- Youth Outreach News
- NCR Article on GFL
- Pro-Life Teens on the Front Lines
- New Educational Frontiers for GFL
- DuPage County, Here We Come!
- Save the Date!
by Annie Casselman and John Jansen
John Jansen delivers a PowerPoint presentation at the Life! Youth Rally in New Lenox, IL, March 11
The spring semester has flowered with opportunities for Generations for Life to share the pro-life message and educate students on the life issues.
On March 1, John delivered GFL’s Pro-Life 101 presentation to the Human Development classes at Proviso West High School in Hillside, IL, where he had spoken the previous year. The pro-life message was very well received, with several students showing emotion at the depictions of life before birth and the explanation of various abortion procedures.
John also gave the Pro-Life 101 talk at the Life! Youth Rally hosted by St. Jude Parish in New Lenox, IL on March 11 to an audience of teens and parents, all of whom found the presentation to be eye-opening. The Life! Youth Rally was inspired by the participation of two St. Jude parishioners, Margaret Motto and Vanessa Luna, in the 2005 GFL Youth Leadership Conference. Following the conference, Margaret and Vanessa worked with youth minister Jenny Krumdrick on ways to spread the pro-life message among their fellow teens. In addition to organizing the Life! Youth Rally, which they hope to make an annual event, Margaret started a pro-life club at nearby Lincoln-Way Central High School.
Junior High Kids Embrace Chastity
On April 9, Annie was invited back to St. Mary Parish in Byron, IL to give a chastity talk to the seventh and eighth grade Religious Education students. One young lady commented, “I loved the talk last year so I came back again to hear it with my sister who is in eighth grade. It was just as good this year. I really want to live chastity!” Two weeks later on April 26, Annie spoke at Notre Dame Parish in Clarendon Hills, IL on chastity to the seventh and eighth grade Religious Education and Catholic school students. Both audiences were very welcoming and receptive.
John was privileged to hear nationally known chastity speaker Jason Evert speak to a standing-room only crowd at St. Patrick Parish in Lake Forest, IL on April 24. John manned a GFL display table at the event, where he made contact with dozens of pro-life teens and parents. St. Patrick youth minister Casey Ross, who had brought in John to give the Pro-Life 101 presentation earlier this year, hosted the talk, which was sponsored by the Archdiocesan Respect Life Office.
GFL also had a display table at the Illinois Catholic Homeschool Conference at the University of St. Francis in Joliet on May 19-20. John and Annie have worked a number of homeschool pro-life clubs, and hope to expand such clubs in the coming years.
GFL was proud to be featured in the Easter Week edition of the National Catholic Register in a favorable profile titled “Youth Well Spent.” The article includes remarks from Annie and John as well as from some of the students whom they have helped to start pro-life clubs at their schools, including Sandra Ramirez, who started a club at Loretto Academy in El Paso, TX and is now president of the pro-life club at the University of Dallas.
Some of the teens protesting Planned Parenthood Express, Mar 4 [Photo by EJS]
On Saturday, March 4, two hundred pro-lifers converged on Orland Park, IL, to protest a new Planned Parenthood Express facility in the community (see story in “Activism Update”). Among those holding signs and praying were several teen groups, including a yellow-shirted legion from the pro-life club at Lincoln-Way Central High School in nearby New Lenox. The large teen contingent, with their infectious energy and enthusiasm, was a tremendous inspiration to the older generations.
The next day, League Communications Director Eric Scheidler posted an entry on the GFL Blog with pictures of some of the teen activists and brief remarks thanking them for their presence. Eric’s post prompted an astonishing response, generating 343 comments, 326 more than any post had previously received. Since that time, such lengthy and involved discussions have become more frequent on the blog.
As Eric pointed out, Planned Parenthood has reason to be worried about this new generation of teens, whom polls consistently show to be the most pro-life segment of the population.
For four years, Generations for Life has educated high school and college students on abortion and pro-life activism, delivering scores of classroom presentations and shipping hundreds of student packets. As we have become better known, we have also begun to receive interview requests from students across the country, particularly during the peak term paper months of December and May.
This spring, Annie and John were interviewed by high school students in Arizona, Minnesota, Missouri, and Illinois, and college students from the Metropolitan State College of Denver, Northern Kentucky, George Mason, the University of Illinois-Chicago, DePaul, and Northwestern. Interviews are a welcome opportunity to communicate the pro-life message one-on-one—and the interviewer usually learns more than he or she knew there was to learn!
Another new educational opportunity may be opening up for Generations in DuPage County, Illinois. At the end of April, Annie received a call from Barbara Urbik of Woman’s Choice Services, who wants to help Generations and the GFL Curriculum get into all the high schools of DuPage County. Barbara sees enough teenagers from week to week to know that the pro-life message is needed in the schools.
On May 8, Annie met with Barbara and Woman’s Choice Services Director Peter Breen to lay out a strategy for getting Generations for Life into the high schools in their area. Barbara will be contacting public and Catholic schools over the summer to schedule speaking engagements for Annie and John all over DuPage County this coming fall.
Generations for Life will host a pro-life youth conference at Sacred Heart Church in Lombard, IL on Saturday, October 16, 2006 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The theme for the conference is “What Are You Thinking?!?” and online registration will be available later this summer.