Effective Time Management = Effective Activism. #Truth

Effective Time Management = Effective Activism. #Truth

Everything that we do as anti-abortion activists has to be ordered towards one thing: saving babies.
However, if there is one thing I’ve learned as a former campus prezzy it’s that if you don’t manage time your time well you won’t be able to affect your campus, you won’t be able to save babies and you definitely won’t be able to function as an activist human being…

You have a lot going on. You have papers to write, classes to attend, eating to do, Facebook to browse, SnapChat to peak at. You’re busy, we get it. So act like it. Tell your time where its supposed to go. It is well within your control to do so.

You won’t function well as a human being (you are still human…)

#TruthTalk, you guys. When I was a campus pro-life prezzy, I was pretty terrible at managing my time. Often, on the days that we did activism I was so busy that I wouldn’t eat for most of the day. I would end up eating breakfast at like… 4 pm. Shockingly, not eating for a whole day is bad for you.

Our activism would often be planned somewhat last minute (I mean sometimes you have to do that when.. certain kinds of meetings or events take place that #ShallNotBeNamed that you suddenly found out about and must gather the troops to be at…) . Sometimes, we would just decide the night before or the week before what we were doing.

Looking back, I see how this greatly limited the growth of our team and how this exemplified poor leadership on my part. I was not respectful of my team’s time and as a result we had few members who were invested in our club , and it actually exponentially increased my workload causing me to be more stressed more often.

This led me to burn out for a period of time in my 3rd year. I needed to take off a whole semester from regular campus activism because, to be brutally honest, I was too disorganized to even manage my time!

I thought I didn’t need to manage my time in order to have effective activism. I thought that the activism was effective enough and if someone was bought in enough they would show up no matter what.

The reality is that a very small percentage of people operate like that. If you do as a campus leader, it’s because you are bought in – and I get it. . For most people, activism is something they have to learn how to do.  And in order to learn how to do it, they need to be given strong, organized and respectful opportunities to do it.

If you burn out, you won’t be able to do activism very well for very long. It’s that simple.

If you choose the ‘convenience’ of being able to do activism whenever you would like at the expense of a strong team, you are creating barriers between your campus and hearing the pro-life message effectively, and regularly… And that is on you. You won’t be able to affect your campus as well as you would like…

If you don’t choose to manage your time, your activism will be sporadic. Sporadic activism usually means disorganized activism, miscommunication, and more stress. And let’s be honest, doing activism at the last minute on a regular basis usually results in just doing activism less often.

You won’t save as many lives…

Why? Because you just won’t be around as much.

Let’s break it down:

if you aren’t there sharing the pro-life perspective, your peers will not be challenged.
if you aren’t there, making yourself available, your peers will not be challenged.
if you aren’t there, with a sharp mind and open heart, your peers will not be challenged.
And they will be more likely to choose abortion. #TruthBomb

Recently, at Simon Fraser University (Burnaby), the pro-life students were doing the QA (Question Abortion) Project. They talked to a student for a while about abortion. Before he left he said, “ Thanks for being here. I’m on my way actually talk to my friend and her boyfriend about their new pregnancy. Now I know what I’m going to say.”

Wow. powerful.

Here are some tools to help you become a better, more timely and more effective activist and human being:

TeamViewer for online presentations: https://www.teamviewer.com/en/use-cases/meetings-and-collaboration/

Boomerang #Trickster #ThereAreTwo
For capturing activism into a GIF: http://simplymeasured.com/blog/why-boomerang-what-this-app-really-means-for-social-marketers/#sm.00000lqc1p6z5dxluj92azwx94vr8
For managing club emails: http://www.boomerangapp.com/

Doodle:
For scheduling activism efficiently: http://doodle.com/

Google Calendar:
For making sure you all know when they activism or meeting is happening: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/google-in-the-enterprise/six-tips-to-manage-your-google-calendar-more-efficiently/

Google Hangouts
To communicate with your team wherever they are! http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Google%2B-Hangouts
(SIDENOTE: if you have a few minutes, also type “How to use google hangouts” into Youtube for some excellent entertainment)

Google Forms
To create important surveys for activism (but also pizza preferences) https://www.google.ca/forms/about/

Ultimately even using these tools requires you to make the commitment to manage your time better for your sake, the team’s sake and of course, on behalf of the babies.

