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Speaker Feature: Devorah Gilman!

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Devorah speaking to to the public about abortion. (Right next to a pro-choice protestor!)

We are very excited to have Devorah Gilman join us as a speaker this year at the Symposium! Who better to give a talk entitled “Winning More Than Arguments” than someone who is engaging with her peers on the abortion issue almost every day? Devorah works full-time for The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform and has had thousands of conversations about abortion on campuses and city streets across the continent! To give you an idea about this incredible lady, we asked her a few questions:

1. How did you first get involved in the Pro-Life Movement?

In my early teens I saw pictures of abortion victims and was convicted that I must do something to stop this injustice. From then on I volunteered for and attended various pro-life events, including helping out with OttawaU Students for Life.

2. What is your favourite project to do with the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform and why?

My favorite project to do with CCBR is the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP). The reasons being: 1. It profoundly impacts those who encounter it resulting in numerous changed hearts and minds. 2. Nothing else I have ever encountered so quickly equips people to be competent, compassionate and confident pro-life ambassadors. 3. The first two points sum up the main reasons. I just wanted a third point because I like having three points.

3. What is your favourite quote? How does it apply to your life?

”I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” — Martin Luther King Jr. This quote is encouraging and inspiring because it is true.

4. If you were a cloud, which type would you be?

I am a Cumulus cloud. I know this because I looked at a bunch of pictures of clouds and those were my favorite. Then I took one of those online quizzes “What type of cloud are you?” and it confirmed that I indeed am a Cumulus.

5. Why are you excited to be a part of the Symposium?

The Symposium was a game changer for me as a pro-life advocate. The training I received that week equipped me to defend the pre-born and is still useful to me as someone who works full-time in the pro-life movement. It’s an honor to be able to come back to the Symposium and help equip university students from across Canada to effectively defend life on their campuses. The Symposium is also a ton of fun! It’s an incredible opportunity to make friends, exchange ideas and encourage students who have the same passion and vision as you do.

To hear Devorah speak at this year’s Symposium, along with a great lineup of other amazing speakers, apply today! 

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NCLN Symposium Testimony: Catherine Dubois!

Attended Symposium 2013

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Catherine, holding a candy with a pro-life fact which she and her club handed out during Brandon University Clubs Days! Clever outreach!

Student at Brandon University

I grew up in a pro-life household but it wasn’t until the summer before university that I put these beliefs into action. A friend and I were discussing how Brandon University didn’t have a pro-life group on campus. Neither of us had much experience in pro-life work but we agreed to try and start a club together. Before I knew it, our simple conversation had turned into censorship and the threat of a legal battle with my student’s union. It took 13 months of fighting with our student’s union and the legal assistance of the Justice Centre for Constitution Freedoms before we were granted club status. Twenty five days after our historic approval I was able to attend the National Campus Life Network Symposium. The support and advice NCLN had provided during our struggle to club status was only intensified at the Symposium. I was thrust into the role of president without a clue as to what that meant and what I was expected to do. The pressure and stress was lifted after sessions where I heard what worked on other campuses, as well as received take-home resources with tips. I became equipped with the knowledge, the resources and the courage to be an active pro-life witness on my campus. And not only that, the Symposium also opened up a network of other active pro-life students across the nation to share ideas with and to find support in. My passion for the pro-life cause was formed and strengthened by the best of the best. I highly encourage anyone to attend the NCLN Symposium and they will discover effective ways to take the pro-life message to their campus, while also making great friends!

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Alumni Interview: Elizabeth Espadero!

Elizabeth Espadero is a woman of grace, gentleness and a generous heart! She is truly a pro-life hero as she cares for her two beautiful daughters. Through her involvement in the club at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, Elizabeth helped the group thrive and encouraged members to grow – including NCLN’s own, Kathleen! We are so thankful for Elizabeth’s continued witness in the pro-life movement as a volunteer and as a loving mother. We asked her a few questions to gain some insight into her campus experience and how she continues to create a culture of life with her growing family.

Campus:
Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, Barry’s Bay, ON
Graduating year: 2010
Area of study: Humanities
ProLife Club name: 
Paul Sanders and Janine Lieu ProLife Club
Years involved: 2
Current vocation: Married

How were you involved in pro-life work on campus? What did your role look like?

