Generations for Life Youth Outreach News

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Youth Outreach News

GFL Conference Group Photo

Pro-life teens and club advisors at the Generations for Life Spring Conference, March 13 [Photo by EJS]

Many changes have been taking place at Generations for Life over the past few months. The biggest change is that on May 29, I married Robert Casselman. I have moved to DeKalb, IL where Robert is in school, and will continue to direct Generations for Life from home.

My assistant Mary Shine left Generations for Life at the end of March to prepare for the arrival of her first baby. William “Liam” Daniel was born May 15. Mom, dad and baby are doing great!

In her year and a half with Generations, Mary was a wonderful co-worker. She was indispensable in putting together the GFL Curriculum. Mary has also become a dear friend and I miss her company. Thank you, Mary, for all your help!

John Jansen will join the Generations staff in June as co-director, after finishing out the school year at Northridge Prep in Niles, IL where he has been teaching religion and history. John will run the Chicago office.

On the Road

Stephanie Placek of Joliet Catholic Academy invited me to give the opening talk at a Pro-Life Lock-In on February 6. One of the other speakers was Irene Vickers, who gave a powerful talk about her own abortion. I was so impressed by Irene’s honest, down-to-earth talk that I invited her to speak at our own youth conference in March.

That same week I spoke at St. Francis de Sales in Lake Zurich, my third visit to that parish, where my sister Cathy, a parishioner, was able to hear me speak on chastity for the first time. It was an honor to have my big sister in the audience.

On February 10, I stopped by the Vicariate II youth and campus ministry meeting at Queen of All Saints, my home parish, to encourage them to invite their teens to the first Generations for Life Spring Conference. My cousin Fr. David Scheidler, the new campus minister at Notre Dame High School in Niles, IL was in attendance, and several students from Notre Dame attended the conference.

Later that day, I met with a group of enthusiastic teens from Boylan Catholic High School in the Rockford Diocese. Pro-life club advisor Jim Heim and his motivated group of young people are actively spreading the pro-life message. I encouraged them to keep up the great work and shared some ideas.

Rally in Raleigh

I spent a large part of Valentine’s Day in Raleigh, NC speaking to a group of young people about abortion at the Ignited By Truth Conference. Thankfully, I was able to arrange my trip so that I could be back for a nice Valentine’s Day dinner with Robert.

On February 18, I was invited to Driscoll Catholic High School to speak to the student body on chastity. The teens and the staff at Driscoll Catholic were both welcoming and supportive.

For the second year in a row, Eric and I attended the Human Dignity Conference at the University of Illinois at Chicago on February 23. Along with other medical professionals and lay people we learned about the struggle to maintain the dignity of the human person in the medical community.

The League’s Face the Truth Days resumed in the early spring, and I joined in on the first two monthly visits to college campuses (see story, page 1). During the contentious March 10 visit to Northwestern University and Loyola University I met the president of PLUS (Pro-Life Loyola University Students), who came out with a few other club members to support our efforts.

Great GFL Conference

The Generations highlight of the year so far was our first annual Generations for Life Spring Conference held on March 13 at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago. Two dozen enthusiastic teens learned about sidewalk counseling, the importance of activism, effective communication, and networking with other pro-life youth leaders. Irene Vickers gave a moving talk on the abortion she had as a teen and how God turned her life around. My brother Eric, Mary Shine and I gave other talks.

The day was so successful that we have already scheduled a Generations for Life Leadership Conference for Saturday, October 16, 2004. Stay tuned for further details.

Fenwick Chastity Team

On March 18, my brother Eric and I joined Eric Bello and Mary Maher to speak to students at Fenwick High School in Oak Park on chastity. Each of us addressed a quarter of the student body, while Coleen Kelly Mast addressed the faculty. The program was arranged by Mary, a consecrated celibate with Regnum Christi, together with Fr. Jordan Kelly, OP, chairman of the Fenwick theology department.

I spoke again on chastity at St. Gregory the Great in Chicago on March 28, at the invitation of Judy Nocek.

El Paso Fair-4-Life

Last fall, Sandra Ramirez from El Paso, TX contacted Generations for information on how to get a pro-life club started in her school, Loretto Academy. Sandra has founded a model pro-life club, Angels Against Abortion, with over 20 girls involved. This spring she implemented one of the GFL Curriculum “Life Topics,” hosting a Fair-4-Life on April 16, at which I was invited to be the keynote speaker.

Sandra and the club members organized the entire Fair-4-Life, setting up the school gym with balloons and pro-life signs. Over a dozen groups throughout the El Paso area set up booths in the gym, including two pregnancy resource centers, an anti-death penalty organization, and a Natural Family Planning group. The entire student body of 400 young women attended my talk on Women and Abortion and were encouraged to stay after school to visit the booths.

After school, the Fair was opened to the public and I spoke again that evening. After the Fair, Sandra, her family and some of the young women from Angels Against Abortion took me out for a great Mexican dinner.

New GFL Curriculum for Fall

On April 28, I gave two talks in Lemont, IL. The first was at St. Patrick School to a great group of eighth graders on the topic of chastity. Then I spoke to a group of high school teens about sidewalk counseling at the invitation of Diane Herman, advisor of the Lemont Generations for Life club.

As the school year winds down and John Jansen comes on board, we will be planning our fall Leadership Conference and preparing a final version of the GFL Curriculum for printing in time for the new school year.

Please continue to pray for Generations for Life. Thank you and God bless!

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