By Reagan Barklage, SFLA Midwest Regional Director
Students for Life of America is the nation’s largest pro-life youth organization in the nation, the home of the Pro-Life Generation. While we may do a majority of our public work during the school year, the summers are really no less busy. Even though school is out, our students are the #prolifegen year-round and worked hard planning out their upcoming school year, participating in SFLA trainings, tabling with us at the Vans Warped tour, and taking to the sidewalk for our National Pro-Life Gen Sidewalk Day.
As the Midwest Regional Director, my work was focused mainly on students in our region, and wow, was I ever impressed. Here’s what we did all summer:
My Midwest students were so driven to map out the upcoming year. Throughout the summer, I hosted multiple Plan Your Year sessions. During these meetings, I went through the entire upcoming school year, month-by-month, with students and offered them event ideas and themes. For instance, November is National Adoption Month. I encouraged my students to host an adoption speaker, like a birth mother, adoption agency, or even a student who was adopted. These sessions are great to do during the summer because with the school year already planned, students can hit the ground running as soon as they return to school.
This summer Rock for Life, a branch of SFLA, had a booth at the majority of the secular Vans Warped Tour stops across the country and our students were there to help us every stop along the way. This was the first time any pro-life group had a booth at the huge festival. Despite criticism, our team did a great job reaching young people at this festival and dialoguing with them about human rights.
This was a fantastic way to reach out to hundreds of thousands of young people that we may never have had the opportunity to reach. We had great conversations stemming from our poll, “When should human rights begin?” I personally connected a man to post-abortion resources, something he didn’t know even existed.
On August 6th, students across the country took to the sidewalk outside their local abortion facility to peacefully pray, sidewalk counsel, and witness. Students who participated in sidewalk counseling were trained the week before by Lauren Muzyka, President of Sidewalk Advocates for Life.
I was so proud of my students who participated, as it takes a lot of courage to reach out to these women going in for an abortion. Every single student I talked to about their experience said they now plan on regularly making a presence on the sidewalk!
Students for Life of America offers multiple trainings to help our students make their group as successful as they can be. This summer I took time to train my students on Recruiting and Retention, Planning their Year, and Sidewalk Counseling. These trainings really helped my students prepare for the upcoming Fall semester. With the plan for outreach already completed in the summer, that means more time for tabling, flyering, and pitching their group around campus.
Summer is not a time to take a break from being a pro-life activist. Who needs sleep anyway?