains Blood Region), Julie Teepal (Columbia College, S.C. / Volleyball and Basketball / Missouri-Illinois Blood Region); Shannon Griffith ( )(Oklahoma Baptist University / Soccer / Southwest Blood Region); Whitney Sweet (Taylor University, Ind. / Volleyball / Indiana-Ohio Blood Region); Randon McNeil (Mount Vernon Nazarene University, Ohio / Baseball / Central Ohio Blood Region); Stephanie Belokon (Judson University, Ill. / Cross Country / Heart of America Blood Region); Cameron Mettenbrink (Hastings College, Neb. / Wrestling / Midwest Blood Region); Jazmine Green (Fisk University, Tenn. / Volleyball / Tennessee Valley Blood Region); Devon Golden (Georgetown College, Ky. / Basketball / River Valley Blood Region); and Lauren Buckles (Ottawa University / Basketball and Track & Field / Central Plains Blood Region ).

To learn more about the Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program, please contact Kathy Busch (NAIA) at or Jennifer Lourie (Red Cross Biomedical Services) at