Youth Outreach News

On October 16, 2004, Generations for Life will hold a Youth Leadership Conference at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago. In other Generations News:

Generations at U of Chicago

Group Shot at U of C

Annie and John (just right of center) with University of Chicago students, Aug. 11

On August 11, Milca Pierre, a student from the University of Chicago, invited Annie and me to an abortion debate with a representative from Planned Parenthood. The format quickly changed from a debate to a talk after Planned Parenthood backed out. We still answered all the questions that Milca had prepared for the debate, fortunately without any rebuttal. Afterwards the students were invited to ask questions.

We were impressed to find some pro-life students at the University of Chicago, but disappointed that so many students were misinformed about pregnancy and fetal development. Our work is far from finished!

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Back to Rockford

When I started Generations for Life two years ago, one of the first groups I spoke to was Rockford Teens for Life (RTFL). They have remained active and still have one of the first drafts of the GFL Curriculum, which they showed me when I met with them again this summer to give some encouragement and to share some new ideas from the latest edition of the GFL Curriculum.

The following week, at their request, I came out to the Rockford abortion clinic run by notorious abortionist Richard Ragsdale. Quite a few of the teens from RTFL pray or counsel at the clinic on a regular basis and were interested in learning more about how to be an effective sidewalk counselor. After a few hours at the clinic, I hosted a sidewalk counseling seminar at a nearby restaurant. Having already visited the clinic, I was better able to give advice on how best to counsel given the logistics and conditions at that particular clinic.

A Day at the Fair

While I was at the RTFL meeting, it was announced that Boone County Right to Life was looking for volunteers to man their booth at the County Fair. I jumped at this opportunity to help out with the booth and network with local pro-lifers.

John Jansen joined me for a four hour post on July 13. We were surprised at how positively people responded. We even met a young father who regularly counsels at Ragesdale’s clinic.

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Second Generation Pro-Lifers

During the March for Life this past January, I was interviewed by Marcus Grodi of EWTN. Shortly thereafter, I came across the Nextwave Faithful website run by Stephanie Wood. I was so impressed that I decided to e-mail Stephanie. It turned out Stephanie had seen me on EWTN and wanted to interview me on The Wave Factor: Radio for the Next Generation. I gladly accepted and was interviewed by Stephanie on July 1.

Any seasoned pro-lifer knows my dad Joe Scheidler. Stephanie’s dad, Steve Wood, is also well known in Catholic circles. Both of our fathers have been active in promoting a Culture of Life.

In our own ways, Stephanie and I are carrying on our fathers’ legacies as we work to bring about a Culture of Life. I’m sure Stephanie would agree that we have had great role models.

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Curriculum Revision

We have heard success stories from dozens of teens, youth ministers, and teachers from across the country who have used the GFL Curriculum to start or enhance their pro-life clubs. They have inspired us to diligently improve the Curriculum over the summer, making it a more effective tool for teens to spread the pro-life message.

The text has been thoroughly streamlined and we’ve added color and a sharper layout. The revised Curriculum will be introduced at our GFL Youth Leadership Conference in October.

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Meeting at Archdiocese

After the League’s Downtown Face the Truth Day on August 25, Eric, Annie and I met with Youth Ministry Director Angus McDonell, and Mary-Louise Kurey and Margie Manczko from the Respect Life Office. Over the past two years, the Archdiocese of Chicago has been very supportive of Generations for Life.

Angus and Mary-Louise were enthusiastic about the upcoming GFL Youth Leadership Conference and offered to help promote it. We will return the favor by helping to promote a trip the Archdiocese is sponsoring to Washington, DC for the annual March for Life in January, with an emphasis on teen participation.

All of us shared a sense of optimism for our common mission and agreed that training pro-life teens to be strong leaders is the only way to stop abortion and build a Culture of Life in the years to come.

Getting Connected in the Country

As I settle into my life out in the country, I’ve been making plenty of contacts in and around my area, not the least of whom is Matt Schwartz, the new youth director for the Diocese of Rockford. Matt and I go way back. When I first started in youth ministry at St. Mary’s in Sycamore, Matt was also starting in youth ministry in the Rockford Diocese. Now we find ourselves working together again.

Shortly after my meeting with Matt, I received a call from Aurora Central Catholic High School. Joan Biebel, the campus minister of Aurora Central, needed some help with the Respect for Life group she advises. She contacted Matt Schwartz who told her to contact Generations for Life. We’ve sent Joan the GFL Curriculum and hope to be in contact with her teens throughout the school year.

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