Making Ends Meet

Baby MoneyDear Student Moms,

It is not easy. No, it is definitely not easy to pay for classes and books and housing and that little 15-lb. bundle of joy! How do you make ends meet when you are staring down countless bills and an almost empty wallet?

Here are some suggestions for finding free or inexpensive baby supplies:

1. Ask your local pregnancy resource center. Pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) often collect donations of baby food, clothing, and supplies that are distributed for free to moms in need. Contact your local PRC, and explain your need. Find the closest PRC to you by searching your zipcode at http://www.optionline.org/.

2. Take advantage of coupons and freebies! Sometimes it takes a little more effort to save– but your wallet will thank you. Sign up for online coupon websites, or browse the internet. Take advantage of programs, discounts, coupons, and freebies! Here are some suggested sites: Parenting.comBaby CenterDeals for MommyCoupon QueenMoney Saving Mom, and Hunt4Freebies.

3. Search Craig’s List for inexpensive and free items. With new listings everyday, you may easily find that crib that you cannot afford or even a stroller for free. Car seats, bouncers, clothes, and more are just a click away. Search the “Baby+Kid” or the “Free” section to find those items that you may need most. You can also find Garage Sales in your area!

4. Contact local churches. Many churches have outreach committees and programs to meet the needs of their community. Contact the pastor or priest at your church, and see if they have a program to meet your need. Remember: Ask, and you shall receive. 

5. Contact the pro-life group at your school. Many student pro-life groups are willing to organize community baby showers, diaper drives, and even fundraisers to support their peers on campus. These students also have community connections with pregnancy resource centers and support groups who can provide further assistance.

Best of luck as you continue to balance diapers and textbooks!

 

Sincerely,

Beth Rahal
Students for Life of America
Pregnant on Campus Initiative

Questions? Comments? Email Beth at pregnancyresources@studentsforlife.org.

Expanding Your Impact: Partnerships & Rhetoric

MAXIMIZING YOUR POTENTIALBaby Chess

For many pro-life student groups, it can be easy to become comfortable with maintaining the status quo. It’s easy to work with your group and the closed circle of supporters of your pregnant and parenting outreach efforts. However, you are limiting your potential to impact your school if you choose to not partner with university departments, staff, faculty, and students. By partnering with specific departments and individuals, you can grow your network of support, advance your outreach, and create a foundation for long-term success.

PROPOSING THE PARTNERSHIP

By setting up meetings with key members of the university community, you will have the opportunity to introduce the Pregnant on Campus Initiative and to propose ways that the department (or individual) can support this effort. Here is a basic outline for how your meeting should be structured:

  1. Begin the conversation by explaining why pregnancy and parenting resources are essential to your college community. (See Pregnant on Campus Mission)
  2. Ask what this particular department (or individual) currently offers for pregnant and parenting students at the school.
  3. Explain what your group has done on campus and what you hope to accomplish.
  4. Propose a project that the department (or individual) can support and contribute to.

Always remember to be supportive of the university’s efforts and accomplishments, and stress that the university can only benefit from supporting the Pregnant on Campus Initiative.

KEY PARTNERSHIPS AND RHETORIC

It is not always easy getting your foot in the door and then building those relationships. To successfully engage with particular departments or people, the key is to use rhetoric that opens the door for conversation and avoiding those terms that may shut down the lines of communication.

Prior to approaching these people with your projects, you need to identify the values and priorities associated with this person’s role at the university. In preparing for your meetings, you will need to adjust your message in order to present the most effective pitch for partnership and for proposing your prospective project(s).

Health Centers and Women’s Centers are great places to distribute your resource guides and to work with on other pregnant and parenting resource projects. For Health Centers and Women’s Centers, here are some ways to frame your resource project:

  • Providing accurate, comprehensive information to make an informed decision
  • Expanding and improving the information and services offered to women and to students
  • Giving women options and increasing their opportunities
  • Expanding our resources to support positive health and lifestyle decisions for women
  • Empowering women through education and resources
  • Alleviating pregnant students’ crises and anxieties by providing positive, affirmative resources for pregnant and parenting students
  • Providing a variety of resources to respond to the needs of a diverse student population

