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Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow

Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator

This summer, do yourself a favour: on a sunny day, go find a quiet place in a park or by a lake or ocean, take a notebook with you, and spend 30 min reflecting on this. I can guarantee the time you put into it now will benefit you ten times more in the long run!
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The following excerpts are taken from the article Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow. This article provides great insights into how we can grow as the leaders we are called to be. Reflect on the quotes and the questions to see where you can improve yourself so you can better lead others in sharing the pro-life message on your campus.

Leadership is an expression of your heart and soul. To become a leader, you need to know your higher purpose and believe in it passionately.

• What would you say your higher purpose is? Do you live a consistent life where your actions are in line with this purpose?
• Does your role in the pro-life club help you achieve this purpose?

Leaders need to feel comfortable in their own skin. It begins with the ability to explore and share one’s life story by helping people understand how we all mesh together for a meaningful journey. You intentionally begin to discover your authentic self by connecting with who you really are. Authentic leaders are not power driven but meaning driven people.

• What brings meaning to your life? How would you articulate this to others?
• How does your role in the pro-life club bring more meaning to your life?

As a leader you need to be fully committed to nurturing the well-being and commanding the trust of the people around you. Only in the context of a meaningful relationship can people feel empowered and inspired to demonstrate their greatest potential.

• Identify 2 students who you will meet up with for coffee this summer, taking the time to get to know them more so you can better work together in the pro-life club this upcoming year.
• What potential do you see in these students? Help them see how they can develop this by participating in the club.

The vision and direction of a team [is] about the ability of the leader to capture the big WHY in the hearts and minds of others. People rally behind a strong vision when they know WHY they doing what they doing.

• Why do you do what you do with the pro-life club? How do you articulate this to others?
• Do you truly believe in the vision of your club? “If you don’t get goose bumps telling others where our life is heading, your vision isn’t compelling enough to shape your behaviour.”* Is your vision compelling enough to inspire others to action?
As you start to look at the upcoming school year, keep these reflection points in mind. Are you approaching your leadership position in the pro-life club with the right heart? Are you the kind of person others want to follow?

*Mike Figliuolo in Let’s make leadership real again. Stanford, CA: Change This. (2012).
 

Be sure to talk to your Campus Coordinator about your leadership goals and plans! We’d love to work with you to help you achieve them!

 

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Youth Protecting Youth: “Abortion is a Human Right” — Only When There Are None

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by YPYExec. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

by Kamilah Thorpe 
 
MP Niki Ashton recently put forward Motion 5-10, asking parliament to vote: “in the opinion of the House: a women’s right to choose abortion is a fundamental question of equality and human rights.”
 
This rather bold statement calls into question the human rights of the unborn child, but it also made me reflect on why anyone would be so bold as to say that the right to choose abortion is a fundamental human right.
 
I think that abortion is only ever seen as a “good thing” when all the other options seem worse. For this reason, I think that abortion can only be disguised as a human right in a society where women do not have any rights at all, and so abortion is seen as desirable because it offers what appears to be a quick fix to a much deeper social problem.
 
The sad reality is that there are places in the world where women really have no rights. There are places where a woman will be killed, banished, or dishonoured for conceiving a child out of wedlock. There are places where a woman is expected to bear children for her husband, despite any grave physical, emotional, or financial strain this might cause her. 
 
Canada, thankfully, is not one of these places. Here a woman can, and should, receive any aid she needs in pregnancy. If Canadian women feel the need for abortion, it is because we have failed to remedy underlying societal problems.
 
Abortion is a “Band-Aid solution” that offers women a quick fix to pregnancy, but if we really respected women and their bodies we would stop sweeping pregnancy under the carpet as something gone wrong. We would see it instead as a beautiful reality of womanhood, and of hope in the future of our country.
 
A woman who feels the need to be rid of her child because of external pressure is a slave to oppression. A woman who feels supported, respected, and honoured to be carrying the next generation inside her body is a woman who is truly free.

Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Youth Protecting Youth: All I Want for Christmas…

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by YPYExec. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

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by Kamilah Thorpe

We all know that giving gifts to those we love brings joy. Every Christmas parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles lavish the children in their lives with Christmas presents—small or big, expensive or inexpensive. Giving gifts is a sign of love.

I’ve experienced working in a toy store and had the pleasure of seeing many adults come in and pick out the perfect gift for a child, putting thought and affection—not to mention an economic investment—into their gift. The children who receive those gifts at Christmas are loved. They are wanted.