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Giving Thanks for Lives Saved

In mid-March, the pro-life club at the University of Saskatchewan hosted a pregnancy support table every day for one week. It was deliberately held one week before the university’s so-called “Pro-Choice Awareness Week.” Not only was the club a life-affirming witness on campus, but their efforts reverberated in the community. During the week, the pro-life team reached out to over 300 students: some had friends who were hurting either after abortion or a miscarriage, 1 was looking to adopt, and 3 were abortion-minded women who thought they were pregnant.

Club members were able to take one of these women to a pregnancy centre, where it was confirmed she was not pregnant. Throughout the journey she felt supported, and began to open up.

Then she told the club about “Anne.”

Anne was a friend of hers. Anne was pregnant, her baby 3 months old at the time. Anne was scheduled for an abortion the following week.

It was March 17th when one club member, Denae, became part of Anne’s story, asking friends, and friends of friends for prayer. Hundreds of people were praying for Anne and her baby. 

On March 21st Denae met Anne, planning to offer to care for the baby if Anne didn’t want to. However, upon meeting Denae, Anne shared that she had woken up on March 18th, and for no explicable reason had changed her mind about abortion.

Denae has encouraged and supported Anne throughout her pregnancy, helping her find a midwife, baby supplies, a local support program

On September 13th a little baby boy entered the world because of the club’s and Denae’s support. 

giving-thanks

Our NCLN staff are incredibly grateful for the self-sacrificing work of all our pro-life university students. There are many people this Thanksgiving who have even more to be thankful for because of your life-saving efforts. Thank you.
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Life-Saving Teams

By Chad Hagel, NCLN Intern

As a child who seemed to be born with two left feet, tripping used to be part of my daily routine. Whether it was at the mall or in the park, there was almost a 100% chance my feet would betray me to the non-negotiable forces of gravity. Down I would go, the ground rising up to meet me, my hands flashing out to stop my fall, and I would usually be rewarded with two fresh scrapes.

My mother used my frequent tripping episodes to teach me a lesson: Don’t let people try to help you up. You have to do it on your own. As I got older, I found the opposite proved true: you do need people to help you up. You don’t have to do it on your own, as we are all facing the challenges life brings, regardless of our place in society.

When it comes to the challenge of saving the pre-born, the seriousness of the emergency requires all of us – especially campus clubs – to take that lesson seriously.

We need to be teams focused on saving lives.

That means we have be aware of each other and ourselves, and we need to recognize the unique talents that each person brings to the table. Our feet must be firm on the ground, and, despite any differences in opinion, our teams must have a sense of unity that speaks to the gravity of our work.

How, then, can you create that sense of unity within your campus club? Here are some ways to get started:

  1. Meet people where they are. Not every person enters pro-life activism with the same mindset, level of enthusiasm or level of training. As leaders, we have to recognize this and make adjustments in how we approach the people we work with. For example, when I began pro-life work, I had an action-oriented mindset, was somewhat lukewarm in my enthusiasm, and had no training. With the coaching and support of other pro-life leaders, I have grown to be a leader focused on change, on fire for the pro-life cause, and equipped to engage in some of the toughest conversations. These leaders realized that I needed certain things to become a full-fledged pro-life activist. They also recognized that I had something to give to the fight to end abortion. Taking account of our personal needs and ambitions without losing sight of the emergency at hand enables us to grow as a life-saving team and attract new members on fire for ending abortion.
  2. Build trust. Meeting people where they are at necessarily engenders trust. New members come feeling vulnerable, and possibly feeling a bit unsure of what they are getting into. It’s our jobs as good leaders to assess their current level of training and enthusiasm, tap into that and build them up so they themselves can become leaders. In turn, you come to trust them in their commitment and assign them greater tasks, raising their level of activism, as it were. I can speak from my own experience: I rose from general club member to President precisely because I was given the opportunities to develop as a leader and prove myself. Learning how to meet one another’s needs, while supporting one another in leadership development, creates that spirit of trust that is essential for the pro-life movement. If we can’t even trust the people we work with, how can we ever hope to accomplish anything significant together?
  3. Recognize individual value. Since the worth of the human person is the central message behind the pro-life movement, we leaders are called to recognize the different abilities and talents our team members bring to the table. Is there someone better suited to working behind the scenes and helping the movement on your campus run smoothly? Then assign them that task. Is there someone who has a strong passion for being a voice on campus for the pre-born through activism? Then give them full-reign in planning outreach! The same goes for people who write well, possess graphic design skills, or know how to build a website: create a niche for them in your club! Why? In recognizing individuals’ talents and providing them with a space to exercise them, we bring together the two points I mentioned earlier: people are met where they are at in terms of their talents, and trust is created as a result. In this way, we establish a spirit of collaboration, which will go a long way in creating a club that is well-grounded and firm in their convictions.

Like my childhood self, I can almost guarantee you that you will trip, some times more than others. You will make mistakes. But that’s part of the adjustment process – and experience only cements some of these points.

Nonetheless, get back up again. When all is said and done, you will have a team that is well put-together and one that can easily accommodate new members. You will have the finest life-saving team with you as you strive to change your peers, one person at a time.

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From Apathy to Conviction

On Censorship and the Virtue of Refusing to Shut Up

By Chad Hagel, NCLN Intern and President of UTM Students For Life

When I booted up my phone on August 26th, 2015, the words on the screen stopped me cold. I had been looking forward to spending the last few days of summer relaxing and preparing for my third year at the University of Toronto Mississauga without tension. Alas, it was not to be. One of my fellow pro-life club executives, Cameron, was informing me that he had received an email from our Student Union telling us that our club status for the 2015-2016 year had been revoked. We were told little more than that, but it was as if the large flame of peace I had been nurturing had been extinguished. Even though it had not quite begun, our second year operating as a club had gotten off to a rough start already.

Over the next five months, I experienced a whirlwind of emotions as we first strove to find out why we had been censored. We decided to enlist legal aid while attempting to reconcile with the Student Union, and finally we chose to enter into a lawsuit, which has yet to be settled. The constant bombardment of stress and frustration—on top of my academic life—took a significant toll on me, and I reduced my course load in the second semester so I could recharge and refocus my energies.

In so doing, I was able to reflect on my position in the pro-life movement. I encountered a staggering revelation: since my involvement in pro-life work on campus, I had become firmly committed to speaking strongly against the greatest human rights injustice of our time. This revelation became all the more staggering as I remembered my mindset as I’d signed the club’s mailing list in 2014: apathetic, just doing it because it was expected of me.

How did I get to this point?

Before I explain how, I want to make a point about how apathy functions in the pro-life movement. It’s like a canker sore. When you get a canker sore—especially around your lips—it’s painful. It affects how you eat, how you breathe and how you talk. In short, it doesn’t just affect your lip; it affects how you interact with the people around you. It’s much the same with apathy. If someone’s apathetic, their apathy affects not just them, but the people around them. Apathy breeds more apathy, and apathy is something we cannot afford to have in the pro-life movement.

However, there is hope. Just as a canker sore recedes with time, apathy can be tackled and brought into conviction. That’s what I’m here to emphasize – how to move apathetic pro-lifers in your pro-life campus club to conviction. Here are some beginning methods:

  1. Create a supportive environment. One of the greatest boons I enjoyed in struggling with my Student Union was the support I received from NCLN and my local Right to Life group. They assisted me in numerous ways, most of all emotionally. They led me from apathy to conviction. Further, build that support network not just with pro-life organizations, but also within your club! Meet up with your members outside of activism and exec meetings for coffee. Ask them how they are doing outside of the pro-life cause. Get to know them as a whole person. Invite them to approach you if they have any concerns about being in the club, or anything else related. Be there for them.
  2. Implement a theory of change. As current president of Toronto Right to Life, Blaise Alleyne, once put it, pro-life organizations should not focus solely on doing activities for the sake of doing activities, but should look toward the broader picture. He calls the former a theory of action, the latter a theory of change. He argues that instead of doing activities that make us look busy, we are to do activities that are grounded on the principles of saving lives and making abortion unthinkable. Emulate this in your own club. Look hard at what you are planning for the upcoming year. Is it just busy work? Or is it planned with purpose, with an end goal in sight? How will your activism be effective in ending the killing of preborn humans? These and other such questions will help ground your club in a spirit of change, which will diminish the stain of apathy and allow convicted leaders to develop.
  3. Maintain your compassionate care. In my experience, I know that when I go to events and have no response – either mentally or emotionally – and have that apathy reciprocated by the event organizers, I am unlikely to come back. If the organizers didn’t care, how likely am I to care? Similarly, be careful to present your caring face to those you meet in the pro-life movement, in your club as well as in your activism. Just as you would extend care and compassion to the post-abortive woman, be sure to extend care and compassion to your club members. If they call you, call them back. If they text you, text them back. If they want to talk to you in private, respect their wishes and move to a quiet place. When you debrief after activism, make sure you ask them how it went, and listen to them. Listen to people–it is an indirect way of showing you care about them.

Although this is hardly an exhaustive list, do these small things and you will witness a blossoming of passionate pro-lifers in your campus club.

In the end, however, it is important to remember that the convicted pro-lifer will get tired. This is an inherent part of the human condition. When that happens, remind them of how they were. Ignite that spark. Be their support. Follow through. Look towards the bigger picture. Even though that may not be enough to restore the energies of your team member, it will certainly work for you: you will become further convicted of the need to have a pro-life presence on your campus. And that, really, is what we need: leaders determined to carry on the fight to save the preborn.

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The Road Ahead: Reflections from Symposium 2014

One life changed, many lives saved. We are so excited to share with you Alex’s story of finding her passion—and now career—in helping preborn babies and pregnant moms. Alex Sibiga, outgoing co-president of U of G LifeChoice, attended her first NCLN Symposium in 2014 and wrote a blog for her club’s website about the impact that the weekend had on her. Two years later, her desire to help preborn children and pregnant women continues to fuel her: she is currently doing her second summer internship with the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform, and in the fall will begin the midwifery program at McMaster University. In her words, “That Symposium changed my life. I’m so glad to look back knowing that the conviction I felt didn’t extinguish.” We’re so glad as well!

Check out her reflections after attending Symposium 2014: True Patriot Love.

The Road Ahead

You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right. – Rosa Parks

A little over a week ago, I spent a weekend in a place that seemed too good to be true, a made-up land perhaps…Actually, as more time passes, the more I feel as though I did just dream up the whole thing.

This Oz that I am talking about is the NCLN Symposium — a pro-life conference, put on by pro-life power-houses, to train and equip members of pro-life clubs on university campuses all across Canada. This was a place where everyone around was, in fact, pro-life and shared the belief that abortion is wrong.

Woah, right?

It was such a great and unusual experience being surrounded by people who feel the same way as I do about abortion and have the same passion as I do to end it. I was in a place where I could openly share how sad I am for the pain abortion causes women, or how angry I am at abortion clinics and their coercive ways used to make ridiculous profit, or how frustrated I am at our culture’s double standard when it comes to human rights. I could share these views openly and everyone agreed and shared similar opinions! Seriously, not used to that.