I was a member for one year, and assistant to the president of the club for the next.

What did you find was the biggest struggle of doing campus pro-life work?

Finding a balance between schoolwork and all of the demands of student life, and really trying to give as much as possible to the pro-life movement on campus.

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Elizabeth with her husband, John, and two daughters. (Espadero Photography)

What helped you through it?

A good, lively relationship with other members of the club. Keeping up the momentum, especially between the president and I, helped me to keep the goals of the club in the forefront of my mind, motivating me to keep working toward them. However, it is hard to remain motivated, and particularly, to set reasonable goals that will really serve your school well.

How does your past involvement in campus pro-life work affect your activities today?

During the course of my involvement in campus pro-life work, I became friends with several very dedicated individuals who now work full-time in the movement here in Canada. Through social media and the odd chance to catch up with them in person, I am able to keep abreast of what is happening in the Canadian pro-life world, and am able to help as much as I’m able, through attending Life Chains and the March in Victoria, helping with fundraisers for the local crisis pregnancy center, and mainly trying to build the culture of life through my own little family.

Has being a mother affected/deepened your view of what it means to be pro-life? If so, how?

It’s funny, I don’t think motherhood has deepened my view of the sanctity of life, so to speak, but I now feel more than ever for those women who have been traumatized by abortion. The connection I have with my daughters is different than any other human relationship I’ve known, and for that to be cut short in such a violent way would be unthinkable. More than ever, I hope and pray that each woman contemplating abortion will somehow have a conversation, or see a picture, or in some other way be confronted with the reality of the life within her, and so have a real connection with her little one – that her heart will be gently changed.

As a mother yourself, do you have any words of encouragement or advice for other young moms, who may be struggling with an unexpected pregnancy?

It’s a cliche, but I think that in a crisis like an unexpected pregnancy (just like all very hard times in life), it’s crucial to live one day – even one moment – at a time. There will always be someone willing and able to help: a place to stay, to connect her with resources, help her through the difficult and painful changes that will come. There are SO many families desperately wanting a child to love. If she could somehow live one day at a time through the pregnancy, and persevere, the heartache of that time will be so worth it to give life to a new little person.

 

Thank you so much for your continued witness in the pro-life movement, Elizabeth! It is a blessing to know you and to see your beautiful family grow!

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Symposium Testimony: Swimming in the Deep End

Meagan Nijenhuis, Summer Intern

I was thrown into the deep end, finding myself vice president of Life Choice at the University of Guelph before I even had time to put on my swimming goggles. My parents raised me to respect all human life but until university, the extent of my involvement had been showing up at 40 Days for Life once a year. I had been to a maximum of four meetings and suddenly I was on the executive. I needed to orient myself in the pro-life world. And fast. I had a pro-life club to help run. The NCLN Symposium gave me the water wings to survive the plunge into campus activism.

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The Symposium introduced me to other student leaders from across the country, giving me a glimpse of the magnitude of the movement. I was surrounded by so many others who were also in the “deep end”, bringing the message of life to a campus shrouded with a culture of death. Sometimes life brings you together with people for an instant and then you go your separate ways. In the Pro-Life Movement, it has to be different. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with each other and continue onward together, no matter the distance that separates us. We are a team. I’ve been able to keep in contact, bounce ideas off and team up with students from across Canada because of relationships fostered at the Symposium.
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As a newbie to the pro-life front, I wasn’t aware of the army of organizations that fight for preborn human rights. At the Symposium I was able to not only learn from many of them in sessions and workshops, but also to have one-on-one conversations with these renowned leaders throughout the weekend. The Symposium expanded my network of resources to include more experienced people I would be able to fall back on for advice while leading Life Choice through the fall and winter semesters.

The Symposium saturated us with helpful information from a wide range of disciplines. Over the course of the weekend talks were given on the psychology of those you talk to on the street, the current state of abortion law in Canada and different projects you can run on your campus like the Silent No More Awareness Campaign or “Choice” Chain among others. They were pumping more and more air into my water wings.

