Generations for Life Youth Outreach News

Largest Crowd Ever for Fantastic Teenspeak 2010

Lila Rose speaks at Teenspeak 2010

Audience is rapt by Lila Rose’s undercover expose of Planned Parenthood [Photo by Sam Scheidler]

“This was amazing!”

“Completely eye opening and inspiring.”

“Super fun!”

“Best ever!”

These are just some of the comments that sum up the reaction of the 130 teens and adults who attended TeenSpeak 2010 on January 30. This was not only the largest crowd we’ve ever had at a TeenSpeak conference, but without a doubt the most enthusiastic.

Lila Rose: Inside the Abortuary

The day began with a compelling talk by Live Action’s Lila Rose titled “Undercover at Planned Parenthood.” In her talk, Lila told about her experiences at Planned Parenthood abortion clinics across the country, where time after time, posing as a 13-year old impregnated by a much-older boyfriend, she has exposed statutory rape cover-up at Planned Parenthood.

The audience found Lila’s talk enlightening and inspiring. Finoy Lukose, a sophomore at St. Ignatius College Prep, commented, “This talk really opened my eyes to what truly goes on at an abortion clinic, something I was unfamiliar with.” And Alexie Gillespie, a junior at Lake Zurich High School, noted, “I was so inspired by Lila to start a pro-life group in my own community.” At the conclusion of her talk, Lila received a standing ovation—clearly, the conference was off to a great start!

Showing Teens How to Take Action

Since the theme of the conference was “Pro-Life Teens Take Action,” the next segment was devoted to three presentations that focused on specific ways teens can become more involved in the pro-life movement.

John-Paul Deddens and Alicia Torres discussed opportunities for action with the collegiate group, Students for Life of Illinois. The Women’s Center’s Katie Reidy talked about volunteering at pregnancy resource centers. And League Associate JT Eschbach encouraged teens to consider sidewalk counseling. All three presentations were well received. As sophomore Mia Rocha remarked, “I learned a lot from all of these talks, and they really helped me understand more about abortion.”

Pro-Life Club Reports

After lunch, members of three active pro-life clubs gave brief presentations about their groups. Chrysan Tefft and Katie Wall of Rosary High School’s Lifesavers Club showcased the T-shirts they recently designed, and noted that some of their members are now part of the Teen Board for Waterleaf Women’s Center, a pregnancy resource center in Aurora that opened last fall. Katie urged teens interested in starting a new pro-life club to get a copy of Generations for Life’s Pro-Life Curriculum.

Kim Dawid and Joan Dodaro of Riverside-Brookfield High School related their experience starting a pro-life club in their public school, and told how they have collaborated with other likeminded clubs. Lastly, several members of Lombard-based Crusaders for Life sang a pro-life song they composed for the March for Life—”It’s a Life”, sung to the tune of Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life”.

Contest Yields Great T-Shirt Designs

T-shirt contest winners

Winning group in the TeenSpeak pro-life T-Shirt design contest [Photo by Sam Scheidler]

With enthusiasm high, my colleague Matt Yonke gave a brief multimedia presentation on “The Anatomy of a Pro-Life T-Shirt.” Matt’s talk explored common styles and themes found on these shirts and served as a jumping-off point for TeenSpeak’s Pro-Life T-Shirt Workshop.

Attendees were divided into 20 groups, and each group was given a T-shirt, a set of fabric markers, and 45 minutes to create their own pro-life T-shirt. To ramp up the competition factor, the teams were told that the winning design would be professionally printed and sold on ChristianShirts.net, and that each member of the winning design team would receive one.

The competition proved stiff, but in the end the judges selected a design by Angela Habisohn, Hannah McHugh, Matalyn VanderBleek, Charlotte Seidel, and Michelle Ryan as the winner.

The program ended with the announcement of the TeenSpeak Essay Contest winners: Second place went to Theresa Simeo of Glen Ellyn, and First Place went to Julianne Winkle of Aurora..

Many people, both teens and adults, commented that this was the best TeenSpeak they had been a part of, and they’re looking forward to next year. So am I!

Spring Semester Opportunities

The spring semester 2010 has yielded many opportunities to share the pro-life and chastity message with teens across northern Illinois and beyond.

First Visit to the Lone Star State

On January 16, I visited Texas for the first time at the invitation of San Antonio Coalition for Life, which invited me to speak at their first-ever conference for high school students. I gave two talks, “Making the Case for Life” and “How to Start a Pro-Life Club.” Other speakers at the conference included Joseph Meaney of Human Life International, and SACFL’s Amber Delaney, who gave her testimony as a post-abortive woman.

All of the talks were well received, with one student commenting on my talk: “I definitely feel a lot more confident in discussing pro-life issues with others.” I have since spoken to the Coalition’s Patty King, who has told me that new pro-life clubs are up and running at area high schools, and others are in the process of forming.

New Talk on Graphics for Crusaders Club

On February 19, I spoke at the Crusaders for Life club meeting at a home in Lombard, Illinois, where I gave a talk highlighting the importance of graphic pictures in the fight against abortion. This was the first time I had given this talk, which was very well received by the club’s members, who asked numerous thoughtful questions afterward. Following the talk, Br. Chad McCoy of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius led the club in the Stations of the Cross while Canon Fr. Jim Isaacson heard confessions.

On March 8, I gave my “Pro-Life 101” talk to the Human Development classes at Proviso West High School in Hillside, Illinois for the sixth consecutive year. Many students offered positive comments on the evaluation forms I distributed afterwards.

Parents, Students Praise Chastity Talk

I gave chastity talks on February 24 to a group of junior high boys in Downers Grove, on March 21 to a Confirmation class at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Lake Zurich and on March 23 to eighth graders at Huron Valley Catholic School in Ypsilanti, Michigan. These talks were all well received by the students, and I was grateful for the positive feedback I received from parents.

I also gave my “Making the Case for Life” talk several times: March 16 to the Lifesavers Club at Rosary High School in Aurora, Illinois; March 28 to St. Joseph Parish youth group in Bradley, Illinois; and April 22 to the Pro-Life Club at Riverside-Brookfield High School.

Please keep the work of Generations for Life in your prayers as we continue to receive such great opportunities to share the pro-life message.

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