Being a pro-lifer at a university such as Guelph’s, I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to being part of the minority who thinks the littlest of us should have the right to live and that the best solution for an unplanned pregnancy ISN’T to “undo” it. I am pretty aware that this isn’t the general consensus at school. With not a single pregnant student in sight and a Planned Parenthood ad in the section of our survival guides that’s supposed to tell us where to go if pregnant, it seems the culture around me is more pro-abortion than anything…

So as you could imagine, it was a breath of fresh air being at this symposium. I wasn’t in Kansas— I mean Guelph, anymore, and a big part of me wanted to stay there forever. That would be counter-productive though… If you want to change the world, you can’t only surround yourself with people who agree with you. So now we’re back to school, but I’ve taken a lot from the weekend with me, and I hope to hang on to all I’ve learned like a life vest in this stormy pro-abortion sea!

There are three specific things that struck me:

We are human rights activists. There’s a significant group in our population who do not have the rights that they deserve, that we all deserve- the right to live, and this is no different from the other major human rights violations in the past. When some people were considered slaves, it was perfectly legal to deny them their rights to freedom. The law said these humans were not persons. Many people accepted that this was how their society had to run. But then there were those few loud and bold individuals who stood up for them. Those human rights activists took on the struggle and fought the unconquerable battle until it was conquered. It’s no different now. We are human rights activists fighting for what will one day end, and when our grandchildren live in a world where, like slavery now, abortion is unthinkable, and they ask us if we did anything about it, we won’t have to be ashamed about our indifference or our silence.

Being Pro-life is an action. I’ve always thought abortion was wrong, but sometimes I just didn’t think about it, and sometimes I felt like it was just too big of an issue for me to be able to do anything…so I didn’t do anything. I justified this by telling myself that I know it’s wrong, I would never have one, and that’s as far as being pro-life needs to go. What’s wrong with this picture is that being an inactive pro-lifer is believing abortion is killing human beings but letting it go on! I know it’s a huge battle to fight, but we’re 100% sure to lose if we fight with apathy and inaction. The Pro-Life Movement is gaining momentum and everyone has something to offer it! We need social media masterminds, prayer warriors, convincing conversationalists, generous funders, maternal support super heroes, and SO much more. Preborn infants can’t speak or act. But we can. And we must.

Finally, Be courageous and have hope, change is ACTUALLY possible. The biggest thing I got out of the weekend was
HOPE. It’s so easy to get discouraged and think that no one will ever change their mind about abortion, but I learned that hearts and minds are being changed across Canada. Through logical, loving, and honest dialogue many people are realizing the injustice. The CCBR, or Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform, is an incredible and gutsy organization that goes out to the streets with the very real images of abortion victims. As alarming as that sounds, a lot of people take those images to heart. Of course people get angry at the display, but then they talk with the CCBR members and come to the conclusion that abortion is in fact taking the life of a person. These conversations aren’t heated debates, like so many of our discussions about abortion end up being; these conversations are rooted in love for all life, and THAT is what changes things. I know this yellow brick road that pro-lifers have to walk is not an easy one, but take courage and love those who are pro-choice, because it’s that courage and that love which WILL change hearts and save lives.

I’m writing all of this not just for you to read and hopefully be inspired, but for myself also. I feel as though the fire I have for this cause is blazing and ready to take on the world, but I know being at university is like placing this fire in a blizzard. This battle is so incredibly tough. Discouragement and apathy are sure to take a swing at me this year, but when they do, I hope to read this and remember that we can’t stop because we’re tired, or because it’s hard. We can only stop on the day every heart and mind believes the truth, and the land of Oz— the land that respects all human life— won’t be somewhere over the rainbow, but right here at home.

And there’s no place like home.

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Strong Without Leave

On Finding Your Voice in the Pro-Life Movement

By: Chad Hagel, NCLN Intern

In a recent conversation with a well-trusted advisor, we spoke about my positive qualities. One of these qualities was my strength of character; he emphasized that “it was something which set me apart from [other people] my age” and a quality that provided me with confidence. He explained that “strength of character” means not giving up and sticking to your beliefs. After the conversation, I took some time to look at how I showcased my strength of character in my daily life, noting with particular attention my journey in finding my voice in the pro-life movement.

Strength of character is essential to the pro-life movement, particularly if we want to be seen as leaders. Everything else comes from strength of character: passion, motivation and commitment to your cause. You can’t be a leader if you don’t have a small measure of confidence in yourself and aren’t afraid to speak up for what you believe. This carries an added weight in the pro-life movement, as we are committed to providing a voice for the voiceless.

