10 Effective Projects for Your Group

Hope Help SupportGetting engaged in pregnant and parenting outreach does not have to be complicated! Don’t talk yourself out of adding pregnancy resource projects because your group is “too busy.” Don’t overthink it! You can be very effective without creating elaborate projects. Keep it simple by committing your group to practical goals each semester. Here are easy ways that your group can get involved without too much effort!

 

1. Advertise pregnancy resources using social media. First of all– it’s FREE!  Secondly, social media is an easy way to spread information fast. Since the majority of college students have at least 1 social media account (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), you can easily relay information to your peers. Post social media graphics and pregnancy help information on your group accounts, and challenge your members to post at least 1 image or message each day. You can use these images here, or you can even post these Pregnant on Campus videos here.

2. Chalk! This is another cheap and time effective event! Buy a $3 box of sidewalk chalk at your local store, and get your group together for 30mins-1hr of chalking around campus. Chalk pregnancy help information (e.g. “Pregnant? Call ____ to discuss your options.”) and positive fetal development facts (e.g. “The fetus’ heartbeat starts at about 3 weeks!”) You never know who will see your messages.

Flyer around campus to advertise your local pregnancy support organizations. Post the flyers around campus– in dorms, in academic buildings, in bathrooms, and on bulletin boards. Whether you are advertising an adoption agency or a pregnancy resource center, be sure to include such information as services, phone number, and email. Check out our available flyers here, or ask an artistic member of your group to create custom designs. Messages can include:

  • “Pregnant? You are not alone. Let’s talk about your options. Call _____ for free, confidential help.”
  • “It’s positive!? You have options. Call _____ for free support and assistance.”
  • “Pregnant? There is free support and assistance available. Call ____ to discuss free services and options.”

3. Create a custom resource guide for your campus. Use SFLA’s survey to identify resources on campus and in the community. By dividing the sections among your group members, you can easily research and confirm details. Then, transfer this information into our customizable resource guide! Guides can then be advertised on your group’s website, distributed on campus, and offered to university departments as a resource for pregnant and parenting students. Find out ways to advertise and distribute your guide here.  (Please email completed surveys and guides to Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org.)

4. Distribute pregnancy tests on campus. It sounds awkward at first, but you will be surprised how many students will sneak a free pregnancy test when no one is looking. Ask your local pregnancy resource center (PRC) if they are able to donate tests to your group, or use your group funds to purchase tests from your local pharmacy. Place tests in opaque paper bags. In each bag, include the test, your group informational card (or handout), and information for your local PRC. When tabling, these bags should be placed on the outer corners of the table so that students can grab them without having to obviously reach over a table. For more tips, click here.

5. Host a speaker from a local pregnancy resource center or a friend with a personal testimony. All you need to do is: identify a good speaker, invite the speaker, request a space on campus, advertise your event, and coordinate on the day of the event. This is a great way to introduce local community support to your campus or to provide personal insight on unplanned pregnancies.

6. Do you know parenting students on campus? Offer babysitting services prior to or during exam periods to give young parents time to study without distractions. Items that should be considered when preparing a babysitting program: parental consent form to be signed by parents prior to session, advertisements (e.g. brochures, flyers), First Aid preparation and materials, and CPR training. You may be able to reserve rooms on campus for this effort, or offer your services at the students’ homes. Check out FFL’s sample brochure for more ideas here.

7. Are any of your group members Resident Advisors (RAs)? Host an RA Program for your residents using one of the Pregnant on Campus RA programs. You can choose from such topics as Healthy Relationships, Unplanned Pregnancy Options, Abortion Education, and more! Contact Beth for materials to distribute at your event.

8. Organize a diaper drive! Auburn SFL- Diaper drive- Fall 2013All you need is some simple advertising, a couple of tubs for donations, a decent display, a few willing volunteers, and permission to collect donations on campus. This is a great way to tangibly support young parents in your community. If you want to step up your game, consider hosting a competition between your group and a rival school’s pro-life group.

9. Network with campus administration and staff to create a system of support for pregnant and parenting students. By meeting with different departments (e.g. Health Center, Residence Life), you can learn what services and opportunities are available to pregnant and parenting students. You can offer your group’s resources (e.g. resource guide), and you can find ways to partner with these departments to expand your impact on campus. Read more about expanding partnerships and rhetoric here.

10. Volunteer at your local pregnancy resource center (PRC). Plan a couple hours each month to visit and assist the staff at your local PRC. Whether you are helping out at a fundraiser banquet or sorting their donations, your help will be much appreciated.

There are so many simple and advance projects that you can do on campus! Don’t let money, time, or people limit your potential. Check out other event suggestions here. If you need assistance with your projects, please contact your SFLA Regional Coordinator or Beth at brahal@studentsforlife.org for help.

This could be your group’s story!

In December 2013, Students for Life of America released a new video about our pro-life student group at Sac State and the impact that one pro-life student made in her friend’s life. This could be your group’s story if your group chooses to actively participate in the Pregnant on Campus Initiative.

What will YOU do to be the voice of hope and compassion on your campus? Contact Beth O’Malley to find out ways that you can actively engage in the Pregnant on Campus Initiative.

Join the Pregnant on Campus Initiative! Contact Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org for more information.

My friend’s pregnant! What do I do?

Pregnancy TestBreathe. Yes, it can definitely be overwhelming to be confronted by a friend seeking your help- especially in a situation as important as pregnancy. You may feel pressured to know all the answers, and maybe you fear that if you don’t know all the answers, you may negatively impact her decision.

