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ATLF NEWSLETTER | SUMMER 2022

Updated: Jul 17


The Antonio Tsialas Leadership Foundation invites recent

high school graduates to make a journey

From Hazing to Compassionate Leadership

Recent high school graduates are invited to join a series of four online sessions to help young adults prepare for college life. Participants will learn about Antonio’s story, how to identify hazing, the consequences of alcohol misuse and hazing’s legal impact. Then, they will develop tools to not only avoid dangerous situations but to change the culture on campus by developing compassionate leadership and communication skills. Guest speakers from the Gordie Center and Stewart Tilghman Fox Bianchi & Cain, P.A. will share their expertise.

“These sessions are not simply a lecture,” says Flavia Tomasello. “Students bring their own experiences to our collaborative space. It is our goal that they leave the sessions ready for college and prepared to serve as ambassadors empowered to lead in a way that is inclusive, respectful and compassionate.”

Classes are held on Zoom, at 4pm on Sunday, July 31, Tuesday, August 2, Friday, August 5 and Monday August 8. All students class of 2022 are invited to participate, but size is limited to ensure a safe space to share ideas.

For more information, or to register please email info@antoniotsialasfoundation.org by July 22, 2022.


The ATLF Ambassador Program,

From Hazing to Compassionate Leadership


As I reflect on the ATLF Ambassador Program that started at the beginning of this past school year, the word that comes to mind is empowerment.

Empowerment that resulted from an immersion in a safe and generative space of awareness, learning, contemplation, communication, and collaboration.

As a group, we explored, for example, how we would like to be welcomed into a new group or organization. As we made space for this exploration and shared with authenticity, we touched a depth in our hearts and souls where hazing is just impossible; where saying no to hazing and yes to life is just the only obvious and natural response.

Having gone deep into multiple aspects and angles of the complexity of hazing, the ATLF Ambassadors’ communications are compelling, moving, transformational, and capable of evolving the ways of being in the world and relating to each other.

Florencia Maggi - ATLF Board Member


 

Being an ambassador for the Antonio Tsialas Leadership Foundation is one of the greatest honors I hold. Our meetings have not only given me the skills to be a compassionate leader, but also the ability to educate others on compassionate leadership. The foundation is expanding and moving in the right direction and participating has been an absolute pleasure. We are appointing more ambassadors, and we are planning to visit local schools to educate graduating seniors on hazing and making smart, safe and compassionate choices. The foundation is focused on making real change to prevent hazing and educate new leaders.

Jackson-ATLF High School Ambassador 2021-22


 

The Antonio Tsialas' Leadership Foundation Ambassadors program is a one-of-a-kind experience that has not only helped develop me as a person but more importantly as a compassionate leader. By communicating and working with people of all ages, backgrounds, cultures, etc., I have been put in positions that encourage me to put myself into others' shoes and look at life from a different perspective. The program helped provide me with the confidence and knowledge to communicate to others the importance of being a compassionate leader and what that entails. The concepts learned are very applicable to real-world situations and are something we may all face at some point in our lives. Each meeting was unique with different agendas, speakers, surprises and was overall always a great time. The meetings were a great breeding ground to connect and bond with others. All of the ambassadors are passionate people that care deeply about the foundation's mission and look for opportunities to develop it further whenever possible. I would recommend this to anyone but be ready because your life will be changed forever after it!

Michael-ATLF College Ambassador 2021-22


 

What does it mean to be a compassionate leader?

Many may hear the phrase compassionate leader and just assume it is someone who leads others with understanding. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Being a compassionate leader requires a focus on empathy and carefully listening to those they lead. Sometimes a compassionate leader may stay out of the spotlight if it is the best for the organization as a whole. Another attribute of this type of leader is honesty. They must be able to identify their shortcomings and be open to others about them. A prime example of compassionate leadership in practice is being an active bystander. When witnessing unethical behaviors or situations, a compassionate leader speaks out and takes action to stop the behavior or to prevent the situation from escalating and from occurring again. In many ways, being a compassionate leader may require putting others before oneself. Despite this, compassionate leaders also are empathetic towards themself and their needs. They accept challenges yet they do not overwhelm themselves with things to do. In the end, compassionate leadership requires a balance between the needs of others and the needs of oneself.

Athena-ATLF High School Ambassador 2021-22


 

The Antonio Tsialas Leadership Foundation (ATLF) has its roots in love, tragedy and hope.


For 18 years, Antonio’s compassionate leadership touched many hearts. He was an accomplished leader who embraced and respected life. On the soccer field, he was known to be friendly and supportive to new players and would welcome new students both at his teams and schools with genuine warmth and compassion. As a talented goalkeeper, he always told his teammates, “Go and play; do your best; I have your back.” It was too bad no one had his back the night of his passing at Cornell University.

His sudden and tragic passing shed light on hazing, a very dark issue affecting colleges for over a century. When Antonio passed away after attending a dirty rush event that involved hazing and forced alcohol consumption, ending these secretive and dangerous rituals became our life’s work.

Changing this toxic culture is urgent. We cannot afford to ignore this form of youth violence. We cannot stay quiet or remain in the shadows. Antonio’s passing was shrouded in secrecy. It is that secrecy and silence that has allowed hazing to continue for over a century. We saw first-hand the lack of accountability and leadership from the organizations we trusted to keep our children safe. It became clear that educating young adults about the dangers of hazing and lifting the veil of secrecy by normalizing the reporting of inappropriate behavior was crucial to ending primitive rituals that kill and harm young people every year. But, perhaps even more importantly, we want to change the culture by redefining leadership, thus helping the next generation develop healthy traditions and inclusive organizations.

We created ATLF to raise awareness about hazing and educate a new kind of leader. A vital part of achieving that mission is the ATLF Ambassador program that creates a virtual and safe space for our students to grow, evolve, collaborate, learn and understand the journey from hazing into compassionate leadership. Our vision is to inspire young adults everywhere to become compassionate leaders who recognize the power of diversity, equality and inclusion as keys to success in an ever-changing world.

Ambassadors participate in a series of compassionate, open and generative conversations exploring not only the root causes of hazing, but the characteristics of healthy organizations, conflict resolution, transforming challenges into opportunities, as well as compassionate collaboration and communication. This knowledge will empower them to become leaders who not only end hazing but to take action against all suffering. The group also supports them in making safe and compassionate personal choices. We hope to inspire each of our ATLF Ambassadors to share our message with their schools, teams and organizations. Our ATLF Ambassadors dynamically interact in ways that create stronger cohesion and long-lasting relationships based on trust, safety and respect for one another.

Hazing is a complex issue that requires collective action. We are grateful for the support of compassionate and caring individuals and communities. Our goal is a cultural change from a primitive and abusive tradition into a more evolved, nurturing, inclusive, diverse and compassionate culture. It is time to say NO to hazing and YES to life.

Flavia Tomasello-ATLF Co Founder

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