Sep 16, 2022

Patti joined NHF’s team after becoming a member of NYLI in 2018. Learn more about her experience!

Tell us a about yourself and your role at NHF.
Hi! My name is Patti Williford, I’m 24 years old and I’m from Chesapeake, Virginia. Before becoming the Chapter Advancement Specialist at NHF, I was a member of the National Youth Leadership Institute (NYLI).

NYLI is a program focused on teens and young adults, so we typically see a lot of students. Care to tell us about that?

Yeah! I graduated from George Mason University back in December of 2020 with a degree in Community Health.

Congratulations! So, how did you hear about NYLI?

I first heard about NYLI at one of my chapter’s teen retreats. An NYLI member attended to facilitate a workshop for us and told us about the program.

There are so many paths you can choose from, especially at that point in your life. What made you decide to apply?

 I decided to apply to NYLI after attending NHF’s Bleeding Disorders Conference in 2018. I attended a session where I heard from a panel of NYLI members about their experience in the program. Hearing about the opportunities they had to grow their professional skills while giving back to the bleeding disorders community and hearing how much fun they were having in the program was what made me decide to apply.

How did that experience compare to your expectations?

My expectations for NYLI were exceeded in many ways. I expected to grow professionally while in the program and I did, but I also experienced a lot of personal growth during my time in the program which was unexpected. I also never imagined that the connections I made and the experiences I had while in NYLI would lead me to working at NHF.

What was your favorite part of NYLI?

My favorite part of NYLI was the time I spent with the other NYLI members. We always had so much fun together, whether we were facilitating a workshop to a chapter, exploring a new city, or just having a conversation.

In your opinion, what’s the most impactful takeaway from NYLI?

There is so much more happening behind the scenes at NHF and the bleeding disorders chapters than I could have ever imagined. As an NYLI member I got to witness what it really it takes to run a nonprofit, and I never realized how much work is being put in so that people with bleeding disorders have the support they need. Seeing this made me so much more appreciative of everything my local chapter and NHF has done for me, and it also made me want to work at NHF and be a part of all the amazing work being done.

Why would you recommend NYLI to others?

NYLI is a truly unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else. The program offers a safe and supportive place to grow and learn, and it helps prepare you to start your career. At the same time, it is so much fun and gives you the opportunity to develop amazing friendships.

How would you like to see NYLI evolve in the near future?

I hope to see NYLI evolve to become more widely known. I think there are many young adults who may not have heard of the program or may not understand what it is. If more people knew about the program and spread the word, we could reach more young adults who may be interested in NYLI.

Anything else you’d like to add?

If you’re hesitant to apply, just go for it!

To learn more about NYLI, visit the Educational Programs page on our website.