Strength of character is something which everyone can grow in – it’s not something you’re just born with.

Speaking for myself, when I first became active in the pro-life movement, I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence. I could hardly approach a complete stranger during the QA Project and ask them about something I saw to be a controversial issue. When I stood outside buildings on campus, my voice would fade away, and I would be extremely hesitant to approach someone and talk to them.

Over the past couple years, though, this has changed. Although I still have times where I struggle with coming out of my shell (I am an introvert), I am increasingly unhesitant to share the truth about abortion when reaching out to both complete strangers and close friends.

How did I get to this point?

That’s what I would like to emphasize: how to build strength of character in the pro-life movement. That small bit of life-saving confidence. Here are some ideas:

  1. Attend pro-life apologetics training, either for yourself or with your club. This can be facilitated by contacting NCLN or another pro-life organization within Canada, such as the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform (CCBR). I particularly recommend coming to NCLN’s Symposium in September!
  2. Get experience. If you have a pro-life club on your campus, great! Join it! Even though not all clubs have activism, all clubs need new people to bring spunk and vision to the organization and make sure the message never dies. You can implement NCLN’s QA Project on your campus, as well as look into introducing CCBR’s “Choice” Chain into your activism. Work alongsidethe local Right to Life groups in your area, if you are lucky to have them.
  3. Build relationships with like-minded organizations. Even if you don’t have a pro-life group on campus yet, there are plenty of opportunities to add your voice to the pro-life cause this summer and year-round. Your local Right to Life group is often the best place to begin and might be able to connect you with other pro-life groups. 40 Days for Life, enlisting the services of those in the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, and participating in CCBR’s “Choice” Chains are also brilliant ways to begin saving lives in the wider community.

Whatever words emerge as your pro-life voice, what’s important is that you take these words to heart.

You become what you embody. You become a leader. You develop strength of character, as you build up confidence in yourself and your message.

It will not be easy. But, as all of us at NCLN can testify, confidence comes with experience and a belief that you indeed have something of value to share, persevering in the face of tragedy and adversity. You can become strong without leave, and lead our world as the leaders of tomorrow, speaking as you do for the ones who cannot speak for themselves.

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On the Shoulders of Giants

We are thrilled to once again introduce our returning intern, Christine! Having served as an NCLN intern and as President of Queen’s Alive, the pro-life club at Queen’s University in Ontario, many of you can attest to her gift of leadership and her big heart. She has done amazing work with us and on her campus: saving lives through outreach, building a strong pro-life team, and assisting with NCLN project development.

A recent graduate, what’s next for this talented young woman? On the blog this week, check out Christine’s reflections on why she has joined our team as an intern again this summer.

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On the Shoulders of Giants: reflections of a returning intern

By Christine Helferty, NCLN Communications and Research Intern

In my first year of university, I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to make a difference in the pro-life movement. I started outreach with Queen’s Alive before my first week of classes, unknowingly offering a club pamphlet to someone who was already a club member… Certainly I had the enthusiasm for the job if not the experience.

In my second year, I was excited to expand my knowledge of the pro-life movement, attending the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform’s Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) over my reading week and devoting time to the pro-life club student executive. During my third year, I took on the role of club President, and I couldn’t wait to start implementing new ideas such as weekly activism. My fourth year provided constant reminders that there were still many ways for our club to improve to get the results we wanted.

Now that I have done four years with Queen’s Alive, I think I am finally getting the hang of running a pro-life club on campus… just when I am graduating.

This gets me thinking. Why was I trying to reinvent the wheel all those years?

Did I honestly think I was the only one in our club to dream up the idea of weekly activism, or an updated blog, or a full executive council helping to organize events, or frequent meetings? Of course I wasn’t the first to desire those things or to discover that they would make a club work. And I certainly wasn’t the first to attempt to implement these dreams.

