Youth Outreach Continues To Grow

Annie at GFL office

Annie outside the new Generations for Life office
[Photo by Mary Shine]

Generations for Life, the new youth outreach program of the Pro-Life Action League is receiving a steady stream of invitations to speak to groups of young people on the issues of abortion and chastity. When I first started at the League, I thought I would be working solely in the Chicago area. Apparently God has other plans. Calls are coming in from all around the country.

My new Assistant Director Mary Shine (see inset) and I are working diligently on our pro-life clubs curriculum and should be sending it to the printers soon. You can check out a draft version of the curriculum in the Generations for Life section of the League website.

Interviews and Talks

On December 5, I was interviewed by the Psychology Department of Northwestern University. They’re doing a video supplement for a psychology textbook that will be used nation-wide. I explained why abortion is always wrong, and how this message has to be communicated to young people.

Meet Mary Shine

Mary Shine

Generations for Life welcomes new Assistant Director Mary Shine.
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Mary and I met with Stephanie Gilbert of the Willows Academy on December 10 to discuss ways she could get their pro-life club of forty students more active. Stephanie convinced the principal to invite Mary and me to speak March 28. The talk was such a great success that we returned April 9 for a follow-up questions and answers session.

A former Good Counsel High School student, Kathleen Fayar, who heard me speak last year on chastity stopped by our offices on January 2 to collect information on starting a pro-life club at her new school, St. Norbert’s College. Kathleen is just getting the club off the ground.

On January 15, shortly before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune‘s Red Eye on how thirty years of Roe has affected our culture. I appeared in the January 17 edition. This interview gave me a chance to share one of the central themes of Generations for Life, that to be pro-Life is not just to believe abortion is wrong. It’s a whole philosophy of life that involves respect for yourself and for others and fosters everyone’s well-being.

The next day I spoke on abortion to Five Holy Martyrs and Our Lady of Fatima, two grade schools on Chicago’s southwest side. I was encouraged by the positive response from both students and teachers. One sixth grade class at Five Holy Martyrs led the assembly in a spiritual adoption prayer that they repeat every morning before class.

On January 19 , I met up with one of my old youth ministry friends, Kristen Kramer, when she invited me to come and speak on chastity at Immaculate Conception in Elmhurst.

Youth Presence at March for Life

I was in Washington, DC January 21-23 for the March for Life. I was overwhelmed by the number of young people at the March. My goal for next year is to bring busloads of Chicagoland teens to the March for Life. The March is always an exhilarating experience, but to be marching with hundreds of Chicago youth would be over the top!

Annie at OLPH

Annie with seventh graders at Our Lady of Perpetual Help school in Glenview, IL
[Photo by Mary Shine]

On February 3, I spoke on chastity to the seventh graders at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic grade school in Glenview.

The entire League staff met with Mary-Louise Kurey, the new Archdiocesan Respect Life Coordinator, on February 7. Mary-Louise is very eager to help me get the Generations for Life Curriculum into the Catholic schools. She is also excited about working with me on our teen pro-life rally and conference this fall. Keep an eye on the Generations for Life page of future issues of Action News for dates and other details.

Sharing the Chastity Message

Late February found me traveling far and wide in Northeastern Illinois. On the 20th I headed south to St. George’s Church in Tinley Park to chat with high school teens and their parents on the topic of chastity. I met with Teens for Life in Rockford on the 21st and gave them some pointers on how to get their club more active. On the 23rd, I went out to Dekalb, IL with the message of chastity at Christ the King Newman Center.

On February 24, with Eric Scheidler and Mary Shine, I attended the second annual Human Dignity conference put on by the Integritas Institute. Along with Cardinal George, who gave the opening remarks, I was privileged to listen to brilliant minds including Peter Kreeft, Jean Bethke Elshtain and Prof. Charlie Rice.

On March 3, I was privileged to meet with a group of teens from Buxton Boarding School in Massachusetts. Six high school students and their teacher were in Chicago doing a research project on Religion and Social Change. I answered their questions about abortion and then loaded them into the League’s silver van and dropped them off at their downtown hotel.

I spoke on chastity to high school teens at St. Francis in La Grange on March 16. They are planning to invite me back to speak to the seventh and eighth grade students this spring, and on March 23 I spoke to thirty high school students at St. Alexander’s in Villa Park, again on chastity.

Working Closely with Teens

As I continue to speak and work on the Generations for Life Curriculum, it is important that I do a little one-on-one with teens where needed. For several months I have been counseling a 16-year-old who had an abortion last summer and regrets her decision. I am also working with a young woman who is considering adoption for her baby and another one who recently gave birth to a baby boy and put him up for adoption. What a wonderful gift of life she gave to those adoptive parents!

Annie at Prayer

Annie seeks spiritual strength for her work in the League’s St. Joseph chapel
[Photo by Mary Shine]

Meanwhile, I continue to sidewalk counsel every Thursday morning with our staff and volunteers at the nearby abortion mill. Being out at the clinic helps keep me on track and reminds me why God has called me to do the job I’m doing.

Please continue to pray for us at Generations for Life. Pray that the Holy Spirit uses Mary and me as instruments to spread His message and that we continue to rely on Him in all that we do. Be assured that Mary and I pray for our supporters every day during morning prayers along with the rest of the League staff.

Annie Scheidler is the Director of Generations for Life, the youth outreach program of the Pro-Life Action League.

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