This introduction to the Pro-Life Movement fueled a zeal to protect all human life and gave me both the tools and the connections I needed to tread the waters of campus activism. I was set for life in the “deep end.”

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True patriot love.

We sing the words in our anthem, yet the word ‘patriot’ rarely seems to enter our vocabulary (unless we’re referring to Americans, of course). But in a society that has euthanasia knocking down the door and fully funds abortion-on-demand, true patriot love is sorely needed.

If we want to end abortion in Canada and build a Culture of Life, we need to start by transforming our own campuses. Our universities not only contain the age demographic most vulnerable to undergoing abortions, but also are responsible for forming and shaping young leaders who, in turn, shape the culture and the policies of our nation. To move our nation we must first must move our own wounded generation from a place of apathy to one of action.

We need a generation of patriots.

The Symposium is an intensive pro-life leadership training program, designed to equip and empower students to respond to and engage with the challenges of the university environment.

The program includes:

  • Training from the experts on the issues and effective campus strategies;
  • Skill development through interactive sessions and workshops;
  • Leadership formation;
  • Networking with student leaders from across Canada as well as leading members of the Pro-Life Movement.

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For regular updates, check out our Facebook event.

Location: Toronto, ON
Date: Friday September 26 , 2:30pm – Sunday September 28th, 1:00pm
The weekend includes overnight accommodations for Friday and Saturday night as well as meals.


  If your organization is interested in sponsoring this year’s Symposium,

please contact our Central Coordinator, Clarissa at central@ncln.ca for more information!

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Formed by students and for students, National Campus Life Network (NCLN) is the heart of the Pro-Life Student Movement in Canada. NCLN equips students to build a campus culture that respects and upholds the value and equality of all human life from fertilization to natural death; these students will in turn transform society, as they go on to lead in their future fields , careers, communities, and families.

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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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Symposium Stories: 2011

We asked a few students from last year’s Symposium to share their thoughts with us on their experiences.

 

Matthew Cram, University of Toronto Students for Life

I thought the Symposium was absolutely fantastic.  It was a great opportunity to great way to brush up on the issues, see some inspiring speakers and get new ideas for events to take back to our campuses – ideas that would never have  otherwise occurred to me. The Symposium offered helpful advice and invaluable support for everything from complex apologetic to the basics of how to strike up a conversation in a crowd.  But I think that the thing I enjoyed most about the symposium was the opportunity to meet other people with their new fresh perspectives on the fight for life. So often on campuses we feel as if we are in the extreme minority and that is why it was such a great experience to see that people just like me from all over the country, each with something new to bring to the discussion, whether it was a new idea for an event or a new take on an argument.  The symposium helped me make great connections to other pro life clubs across the country and helped me make a whole lot of new friends as well. I would highly recommend it for anyone who wants advice on how to take the pro life message to their campus.

Erin Murphy, Brock Students for Life

I’ve been Pro-Life my whole life, knowing that abortion was not the answer to any problem. But it wasn’t until I attended the Symposium that I truly became Pro-Life. It was then when I heard, “If you actually believe that abortion is murder, how should you act?”. It was then that it clicked. I couldn’t be Pro-Life and stand by the sidelines anymore. I had to stand up, get the courage and fight for the innocent babies being murdered.

I highly recommend attending this Symposium. It helped give me the courage and skills I need to raise awareness about the genocide taking place in my own backyard.

Rebecca Groen, University of the Fraser Valley Life Link

Attending NCLN’s National Symposium was such a rewarding experience for me. Not only did I get to meet university students from across Canada who were also excited for the pro-life movement, I also gained valuable training from the many speakers that spent time with us that weekend. I established contacts from around my area, and together we  collaborated for Life Week! NCLN made sure we didn’t go home empty-handed, either. They had many resources available for us to take home to get our club started. I am thankful for Abbotsford Right to Life who provided us with funding to be able to participate in this event. 

James Vanderhorst, University of the Fraser Valley Life Link

This symposium was a crash course in how to be a pro-life advocate. It will equip you to do pro-life work and will leave you with a passion to defend the unborn. You’ll meet some great people and you’ll learn some great things.

 

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