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Today’s post was written by Nate, a summer intern with SFLI and the current president of Illini Collegians for Life at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
College is commonly referred to as “the time to find yourself,” but I have witnessed the exact opposite. It is the time in life where young people lose their identities, choosing to accept the status quo instead.
I challenge the status quo by fighting to live a life that cultivates human rights among all ages, but my spirit is worn by the multitude who float around living unintentionally. It’s not easy to change a culture, to stand up for the beauty in life.
Seeing this divided, broken world around mehas and will continue to give me renewed purpose, to rise above the pain and take new chances.
This summer I went against the grain and tried something new.
I applied for an internship with Students for Life of Illinois. I went out on a limb, sacrificed money, and other internships, but in return I have gained much more.
Through my internship, I have been re-rooted in the essentials. If we can’t acknowledge and celebrate the beautiful joy of life, what amount of money or experience matters?
I’ve learned that it’s not necessarily the big events, or public audiences that are going to change this world.
I may not be able to end suffering around the world, but I can hear my friend’s pain and help her see hope. I can help a classmate through a crisis pregnancy. I can change the world, today.
I know that I have the power to impact every single person around me whether it be with a smile to a stranger, or a heart to heart with a trusted friend. It’s the awe and wonder which I show toward all life that will change the world around me.
Going back to University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, I am ready to bring my campus to life. As President of Illini Collegians for Life, I am leading a family of pro-life student leaders to bring hope back to our campus.
Together, we are opposing this culture of death. We are making sacrifices and stepping out of our comfort zone.
We are opening other students’ eyes to the tragedy of abortion and building a culture that dignifies all human life.
I never thought that I would be involved in the pro-life movement, let alone become an intern at Students for Life of Illinois. I knew abortion was wrong, but I did not see a need to go up against it.
All it took was one personal invitation to open my eyes to something beautiful. My roommate Katie invited me to a Loyola Students for Life (LSFL) meeting, and I was immediately surrounded by the loudest and friendliest group on campus.
I met many wonderful people that I wanted to be around that spirit constantly. If I was going to dive into something different, I knew these were the people I would want to do it with.
Not long after my first LSFL meeting, I chose to join my friends on the way to D.C. for the 2013 March for Life. Coming back from the trip, I knew this was where I wanted to be.
Nearly a year later, I became the Personal Outreach Executive of LSFL and was ready to make our community grow. That was what got me started and I wanted to do the same for somebody else.
But I wanted to do more.
I thought of my peers who had interned with SFLI. I remember watching them come back to campus rejuvenated and full of energy. They had so much confidence in their work, and that was what I wanted.
That led me to apply for an internship with SFLI, and I could not have been any happier to receive such a great opportunity.
During my internship I have had the chance to speak with individuals who have been involved in the pro-life movement for forty years, and I witnessed the joy that they had when talking to me.
My generation provides the hope that they have been looking for.
I always viewed my impact on a college campus level or even on a community level. It did not take long to realize that my actions go beyond what I had imagined.
I have learned that the small things that I do ignite a spark in people around me and together we can do anything.
Thank you, Kelly, for your inspiring story and dedication to the pro-life movement!
This is the 4th testimony from students who went with us to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. It comes from Kelly who attends the University of Illinois . Here’s Kelly:
When the pro-life group on campus announced the March for Life, I was pumped! It was exhilarating to go to Washington D.C. with my friends while standing up for a cause I am passionate about.
As the date crept closer, doubts raced through my mind.
Would I be able to make up the missed school work? Would there be riots in the capital? Would the drive be safe with all of the snow and the cold weather?
To comfort myself, I thought of all of the valuable information I would learn from the conference held the day before the march. It would be an all-day event filled with talks from some of the most active leaders of the pro-life movement. The conference definitely helped me realize how devastating abortion is.
The next day was the March for Life, which was incredible. Hundreds of thousands of people of all ages joined together to state that we will not accept this anymore. Abortion must be ended.
Our group was a group of fun, excited college students. We cheered and chanted at the top of our lungs as we marched to the Supreme Court.
The facts on the number of lives lost from abortions and the suffering that many women experience from it broke my heart and the thousands of others’ who attended the march.
Yet, the data is adding up. Abortion clinics are closing down. More minds are supporting life. The pro-life generation is winning the fight for life!
This excitement has stayed with me, and I’m not afraid to share my beliefs because I now feel much more confident about defending them. I published a post on Facebook (which I never do) and have been having a debate with my friend about abortion without being rude or judgmental.
I hope to get more involved on campus by reaching out to the pregnancy centers through the pro-life group to see if we can work together.
The March for Life trip was a fun, informative, meaningful, powerful, and rewarding experience. I can’t wait to go again next year, and I encourage everyone to go too. It truly is worth whatever you may have to sacrifice, and just think: three days of your time could save millions of lives.
We are so glad that Kelly is a part of this crucial pro-life movement with Students for Life of Illinois.
“I just feel so happy and uplifted to be around everyone who wants to see life – wants to imagine a future without abortion.” SFLI student leader, Zach Martinez said in “40”, a new documentary on the pro-life movement forty years after the federal legalization of abortion.
Premiered on December 11, 2013 in Chicago area, “40” interviewed national pro-life leaders and youth (www.the40film.com). While the filmmakers interviewed students from all over the nation, the majority of students featured are our very own SFLI student leaders!
Two years ago, SFLI launched a Campus Mentor Program to build students into pro-life leaders. One main focus is to motivate students to be a voice for life on their campus.
Since the release of “40”, the National March for Life homepage has a condensed clip from the film to promote the Washington, D.C. March for Life.
Guess what students they used in the clip?
That’s right, our student leaders!
In the under 4 minute clip, 4 of our students and one staffer, Pamela Suresca are featured!
Theresa Weber, went from self-described “shy” to leading 38 students to the March for Life because of the SFLI mentor program.
In the film, she states, “I need to do something about it [abortion]. I can’t just stand there and not doing anything”
Now her “shy” voice for life is reaching far beyond her campus. Her call to action is being used to motivate people all over the nation!
Sitting in the premier of “40”, our students saw their friends leading the way on the big screen. As they cheered with joy, it became clear that the students we train to be pro-life leaders are just beginning their impact.
We are only able to inspire students to find their voice for life because of you.
Your opportunity to help us train more pro-life leaders is almost over! Our Christmas matching opportunity ends soon! The deadline is Monday!