I ask myself why it is that some children are not.

Why is it that some children in the womb are awaited with joyful expectation while others are considered a curse to be rid of? Does the number of presents under the tree decide which child has worth and which child is worthless? Do wanted children have more of a right to life than those who are unwanted?

Abortion takes away the life of a child because that life is not wanted.

My wish this Christmas is that each child be loved regardless of the sacrifice it might take to give them a chance at life.

My wish this Christmas is that all children be wanted for who they are, regardless of the circumstances in which they come because every child is precious.


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Youth Protecting Youth: Exposing the Truth on Campus

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by YPY Info Officer. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

by Kamilah Thorpe
Sometimes the truth is hard to take. Everyone knows that. The need to accept reality for what it is is part of our human existence. We have to take the rainy days for what they are and when the number on our weight scale is not what we wish it was, we just have to deal with it. But what happens when we deny reality? What happens when someone tries to hide the truth? What happens when the voices of those trying to expose the realities of violence and injustice are forcibly silenced? Many people are offended and disgusted by the horrible images of aborted fetuses that YPY members have chosen to expose to the public. It is because of this that the University of Victoria has taken many measures to censor YPY.
 I myself am horrified and disgusted by the images and will be the last person to deny that they can be emotionally traumatizing. But they are true. I look forward to the day when people will remember those pictures as something terrible that used to happen in our country. But today it is still happening. If we keep denying the truth we will never change and we will never heal. That is why YPY members have always fought, and will continue to fight, for their right to freedom of expression at UVic. It is silly to hide from a weight scale. But it is a serious problem when we hide from the injustice and violence that takes place in our country every day.

Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Reach Campuses, Change Canada: A Message for Every Pro-Life Post-Secondary Student

By Rebecca Richmond, NCLN Executive Director

Canada’s pro-choice movement has been well-served by campuses.  Whether pro-choice or pro-life, campuses remain critical ground to take in the culture wars.  These venerable institutions are an engine for change and cultural transformation in our country – for better or for worse.

During a recent re-reading of Henry Morgentaler’s biography, I was struck by the manner in which universities were used to advance abortion on-demand.  As the Women’s Liberation Movement rose in the 60’s and 70’s, groups formed on campuses with abortion “rights” a core tenet of their mission.  They influenced the soon-to-be legislators, lawyers, doctors and educators.  They became legislators, lawyers, doctors and educators.  Even before the law changed, their associations, such as the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Bar Association, lobbied parliament to allow abortions.

And when Henry Morgentaler was arrested, “women across the country were politicized, activated” and able to spring to his support, says biographer Catherine Dunphy.[1]  And it was often university educated men and women – the business, arts, and political elites -that publicly or privately championed the cause, often funding and fundraising for it as well. photo 3

These days pro-choicers are calling on students to reclaim campuses for the cause.  A few years ago the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) began a student project, and Joyce Arthurs has served, she wrote in an ARCC newsletter, as a consultant for student unions nationally.  Their student coordinator even noted with concern that, “Canadian campuses have become hotbeds for anti-choice activities in recent years.”[2] 

But our goal is not to merely worry pro-choicers.  We still have a lot of work to do.  But as we return back to school – or start at university or college for the first time – we can find ourselves overwhelmed.  The fact is that there are many good and noble things that can occupy our thoughts and time.

When I started my degree at the University of Ottawa, pro-life activism was not on my radar.  I was pro-life, to be sure, but I was focused on getting my education, accomplishing my goals and ultimately doing good in the world after graduation.  None of this was bad, but I was missing something: the fact that Canadian campuses are mission fields desperate for the pro-life message and that I could do good here and now and not just after graduation.

Our campuses contain the age demographic upon which the most abortions are performed each year; our campuses contain Canada’s future leaders; our campuses affect Canadian culture.  And unless there is an active pro-life presence on a campus, students are exposed to only the pro-choice message.

This year, in particular, I have been impacted by the sad reality that we are a generation that has come of age in the 25 years since the R. v. Morgentaler Supreme Court decision.  We are a generation that has known nothing but unrestricted abortion on-demand.  We are survivors, with a quarter of our generation having lost their lives to abortion.

That is who we are and we didn’t have a choice, but who we can become is what we get to choose.  We have the opportunity and the obligation to ensure that the next generation is not abandoned to the fate that ours suffered.

