MLA students help woman battling Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

On March 15, 2013, Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy (MLA) students Melissa Dosil and Dan Aliotta facilitated a bone marrow donor drive at the College of Staten Island (CSI). They educated all interested people about the process of becoming a potential marrow donor by distributing information and answering questions. Melissa and Dan’s drive – sponsored by the bone marrow organization “Gift of Life” – was successful in registering 20 new potential donors to the national bone marrow registry. Read More


During a bone marrow drive, a tissue sample is collected from a donor using a mouth swab and sent to a lab for human leukocyte antigen (marrow) typing. Once the sample is collected, the donor is entered into the national database and remains on the registry until his or her 61st birthday. If a donor is identified as a potential match, they are contacted for further testing. If after testing a donor is determined to be a match, the donor is asked to donate bone marrow or blood cells to someone in need.


Malave Leadership Academic - Melissa DosilMelissa and Dan had originally conducted their bone marrow drive as part of a CUNY-wide initiative. However, Melissa and Dan – now MLA alumni – were recently informed that a donor recruited at their drive was identified as a match for a 59 year old woman battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Lymphomas are types of cancers derived from lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Non-Hodgkin lymphomas are a diverse group of blood cancers, which could be treated using bone marrow or blood cells from specific donors.

According to statistics from “Gift of Life”, the chances of being a match after joining the registry are approximately 1 in 40. Melissa and Dan were lucky to find a match for this cancer patient, especially since they registered only 20 new potential donors during their drive. The Malave Leadership Academy is extremely happy that these students’ hard work and recruitment efforts for the bone marrow drive yielded a match that is so difficult to find.

Guests from Burundi Africa speak to MLA students about “Keeping Dignity”

On October 24th, 2014, Gordien Ndizeye, David Rurama, and Alberic Wege shared their story with MLA students about a program they started entitled “Keeping Dignity – Garukira Ubuntu.” Their program is a community based Non-Government Organization (NGO) that supports youth and elderly initiatives in the East African country of Burundi. The guest speakers were kind enough to share insights about their culture and traditions, as well as how they engaged community members to create positive change. Read More


MLA -Gordien Ndizeye

Gordien Ndizeye, David Rurama, and Alberic Wege sharing their story with MLA students

“Keepping Dignity – Garukira Ubuntu” originated as a result of a civil war between the Hutu and the Tutsi tribes in Burundi. The war lasted from 1993 to 2005. More than 300,000 people have died due to the conflict. Ndizeye, Rurama, and Wege also spoke during the 2014 Young African Leadership Symposium held at John Jay College on October 10th, 2014.


MLA - Studens and Staff

Malave Leadership Academy students and staff with Laura Garcia, Principal of the Ella Baker School, Gordien Ndizeye, David Rurama, and Alberic Wege from “Keeping Dignity – Garukira Ubuntu”, and Phyllis Proctor from the CUNY Central Office of Student Affairs.

Special thanks to Phyllis Proctor from the CUNY Central Office of Student Affairs and Laura Garcia, Principal of the Ella Baker School at the Julia Richman Education Complex, for putting together such a wonderful opportunity for MLA students to learn what leadership, community building, and politics look like outside of the United States.

Read more on the Burundi conflict here

First Annual DREAMers Conference Held in John Jay College

The Malave Leadership Academy sponsored the First Annual DREAMers Conference on Friday, September 26th in John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Students and student leaders from all 24 campuses attended the all -day event.


Student Profile: Mr. Michael Cruz

Michael Cruz grew up in the Bronx, inside a big and happy family. When the time arrived, he went directly into college just as his family had eagerly anticipated.


Students Still Rebuilding After Superstorm Sandy

The Far Rockaway community is making great progress toward rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy.


“New Eyes” for the Needy

Thanks to CUNY student Jessica Carrasquillo who participated in a successful eyeglass drive this spring, with a personal goal to collect 200 pairs of eyeglasses for donation.