â€œPhenomenal!â€ â€œAbsolutely fantastic!” “I loved it!” These are just some of the comments that sum up the reaction of the more than 140 teens and adults who attended TeenSpeak 2012 on January 28 at the Doubletree Hotel in Oak Brook, Illinoisâ€”the largest crowd we’ve ever had at a TeenSpeak conference! The day began with an engaging and enthusiastic talk entitled â€œMaking Abortion Unthinkable: The Art of Pro-Life Persuasion,â€ by Right to Life of Central Californiaâ€™s Josh Brahm. Drawing from his experience as one of few pro-life speakers who has formally debated leaders from â€œpro-choiceâ€ organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL, Josh emphasized the need to â€œfocus like a laser beamâ€ on the humanity of the unborn child when talking with someone who sees nothing wrong with abortion. The audience loved Joshâ€™s talk. High school student Sadie Huddleston remarked, â€œIt was so informative! This talk truly brought out the issue of abortion and clearly informed me of ways to approach and how to answer pro-choicers.â€ Shea Mahoney commented, â€œI really liked how he showed us a way to revert any argument back to the question: What is the unborn?â€ The next speaker was Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life activist who shared her amazing story of conversion. She also advised the teens, â€œNever let anyone tell you that you are too young to be part of the pro-life movement,â€ and encouraged them to embrace the virtue of chastity. Abbyâ€™s talk was very well received. Stephanie Luviano commented, â€œI was amazed at her bravery for sharing her experience and turning away from sin.â€ Taylor Pokryfke said, â€œShe is an amazing woman! Her story inspires me to reach out to my pro-choice friends and help them see the truth. She also helped me find beauty in modesty.â€ Following Abbyâ€™s talk, Josh Brahm gave his second talk of the day: â€œNine Faulty Pro-Life Arguments and Tactics.â€ Joe Daly remarked that this talk was â€œenlightening and practical,â€ and Yong Jin Yi commented, â€œIt gave me many tools I can use to persuade the opposition.â€ Next, my co-worker Matt Yonke gave a short PowerPoint presentation in which he explained the principles of design that go into making a good pro-life bumper sticker. Matt’s talk served as a great jumping-off point for TeenSpeak’s Pro-Life Bumper Sticker Workshop. Weâ€™ve conducted similar workshops at the last three TeenSpeak conferences, and theyâ€™ve received tremendously positive feedback over the years. This yearâ€™s Bumper Sticker Workshop was no exception. Attendees were divided into 20 groups, and each group was given two bumper sticker templates, a pencil, a set of markers, and 40 minutes to create their own pro-life button design. To ramp up the competition factor, the teams were told that the winning design would be turned into a professionally made bumper sticker by ChristianShirts.net. Eric Scheidler and Matt Yonke selected the top four finalists, and the teens voted for their favorite among these: a clever design (see below) created by Emily Coronado, Taylor Marsh, Chris Crocco, Frances Crocco, Kelly Hayes, Matt Wanda, Margaret Schuhriemen, Clare Dempsey, and Mason Fiascone. Last but not least, the TeenSpeak Essay Contest winners were announced: Second place went to Matalyn VanderBleek, a senior at Morrison High School, and First Place went to Warren Dâ€™Souza, a senior at Niles North High School. We were thrilled that so many teens have given us thoroughly positive feedback on the conference and have said they’re really looking forward to next year. So am I!
- Order copies of the two talks given by Josh Brahm here.