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The upcoming NCLN Symposium is entirely dedicated to forming student leaders who can lead Canada out of the shadows of R. v. Morgentaler.  This weekend’s theme is Out of the Shadows, and is open to all pro-life students in Canada as an incredible opportunity to be formed, educated, and equipped by top Canadian and American pro-life leaders as well as to connect with the cross-Canada Student Pro-Life Movement.

Many Canadian pro-lifers, including leaders such as the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform’s Stephanie Gray, Jonathon Van Maren and Maaike Rosendal, credit the Symposium with being “THE event” for pro-life students and “literally life changing” for them personally.

If you believe that abortion is the killing of innocent human beings, if you believe that women deserve better than abortion, and if you want to see Canadian culture respect life, it’s time to take action on campuses.  The Symposium is a great way to start.

I realize that I am asking you to let your heart break for injustice, over and over again.  I know that I am asking you to make a sacrifice and to take a risk.  But it is only in this way that we can move Canada out of the shadows and into the light of a Culture of Life. It starts with you; it starts with your campus.


[1] Catherine Dunphy.  Morgentaler: A Difficult Hero.  Toronto: Random House of Canada Ltd. 1996, pg. 100.

[2] Tara Paterson, “Pro-choice thinkers unite! A call-out for pro-active reproductive justice”. March 3 2012.

http://arccsynergy.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/pro-choice-thinkers-unite-a-call-out-for-pro-active-reproductive-justice/

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Diving into the Year

Rebecca Richmond

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Here we are, somehow, in September.  

This time of the year is full of memories for many of us: memories of back-to-school shopping, serious contemplation over our first day of school outfits, sharpening pencils and packing our bulging backpacks.  I recall always being so careful to go to bed at an early hour, and often being unable to fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning because I was so wired.  Despite little sleep, I would jolt out of bed as soon as my alarm went off.

That was not the case this morning.  I am not in school but my entire job is oriented to supporting students, so when you start school, our busy summer shifts into hyper drive for the fall.  But this morning I did not want to be conscious, not because I was tired, but because I did not want to face the challenges of the day.  No, to be entirely accurate, I didn’t want to face the challenges of the day, the week, the semester, the year…you get the picture.    

It’s not that I mind hard work.  I happily give up evenings and weekends, like every other pro-life activist in the country, to do what needs to get done.  No, my problem isn’t the work.  It’s the fear that I won’t be capable of the work.  It’s the fear of failure: of letting people down, of not being able to do it all, of not being able to do it all perfectly.  My perfectionist tendencies needle me and procrastination is an almost irresistible temptation.  And yes, I succumbed briefly to the temptation of the ‘snooze’ button this morning.

It is easy to disguise these fears with the easily accepted explanation of being “too busy”.  The reality is, no matter how ‘busy’ we are with school and work, we do have time.  We make time everyday for things that aren’t really priorities – or shouldn’t be anyway – in our lives.  We make time for Facebook, we make time for Youtube videos,  for watching TV, for random Google searches we can’t even recall the original purpose for.  We make time for people, socializing, going out.  And we do make time for pro-life activism, but we all struggle to keep up.  Those emails that must get written, the meetings we promised to attend, the tasks we promised to take on are all important aspects of that activism.  They are the little choices that build a foundation for having an impact on campus.

Time is part of the issue, but what is the deeper root of our problem?  What are we afraid of?

Are we afraid of what other people will think? Maybe we’d rather keep our activism on the down low; we’re still doing pro-life things…as long as no one we know notices.  

Are we afraid that we won’t be able to fulfill our responsibilities properly, so we procrastinate until we have to bow out with an excuse?

Are we afraid that we’ll let our fellow club members down?  Afraid that we’ll let the cause down?

These are all real fears that can paralyze us, if we let them.  So as we go back-to-school and prepare ourselves for the year, let’s give ourselves a good dose of perspective.  I dare you to ask yourself a dangerous question, a question that radically changed my time at university and continues to get me out of bed even on daunting mornings: is the fear that is holding me back more important than the message I have to share?  Or, will the reality of 300 innocent lives lost every day to abortion in Canada propel me to overcome my fears and insecurities?