Residence Life is an important aspect of the university community because students interact with their Resident Advisors on a regular basis. When approaching your Residence Life Director about Pregnant on Campus’ RA materials, use such phrases as:

  • Resourcing Resident Advisors with the tools that they need to support their peers
  • Training Resident Advisors (or students) to appropriately respond to their peers in unplanned pregnancy situations (or peers suffering from after-abortion grief)
  • Preparing Resident Advisors so that they feel confident and capable in their abilities to guide their peers

Do you want to get fellow students on board? Approach the leaders of other student organizations, and ask them to partner with you on your group’s projects. Here are some phrases to focus on when pitching your pregnant and parenting resource project(s):

  • Informing our peers about community resources
  • Aiding our peers in crisis and difficult situations
  • Providing our peers with the most comprehensive information to make informed decisions
  • Responding to the needs of our peers with resources, opportunities, and support
  • Shaping confident, well-informed, capable, knowledgeable student leaders

THE TIME IS NOW.

Start today, and make a plan for key relationships that you want to build in order to advance your efforts. Prioritize which relationships will be the most helpful for advancing your projects. Then, contact these individuals to set up meeting times.

Remember that not all meetings will go as planned. You may encounter resistance in your efforts to advance new resource projects. You may be told that the university is sufficiently covering these matters. Be persistent, and do not allow yourself to be intimidated. Work on one relationship at a time until you have successfully pushed your project forward.

Ask your SFLA Regional Coordinator for more tips on how to successfully expand the Pregnant on Campus Initiative at your school. Find your Regional Coordinator HERE.

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Questions? Comments? Email Beth at brahal@studentsforlife.org.

Your Resource Guide: Taking it to the Next Level

Resource GuideAfter completing your Pregnant and Parenting Resource Guide, you may be wondering—“What do we do now?” Having a packet of information is no use to your peers if it is not being effectively promoted on social media and on campus. Moreover, your guide needs to be distributed on campus and shared by the school’s faculty and staff.

If you have not yet created a plan for promotion and distribution– never fear! Here are some steps that you can take to better advertise your guide and to strategically distribute your guide on campus.

Advertise your Resource Guide

Use your social media accounts to advertise your resource guide. Post on your Facebook and Twitter reminders that this is an available resource.

  • Sample post: “Pregnant? Parenting? Contact Students for Life to receive a copy of our Pregnant and Parenting Resource Guide! Email us at ______”

Embed your resource guide on your group’s website, or provide a link to download the guide. This will make your guide more accessible to the public. You can also create a unique pregnancy resource website, or work with your school to place pregnancy resource information on the school’s website.

Table regularly! Reserve a consistent, regular time to table on campus. In addition to recruitment and advertising your group, this allows for an opportunity to be available to students who may need your assistance. Have your guide available for students.

Whenever you host an event, have copies of your resource guide available for attendees to review and take. When you do announcements at the beginning or end of the event, be sure to mention the availability of this guide and how students can access it.

Simplify It

Take your resource guide, and divide the resources into categories. (SFLA’s customizable resource guide does this for you by providing sections for Schools Contacts, Housing, Adoption, etc.) Next, create smaller pamphlets to advertise particular categories of resources. These pamphlets will be less overwhelming, and it will allow for you to more directly respond to particular requests.

Partner with Faculty and Staff

Create a list of target people that you want to partner with on campus. When creating this list, consider where you would go if you found out that you were pregnant.

  • Recommended partnerships include: Health Center, Women’s Resource Center, Residence Life, Campus Ministry, Childcare Center, and Dean of Students.

Set up meetings with your target list to build your relationships with these people and to propose a plan for better serving your pregnant and parenting peers. Share the information and resources that you have collected, and recommend places and opportunities to distribute this information (e.g. on a brochure rack, on the school website, in counseling sessions).

Make a Plan– and Stick to It!

Creating a plan for the effective use of your Pregnant and Parenting Resource Guide is a smart way to ensure that you are actively seeking change on your campus. Consider these abovementioned steps and activities, and work with your group to write down a plan of action. By writing down your plan, you will be able to hold your group accountable to completing each task.

If you need help with creating a plan of action, or if you have questions concerning these tasks, please contact your SFLA Regional Coordinator. You can also email Beth O’Malley at bomalley@studentsforlife.org with Pregnant on Campus questions.