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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NCLN is hiring!

University campuses are in dire need of the pro-life message. Pro-Life students on these campuses need support and mentorship as they seek to bring this message to a hostile culture.

Are you willing to serve alongside these students as they seek to change hearts and minds?

NCLN is accepting applications for our Summer Internship Program, based out of our Langley and Toronto offices! If you’re a post-secondary student who is passionate about bringing the pro-life message to your campus and eager to grow as a leader, this opportunity is for you!

NCLN Internship details and application.

We are also hiring a new Campus Coordinator to join us in our Toronto office. If you’re interested in an exciting, challenging and fulfilling career that is dedicated to ending abortion and upholding the value of all human life, from conception to natural death, please consider the difference you could make through a position with NCLN!

Campus Coordinator details and application.

Application deadlines: March 15th.

For more information, contact Anastasia Pearse.

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Thank you NCLN!

Josie (on right) with Anastasia Pearse (centre) and Kathleen Dunn (left).

By Josie Wichrowski, NCLN Summer Intern 2012
As my internship is coming to a close, I reflect on the last three months of my summer working for NCLN. There have been some amazing highlights such as: participating in CCBR’s Abortion Caravan Launch in Vancouver, attending Signal Hill’s Focus on Life Gala dinner, and taking part in an NCLN training program in Burlington ON with the rest of the NCLN staff team. Overall, I cannot say enough how much my training impacted me and how grateful I am to the staff at NCLN for the internship opportunity. I am convinced that my week of training in Burlington equipped me with the knowledge and tools I needed to have a successful summer working for NCLN, and the research and assignments I did over this summer definitely equipped me to better help my peers as I head back to school this fall, where I will continue being active in the pro-life movement on my  campus.  I am really excited to return to school and give back all that I have learned this summer.

 

This summer I have learned not only about the work NCLN does, but also about the pro-life movement as a whole. I found it truly remarkable how many pro-life organizations are working towards building a culture of life in our country. But,  even more remarkable is how NCLN is the only organization that specifically caters to university students and campus clubs in Canada.

Therefore, I urge you, if you are an executive member with your campus club this year, or will be one in the future, make sure to take advantage of the NCLN Campus Coordinator nearest to you! If you ever need a guiding hand to help you make an impact on campus, don’t hesitate to contact NCLN. As I have gotten to know them personally, I can vouch that they are very friendly people!

Secondly, try and make a point of attending their Annual National Symposium in Toronto, where you will receive pro-life training and hear amazing pro-life speakers. It is also a unique opportunity to meet other pro-life student leaders across the country in the same shoes as you—I wish I had attended when I was at Capilano University!

Thank you NCLN for my internship, and for continuing to work towards equipping students so that the pro-life message is heard on our campuses. I hope that NCLN will continue to grow and make an even bigger impact for years to come!

Thank you!

 

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