I know that standing here, on the brink of a new semester, can be daunting.  All of us would prefer to merely dip our toes or wade in the waters of the cause.  But injustices are never righted by people taking an occasional lukewarm interest.   Conviction must lead to commitment if we are to succeed in ending abortion.  It requires us to be brave and bold enough to stop hugging the shoreline and dive past our fears into the deep uncertain waters of a life lived for others.

So sign up for an executive position with your club, organize that first club meeting, plan those events, book those club tables, remind those friends about getting involved, and live as if somebody else’s life depends on it – because it does.

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2013 NCLN Symposium: Out of the Shadows

 

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“The Symposium exposed me to many different pro-life networks in Canada. It enabled me to connect with other pro-life students across Canada, sharing ideas and strategies for future work.” – Student Feedback 2011

This January, Canada marked a shameful anniversary: the 25th anniversary of the R. v. Morgentaler Supreme Court decision that struck down all abortion laws in our country, allowing abortion for any reason or no reason, and at any stage of pregnancy.  Since this time, no restrictions and no legislation has ever been enacted to remedy this destructive status quo. 

Henry Morgentaler, whose Supreme Court case forever changed Canada, passed away this spring at 90 years of age.  Much discussion has followed on what his legacy was. The history of abortion is much broader than the life of one iconic abortionist, but we can see that in the quarter century since the R. v. Morgentaler decision, a quarter of our generation has been wiped out.  Our family, neighbours, siblings and our own children have lost their lives to abortion.  

We are the survivors and we have the opportunity and the obligation to speak up for them and spare the next generation from the same fate that ours suffered.  

It starts with you. It starts with your campus.

Ending Abortion, the NCLN Symposium

If we want to end abortion in Canada, we need to start by transforming our own campuses.  It is our peers who belong to the age demographic that undergoes the most abortions and it is our peers who are and will be the leaders of our nation.  But transforming our campuses for life is no easy task.  There are many obstacles and barriers to contend with, both in the classroom and out.48183_482480978450676_595626359_o  

The Symposium equips and empowers students to be leaders for life on their campuses.  The Symposium is much more than a conference. This annual gathering of pro-life student leaders from across Canada is a weekend of learning, skill development; networking and motivation; a potent combination of taking in the knowledge of experts in the Pro-Life Movement and learning practical skills and strategies in order to have an impact on campus. More information on this year’s speakers can be found here.

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For many students, the Symposium is a key moment in their pro-life journeys.  As one student commented, “The Symposium changed the way I approached pro-life campus activism.  It was a pivotal moment.”  A number of Pro-Life leaders in Canada have told us the Symposium was an important moment that spurred them to take on leadership roles within the movement.

This year our Symposium focuses in on the anniversary of the Morgentaler decision and what it has meant for our country, but, more importantly, how we, as students, can emerge out of the shadows to secure a brighter future for our country.

If you are a post-secondary student (university or college) who is involved with a pro-life campus club or interested in becoming involved, this is the training event for you!  

To register for this year’s Symposium, click here.

For regular updates, check out our Facebook event.

Location:  Toronto, ON 

Date: Friday September 27 , 2:30pm –  Sunday September 29th, 1:00pm

Registration opens: July 2nd, 2013

The weekend includes overnight accommodations for Friday and Saturday night as well as meals. 

 

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University of Toronto Students for Life: Tale of the Tape: Stephanie Gray

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by Danny Ricci. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Yesterday we profiled Dr. Donald Ainslie in our lead-up to our debate next Monday night! Now I will highlight Dr. Ainslie’s opponent for the evening – Stephanie Gray:

EDUCATION

2008–2009 Certification, with Distinction, in Health Care Ethics, U.S. National Catholic Bioethics Center

1998–2002 Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of British Columbia

AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION

Scientific and philosophical defense for the pro-life view (basic and advanced) and approaches for effective dialogue

Debates

Christian-based motivational presentations

Strategy for the pro-life movement

Organizing and conducting visual displays (e.g., the Genocide Awareness Project [GAP])

Speakers training

Fundraising training

Other Credentials:

- President of Lifeline, the University of British Columbia’s pro-life club from 1999–2001

- Guest on television programs such as CTV, VTV, and ATV News, Global News, 100 Huntley Street’s Listen Up, and the Miracle Channel’s Insight

- Interviewed by ABC-, NBC-, FOX-, and CBS-affiliated television news programs throughout the Midwest of the United States

This is going to be an epic night. I will post all of the details of the debate tomorrow. Don’t miss it!


Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.