Generations for Life Youth Outreach News

Teens are Eager for the Pro-Life Message

Annie with Teen Group

Annie (left) with junior high students at St. Mary’s in Durand, April 17

Generations for Life continues to be blessed with many opportunities to share the pro-life message with many receptive teen audiences.

Newlyweds Speak on Marriage

On February 23, Annie Casselman was invited to St. Mary’s Parish in Sycamore, IL to speak to the confirmation students on chastity. A month later, both she and her husband Robert were asked to speak to the same group about the vocation of marriage.

The following day, Annie attended an Elgin Deanery Meeting where she met with the Directors of Religious Education to share the mission of Generations for Life.

Exposing Abortion’s Effect on Men

On March 2, John Jansen spoke to the social justice classes at Notre Dame High School in Niles, IL, about the psychological effects of abortion on men. The presentation was well received, with the students showing marked interest in the testimonies of post-abortive fathers.

On February 28 and March 10, John attended the youth ministers’ meetings for the Chicago Archdiocese’s Vicariates I and II, where he had the chance to meet several youth ministers who were very supportive of GFL’s mission and outreach efforts. John hopes to work with many of them again in the future.

On March 8, Annie spoke at the home of Laurie Tefft of Aurora, IL to a group of young ladies on Purity. As a follow up to her talk, the girls decided to plan a modesty fashion show for the summer.

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Abortion 101 in Public Schools

On March 18, John was invited to give GFL’s “Abortion 101” PowerPoint presentation to the Human Development classes at Proviso West High School in Hillside, IL. The pro-life message was very well received, with several students visibly showing emotion at the depictions of fetal development and the explanation of abortion procedures.

John was especially glad to speak at Proviso West as it was his first opportunity to bring the GFL message to a public school.

On March 19, Blessed Sacrament Parish in North Aurora invited Annie to speak to their confirmation students about chastity.

John at Roberto Clemente H.S.

John instructs Roberto Clemente High School students on the harmful consequences of abortion, May 17
[Photo by Jackie Galarza]

On March 20, Annie was invited back to Christ the Teacher Newman Center in DeKalb, IL to speak on abortion. She gave her new PowerPoint presentation, showing beautiful images of the unborn child at different stages of development.

Chastity: Crucial Pro-Life Message

Throughout the month of April, Annie spoke on chastity at St. Rita’s in Aurora, IL, St. Mary’s in Durand, IL, St. Mary’s in Byron, IL and St. Peter’s in Spring Grove, IL.

On April 14, Annie was invited back to St. Scholastica High School in Chicago to speak to the entire student body on Women and Abortion. The response from the students was overwhelmingly positive (see related story, column 3).

John Gives a History Lesson

On May 17, John was invited to give a pro-life presentation to several U.S. History classes at Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago. In the presentation, John focused particularly on the history of legal abortion and the negative consequences it has wrought on our society.

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Pro-Choice Student Becomes Pro-Life Leader

After a talk at St. Scholastica H.S. in April, Annie chatted with members of the Respect Life Club, including President Hava Barlaj. Hava told Annie that her talk at the school two years before had changed her heart and mind about abortion. Hava writes:

Annie and Hava

Annie with “pro-choicer” turned pro-life leader, Hava Barlaj

It was a hot April day near the end of my sophomore year when I learned that there was going to be an assembly at my school that day, and was disappointed because I don’t really like assemblies. One of the teachers at my school came onto the stage and introduced this as a pro-life assembly. I had never really known what being “pro-life” meant, but I assumed that this would be a boring assembly.

My attention was on the speaker, Annie, the entire time. We were presented with definitions and meanings of abortion and pro-life activism, and facts and horrifying statistics relating to the number of deaths due to this procedure.

What touched me the most, though, wasn’t the amount of psychological and physical damage that women who have suffered abortions must endure, or the sheer magnitude of babies killed each year; what caught my eye was the procedure itself. We were shown pictures of the results of abortions, and I was disgusted and angry that humanity could allow this treatment to occur. I decided right then that I was against abortion.

I was too shy to ask questions at the assembly, but I picked up some information after the presentation and studied every word and picture. I talked to the pro-life club coordinator, and vowed to join the club the next year.

