Oct. 28, 2009

ATLANTA, Ga. - Women's basketball senior Talareah Frazier (Gaithersburg, Md.), men's tennis senior Rashad James (Charlotte, N.C.) and Director of Student-Athlete Services Danita Townsend traveled to Atlanta this past weekend to participate with 200 other NCAA Division I student-athletes for leadership development and to partner with local elementary school children, teachers and parents to complete a beautification project at two elementary schools.

Frazier and James are the Captains of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) while Townsend is the advisor.

"After this conference, I now have a better understanding of what it takes to be an effective leader," said James. "I gained an appreciation of my personal values which are essential in my quest of becoming an effective leader."

On Saturday, Oct. 24, the student-athletes volunteered their time to join with Atlanta community organizations, including Keep Atlanta Beautiful, on a beautification project at Mary Lin and Burgess-Peterson elementary schools. The goal of the project was to create a more environmentally friendly surrounding and to promote leadership and positive lifestyles for the youth.

The theme of the Atlanta regional leadership conference was "Leadership Through Service," and included discussion and training on how student-athletes can lead while in college and transcend those skills to leadership roles after graduation. The student-athletes are able to take what they learn back to their campuses to inform their respective SAACs and promote positive change at their schools.

"The conference also revealed the significance of giving back as a form of leadership," stated James. "If one is to be an effective leader, one needs to give back to their family, team, school, community and/or society in general."

The NCAA sponsors regional leadership development conferences for its student-athletes in Division I, II and III that help develop the skill sets of the student-athletes, while also providing a forum for them to discuss campus and national issues with coaches, athletics administrators and faculty.



"I am thankful that I had the opportunity to attend this year's conference," James commented. "I was able to meet and interact with athletes from various schools, as well as from the MEAC. This conference has allowed me to gain leadership skills necessary not only for athletics, but also for life."