Generations for Life Youth Outreach News

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Generations Fosters Deeper Respect for Life in the Womb

John Jansen talks to pro-life youth

John speaks at St. Michael Parish in Orland Park, IL

During the month of October—Respect Life Month—I can usually count on doing a number of talks to students at schools and churches. Speaking requests filled my calendar this year, with numerous opportunities to share the pro-life message with both students and adults.

On October 2, traditionally designated as Respect Life Sunday, I was invited by St. Patrick Parish in Yorkville, Illinois to give my “Making the Case for Life” talk to the Life Teen group after Sunday evening Mass. I encouraged anyone interested in stepping up their pro-life commitment to consider getting involved with the Teen Advisory Board at Waterleaf Women’s Center, a pregnancy resource center located just two blocks from Planned Parenthood’s massive abortuary in nearby Aurora. Following my talk, three teens told me they were interested. I took down their information and put them in contact with Waterleaf the following day.

On October 5, I went to Wheaton College to meet with a group of students who were doing an in-depth study of abortion for a Theology class project. I spoke with them for about an hour, and gave them copies of numerous League resources, including our popular Sharing the Pro-Life Message handbook.

Parents and Students Eager to Learn

A few days later, on October 9, I was invited to give my “Making the Case for Life” talk to a group of students and adults at Ascension Parish in Oak Park, Illinois. My talk was well received, and afterward, I spent almost as much time answering questions and talking with attendees as I did giving the presentation itself.

On October 17 and 18, I was invited for the fourth consecutive year to give my “Making the Case for Life” talk to two seventh grade CCD classes at St. Michael’s Parish in Orland Park, IL. I was impressed with the students’ curiosity. It was clear from the numerous questions they asked that they were very eager to learn about pro-life issues, especially the development of the child in the womb.

Later that week, on October 23, I gave this same talk to a group of teens, college students, and adults at St. James the Apostle Parish in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. As with my talk in Oak Park a few weeks earlier, I spent nearly as much time answering questions and talking with attendees afterward as I had giving the presentation.

Teen Advisory Board Helps Waterleaf PRC

My busy fall continued in November with my “Making the Case for Life” talk on the 7th at Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Naperville, Illinois, to the Waterleaf Women’s Center Teen Advisory Board mentioned above. After the presentation, I spoke with several Board officers—an impressive group of teens who meet monthly for meetings or activities. They regularly advise Waterleaf staff on various matters, particularly about marketing to potential clients.

Later that week, on November 13, I was invited back to St. James the Apostle in Glen Ellyn to give a chastity presentation to junior high and high school students. As with all my chastity talks, I encouraged parents to attend with their children, and I was gratified that several parents thanked me for my presentation afterward.

With 2011 coming to a close, I’m grateful that Generations for Life has already received a number of speaking requests for 2012. Please keep us in your prayers during the coming year, that through these speaking opportunities, God will use Generations for Life to instill in young people a desire to uphold the values of chastity and respect for life.

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Generations Warmly Received at 2011 N.C.Y.C.

Teens at Generations for Life booth

Teens show off their pro-life buttons at the Generations booth [Photo by John Jansen]

Earlier this year, Generations for Life had the honor of becoming the first youth outreach organization focused primarily on the pro-life cause to be accepted as a collaborating member of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM). The NFCYM is best known for its signature event, the biennial National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC), which we attended as an exhibitor for the first time in Kansas City in 2009.

Our presence at that conference was a great success, with Generations handing out 1,000 “Precious Feet” pins, along with hundreds of pro-life stickers and brochures. With such success behind us, we were excited about returning to NCYC for 2011, November 17-19 in Indianapolis.

Generations Stakes Out Great Location

One of the great benefits of being a collaborating member of NFCYM is that we were allowed priority access to select our display location in the massive exhibitors’ area. We selected an end spot, directly adjacent to an aisle. This prime location paid off in spades, with significant foot traffic from the 20,000 attendees passing by our booth at any given moment throughout the three-day conference.

Literally thousands of teens and adults stopped by the Generations booth. Our most popular item was the Your Mom Chose Life button—the winning design from the Pro-Life Button Workshop at the TeenSpeak conference earlier in the year. Word spread quickly about these buttons at NCYC, and by the end of the second day only a handful of our original supply of 1,000 buttons remained. Shortly into the third day, our entire button inventory was tapped out, including 500 I’m Pro-Life. Ask Me Why! buttons provided by Students for Life of Illinois and a selection of pro-life buttons from Stand True Ministries.

We also gave away hundreds of pieces of pro-life literature from Human Life Alliance, and had some great conversations with several teens who are either already involved in pro-life clubs, or are interested in starting one.

Teens Grateful for Pro-Life Outreach

What struck me most about the countless conversations I had with NCYC attendees—some with youth ministers and parent chaperones, but mostly with teens themselves—is their sincere gratitude for receiving a pro-life button or piece of literature from our table, or my merely taking the time to talk with them. Many times throughout the three-day conference I was told, “Thank you for the work you’re doing.”

Being at NCYC was a tremendously uplifting experience, and Generations for Life is already looking forward to attending the next NCYC in 2013—with a whole lot more buttons in stock!

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