I am now nearing the end of my senior year, with two wonderful and productive years as president of the pro-life club at my school under my belt, and I owe it all to Annie’s talk at the assembly on that hot April day two years ago.

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Local Pro-Life Rally

Three Catholic churches in McHenry, IL — St. Mary, St. Patrick and Holy Apostles — are forming a new Generations for Life chapter. To spark interest and recruit teens, they had a Pro-Life Rally on July 5, which I attended. The rally included a concert by the Christian Band 38 Acres and a powerful testimonial by Bryan Kemper of Stand True. Teens from all over McHenry County enjoyed great music, an inspirational talk, excellent weather and an opportunity to join the new GFL Chapter.

GFL Clubs Observe National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day

Tuesday, April 26 was National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day. Teens across the country participated, witnessing to their peers on the sanctity of human life, including the following Generations for Life clubs:

  • Julie Hobbs’ club, CJ Right to Life Club at Chaminade-Julienne Catholic High School in Dayton, OH.
  • Peg Freiburg’s club in Fond du Lac, WI.
  • Jessica Bodoh’s club, Crusaders for Life in Necedah, WI.
  • Jim Heim’s club, Voice for the Unborn, Boylan Catholic High School in Rockford, IL.
  • Diane Herman’s club in Lemont, IL.
  • Brad Gluszewski’s club at Chesterton High School in Chesterton, IN.
  • Liz Chadwick’s club, Generations for Life at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, NC.
  • Jeremy Hylka’s Club at Joliet Catholic Academy in Joliet, IL.

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Strong Teen Presence on Truth Tour

Cherie on Tour

Cherie Trentine described her experience holding an 8th Week of Life sign on Michigan Avenue July 7 on Fr. Tom Loya’s Light of the East radio show
[Photo by EJS]

This year’s Face the Truth Tour was blessed with the contributions of many teen volunteers. Fr. Tom Loya brought a group of ByzanTeens from Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Parish in Homer Glen, IL on July 7, when the Tour visited the Art Institute of Chicago. Fr. Tom later interviewed some of the teens on their experience for his Light of the East radio program.

The Magdalen Teens for Life, a homeschoolers’ pro-life club from Wauconda, joined the Tour on July 10. Many other teens joined the Tour as well, offering their youthful enthusiasm, eager cooperation and special talent for engaging the public in peaceful debate.

Nathan on Tour

Warning Sign stalwart Nathan Calvino here holds a sign outside the Art Institute of Chicago, July 7
[Photo by EJS]

We want to offer special thanks to Nathan Calvino and Dominic Payne, who competed to see who could stand to hold Warning Signs most often. The Warning Sign job can be grueling, with the isolated sign holders positioned before the rest of the display is set up, and picked up after everyone else has begun to carry their signs back in. Scott and Leo Reese were also instrumental in keeping the Warning Signs manned throughout the Tour.

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Project Reality Gala Dinner

In February 25, Annie and I were privileged to attend the “Teens Speak Out” Dinner Gala sponsored by Project Reality, a youth advocacy organization dedicated to abstinence education.

The event, emceed by 15-year old Chicago high school student Taylor Moore, provided an opportunity for the winners of Project Reality’s essay contest to voice their support for abstinence.

We are always edified to hear students extol the merits of abstinence, and this evening was no exception. The winning essay, written by 14-year old Eun Young Park of Gurnee, IL, featured writing befitting of a college graduate, and served to remind us why today’s teens are increasingly choosing to embrace the virtue of chastity.

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Visiting Dekalb’s We Care CPC

In order to stay abreast of the pregnancy services offered to the women in my area, I visited We Care Pregnancy Center in DeKalb. The director, Katie Mehne and I met on June 2. She gave me a tour of the center, introduced me to her fellow co-workers and volunteers and told me of all the services that the center offers.

Mrs. Mehne was eager for me to share the mission of Generations for Life, since We Care is reaching out to young people in the schools with the pro-life, pro-chastity message. They recognize that chastity education is an essential component of the effort to guide young women and men away from abortion. I gave her a copy of the Generations for Life Curriculum and told her I look forward to working together in the future.

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