In retrospect, I spent a lot of time on campus figuring things out that have already been figured out.

Running a pro-life club isn’t rocket science – but it sure feels like it when there’s no guidebook and you have a full course load, other extra-curricular activities, family, friends, and everything else in life to balance.

And that’s why NCLN is the organization that I want to work for again this summer. NCLN has the experience and resources that fresh university students could never have: NCLN is the guidebook. I want to be a part of making this guidebook even more thorough and accessible for pro-life leaders on campuses across Canada. I want to help students stand on the shoulders of giants in this movement, so that when they dream for their campuses, they can see far past the hills I mistook for mountains.

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Introducing our NCLN Summer Intern, Maria McCann!

We at NCLN are so excited to have Maria McCann join us this summer as an intern at our Toronto office! She will begin her 4th year of her undergraduate degree this summer at Western University in London, Ontario (UWO). She is studying English Literature, French, and Italian. She is passionate about Shakespeare, science fiction, coffee, and every breed of dog known to man. Of course, she is also passionate about justice; in particular, she wants to see the injustice of abortion end in her lifetime.

Maria and her brother, John-Paul
Maria and her brother, John-Paul

Tell us your story and how you became pro-life.

My “pro-life story” began years ago with the birth of my little brother, John-Paul. He was born very prematurely, which caused him to have brain damage and numerous ensuing disabilities. He faces many challenges in his everyday life, as he navigates a world designed for the able-bodied. In spite of (or perhaps because of) his difficulties, he lives every day with an enviable joy.

He has truly taught me that life does not have to be perfect in order to be beautiful.

His very existence challenges the culture of death: a culture that says he should have been aborted before birth…a culture that now suggests that even born people like him are perhaps better off dead than disabled. For all of my childhood and adolescence, I understood the pro-life movement as important for protecting the rights of John-Paul and of other vulnerable people.

How did you get involved in your campus pro-life club?

Near the end of my second year of undergrad, some gentle nudges by the Holy Spirit led me to joining the executive team for Western Lifeline, the pro-life club of UWO. In 2015, several of us decided to attend NCLN’s Symposium, a “boot camp” for pro-life students. The weekend conference turned out to be life-changing for me, learning how to talk to people about abortion with both conviction and compassion.

I was deeply moved by their message that, with 100,000 pre-born babies being killed every year through abortion in Canada, this is not a movement. This is an emergency. That sense of urgency motivated me to engage in weekly activism with Western Lifeline. That sense of urgency motivated me to spend my spring break doing pro-life activism through the Genocide Awareness Project. And that sense of urgency has motivated me to join the staff of NCLN as a summer intern.

Why did you decide to spend a summer working with NCLN?

My experiences on campus have led me to believe that NCLN’s mission is crucial, as students are desperately in need of the pro-life message.

Changing our campuses and inspiring youth today will lead to massive changes in the future, when those young people become the leaders of our society.

On a personal note, NCLN has been a huge support for me over the past year in my work with Western Lifeline, and I want to be that kind of support to other student leaders. I am excited for the projects in store for this summer, such as weekly activism doing clipboarding and Choice Chain. I am eager to help develop new materials that will aid students in the coming year.

Where are you most likely to be on the weekends?

On the weekends, you’ll likely find me checking out thrift stores for vintage tops, or used bookstores to feed my reading addiction. If I’m not at a thrift store or bookshop, I’ll be getting coffee and froyo with friends, or watching reruns of Doctor Who.

If you could be any person in history, who would you be?

I have a pretty specific time and location in mind. I’d love to be a modern-art lover in the early 1900s in Paris. It would be the epitome of cool to sit in a parlour chatting with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso—the cult figures of literary and artistic modernism. I would basically be their groupie.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

I would love to spend a summer touring Italy, especially Tuscany. I have been learning Italian for the past couple years and would like to put my learning into practice. The Italian language and culture are so beautiful, and I want to taste some authentic Italian cuisine! It would also be amazing to see Rome, a city steeped in history.

Send Maria a welcome note! Write to us at info@ncln.ca

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