- Huge Turnout for Pro-Life Teen Conference in Nebraska
- New School Year, New Opportunities
- Pro-Life Clubs in Public Schools? They’re more Common Than You Think
Annie speaks to Nebraska pro-life teens, October 11, [Photo by John Jansen]
On October 11, John Jansen and I conducted a teen conference in Lincoln, Nebraska entitled “Reclaiming Our Generation for Life”, at the invitation of the Nebraska Catholic Conference. The conference was held in connection with Nebraska Catholic Conference’s annual statewide pro-life convention. A great group of over 150 teens turned out to show their compassion for unborn children and learn what they could do to change hearts and minds and further educate themselves about abortion.
John gave a PowerPoint presentation on how to communicate the pro-life message, and also gave a talk entitled “A Springtime in the Church: Forming and Activating the Next Generation” at the concurrent adults’ conference. I gave talks on how to effectively use the Generations for Life Pro-Life Curriculum, as well as on the importance of chastity.
Many of the teens resolved to become more involved in pro-life activities. Teens who belonged to pro-life clubs gained insight on how to run effective clubs, and others were inspired to start new clubs.
We received a lot of great feedback on the conference evaluation forms. Here’s a sampling:
“I learned a lot being here. It changed my thinking on what abortion really is and it made me think of how I can help others to see what we see.”
“I am glad I came. I think the pro-life message is important for today’s young people to support because we are the future and change will only occur if we are willing to stand up for what we believe.”
“The conference was inspirational and motivational! It made me want to go out and make a difference!”
“Very informative and motivating! I love babies!” “I thought it was really good. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was really well done, appealing, and getting to the point.”
“You guys are awesome and I’m glad there’s people who are trying to help every teen out in the fight for life.”
“I thought it was very informative and inspired me to get more involved.” “Very good! Thank you so much! I’ve been very pro-life my entire life but I learned so much about WHY I am today.”
“It was really informative, a great way to meet kids with the same values.”
“I learned a lot and enjoyed seeing my peers believe in the same things.”
“I thought it was good to learn how I can defend what I believe. It also really stuck out to me when the video said we need to educate ourselves—showed me how much more responsible I need to become.”
“I loved it soooo much and am going to argue with my pro-choice teacher about everything.”
These comments have made us even more enthusiastic about our next conference, TeenSpeak 2009, on January 31 in Lombard, IL. For more information about TeenSpeak, visit generationsforlife.org.
John with the Catholic Student Group at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, October 28
With the new school year underway, GFL Director Annie Casselman and Co-Director John Jansen have been busy sharing the pro-life message. In addition to leading a teen conference in Lincoln, Nebraska, they have taken the pro-life message on the road across northern Illinois.
On September 22, John gave his “Making the Case for Life” talk at Christ the King Parish in Lombard, at the invitation of Fr. Peter Jarosz. John spoke again at Christ the King October 13 on the ethical issues surrounding stem cell research.
On September 25, John gave Generations for Life’s “Pro-Life 101” presentation at a meeting of Youth Alive, an ecumenical Christian club at Plainfield South High School in Plainfield. The club members were grateful for the eye-opening presentation, and afterward the club’s president told John they would like him to come back and speak to the club again next semester.
On October 6 and 7, John gave his “Making the Case for Life” talk to two seventh grade CCD classes at St. Michael’s Parish in Orland Park. He was particularly impressed with the students’ curiosity, as they asked more questions than any group to which he has ever spoken.
On October 19, Annie spoke to a group of parents at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Aurora about how to communicate the message of chastity to their teenage children. Annie’s talk was well received—so much so that the parish’s Director of Religious Education, Gerri Navarro, asked her to come back in the spring and speak to the teens themselves.
On October 28, John spoke to the Catholic student group at Northeastern Illinois University about the work of the Pro-Life Action League and the crucial role of prayer in the spiritual battle against abortion. Later that evening, John gave GFL’s “Pro-Life 101” talk to the Pro-Life Club at Riverside-Brookfield High School. Both talks went well, including lively question and answer sessions. Annie and John are thankful for all the opportunities to spread the pro-life message. Please pray that we will continue to be blessed withb such opportunities.
by John Jansen
When I talk to people about our work at Generations for Life helping students to start prolife clubs in their schools, many are surprised to learn that some of the students we assist are enrolled in public schools.
Believe it or not, it’s sometimes even easier for public school students to start a pro-life club at their school than it is for students in a private school, even a religious school.
That’s because the Equal Access Act of 1984 prohibits any public school from discriminating against student-run clubs based on viewpoint, provided the school receives federal aid and has what is considered a “limited open forum”—that is, at least one student-led, non-curriculum club that meets outside of class time.
Schools have tried to discriminate against pro-life clubs in the past, but when, in response, students sue (or merely threaten to sue), the school inevitably backs down.
Already this year, we’ve helped two public schools get pro-life clubs started: one at Riverside- Brookfield High School in Illinois, and one at Garden City High School in Michigan. We are also in the beginning stages of getting another club started at a public high school in California.
If you know students in a public school who are interested in starting a pro-life club, please have them email us at [email protected] or call 773-304-5433. We’d be glad to help!