A Triumphant Return for TeenSpeak
When I first starting working for the Pro-Life Action League ten years ago, I was invited to speak at the first teen program of the state-wide pro-life conference, SpeakOut Illinois. After sharing my ideas for future conferences with the SpeakOut committee, I was invited to take charge of the teen program. For the next five years I ran the TeenSpeak program, until I founded Generations for Life and started hosting GFL conferences instead, not having the resources to conduct two annual conferences.
TeenSpeak was missed. And though our Generations for Life conferences were excellent, we realized that we could be reaching a much wider audience. So last year, we approached the SpeakOut Illinois committee about bringing back TeenSpeak. They were enthusiastic about the idea—and so were we! With thirty SpeakOut member organizations promoting the program, we were sure to reach a greater number of teens.
Through the TeenSpeak program, Generations for Life was enabled to reach a wide teen audience [Photo by EJS]
Over 80 Attend TeenSpeak
Though we only had a few months to prepare, rather than the usual full year, the 2007 TeenSpeak conference was a tremendous success. More than 80 teens and adults attended the full-day program concurrent with SpeakOut Illinois on February 3.
Vicki Thorn [Photo by EJS]
Vicki Thorn, founder of Project Rachel, gave an excellent talk on the psychology behind why teens choose abortion. Many of the teens in attendance called Vicki’s talk the highlight of the day, and her capacity to hold the interest of her teen audience was truly impressive.
John Jansen talked about the problems with “comprehensive” sex ed, Eric Scheidler debunked some of the most popular myths about pro-lifers, and I ended the day with an encouraging talk on how to dialog with peers about abortion. Throughout the day we reviewed short videos on abortion that Eric, John and I had gleaned from the archives at YouTube.com. Each video related in some way to the program—another very popular feature of the day.
Annie Casselman [Photo by EJS]
At the end of the day, we announced the winners of the TeenSpeak essay contest. Sarah Halbur won first place and a $1,000 scholarship with her essay, “Your Mom Chose Life . . . Will You?” and Mary Hatfield won second place and a $500 scholarship. Both essays have been posted at our website.
Save the Date: TeenSpeak 2008
TeenSpeak 2008 is scheduled for Saturday, February 2, and we’re already at work on the program. Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino will be speaking, and we hope to expand the video component with a teen pro-life video contest. Visit our website for updates. Meanwhile, you can purchase CDs of the 2007 TeenSpeak program by visiting the SpeakOut website or by calling 800-693-3884.