Keep calm. You may not know all the answers, but do your best. Your friend is already overwhelmed, and you need to be a strong, calm voice of hope and love for her. Yes, you may be as shocked as she is. However, maintain a balance of empathy and calm. If she is crying, comfort her. If she is upset, let her vent. If she is shocked, remain level-headed.

Be aware that not all girls are comforted by hugs. She may come running into your arms, or she may need a little space. You know your friend. Consider what would make her most comfortable and comforted.

Now, here are some practical steps for helping your friend:

1. Listen very carefully. She may talk a lot, or she may not have much to say at all. No matter what, she needs someone who will simply listen to her without feeling judged, criticized, or pressured to do something she does not want to do. She may be very scared of what people will tell her, especially family members or her partner.

2. Ask questions as needed. She may be an open book, or she may hesitate to reveal her needs. Gently asking questions will help you better understand her situation and what she needs help with. Do not rapid fire questions. Be patient, and give her time to answer.

  • How are you feeling?
  • When was your last period?
  • Have you taken a pregnancy test?
  • Have you told anyone that you think you may be pregnant?
  • Have you told the dad?
  • What do you think he would say about this?
  • Would he help raise his kid?
  • Have you told your parents?
  • What you do think they’d say?
  • What kind of options are you considering?

3. Suggest help. Assure her that there are countless resources to offer her. Offer her the world! Even if you are unsure about what is available, let her know that you are ready to find whatever resource she needs. You may not even know if it exists, but don’t let that discourage you. Offer the information that you have available, and then talk to your pro-life group, your PRC contacts, local pro-life contacts, church community, etc. about where you can find the resources that you do not currently have. Contact your SFLA Regional Coordinator if you are unsure about how to find help for your friend.

Not sure about how to suggest resources? Here are some ways to start the conversation about available help and support:

  • Would you mind if I talked with you about what you can do next?
  • I know someone who understands what you are going through. Do you mind if I connect you with (name)?
  • There is this program/organization that helps women who have been through this. It’s called ____. I have information about it if you would like to check them out.

Remember: When offering resources, try to focus first on the needs that she identifies. She may need other resources later, but right now, you need to take one step at a time.

Are you prepared to help a friend in an unplanned pregnancy situation?

Do your homework.

  • Take time to research the resources available on your campus and in your community. Consider school policies, counseling services, pregnancy resources, parenting support, adoption resources, etc. Use the FFL/SFLA survey to help you determine resources on campus and in the community.
  • Tour local pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) to familiarize yourself with the services and programs that each offers, and build relationships with the staff. You should also be aware of the operating hours. With these steps, you will be confident in the organizations that you recommend! Find your local PRC here: www.optionline.org
  • Keep phone numbers in your phone for PRCs, counselors, or other helpful contacts. This will allow you to immediately connect with the help that your friend or peer needs.
  • If you are sidewalk counseling or hosting a potentially controversial event, notify these aforementioned contacts. Make them aware of your events so that they know to be available if someone approaches you for help.
  • Create a resource guide or brochures. This will be a helpful tool to distribute on campus and to have available at your pro-life student group events. Download and customize our resource guide for pregnant and parenting students here.

Love is GreaterYou can do this!

Your love and support may be crucial to helping your friend to make a life-affirming choice. You may be the only one showing her the love that she needs to be courageous. Be there for her. Support her. Guide her through this process as best you can. Be the friend who willing to walk through fire and rain. Love is always greater than judgement.

 

 

 

This post was written by Beth O’Malley. If you are interested in pursuing pregnancy resource projects on your campus, contact Beth for ideas and support.

 

Be the Revolution

Be the RevolutionAs an active pro-life student group, you have the ability to educate your peers about abortion and about the resources available to them to make a life-affirming decision. With your participation in the Pregnant on Campus Initiative, you may become one of the few student advocates on campus offering tangible resources for pregnant and parenting students. Your group may even be the only ones challenging your campus to change policies, provide resources, and support pregnant and parenting students in their journey to achieve a college degree.

There are endless opportunities available for you to organize projects- simple and advanced– to transform your campus. However, it is up to you to be the driving force behind change. Real change doesn’t happen by sitting behind a table with a sign that says- “Students for Life.” Real change happens when you actively challenge your campus and your community to provide the resources and support that a young woman needs to embrace her new motherhood and continue her college education.

Here is what Kristan Hawkins has to say about being the revolution on your campus:

Are you ready to BE THE REVOLUTION? Join the Pregnant on Campus Initiative. Contact Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org for more information.

Called to Action: Meet Bama Students for Life

Bama SFL groupChanging a college campus to embrace a culture of Life is no easy task. It takes courage, persistence, and a lot of energy! However, our students’ passion for helping women in unplanned pregnancies has driven them to achieve incredible successes.

Meet Bama Students for Life.

In the Spring of 2013, Bama Students for Life decided to take on the Pregnant on Campus Initiative, and they have been unstoppable ever since. Here are some of the inspiring things that this group accomplished since joining the Pregnant on Campus Initiative:

Students for Life of America is proud of the accomplishments of our pro-life student groups, and we want you to be inspired by other students like you! What will YOU do to transform your campus and your community to create a support environment for pregnant and parenting students? 

Do you want to join the Pregnant on Campus Initiative? Contact Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org to learn more and get involved!


Tiny Blue Lines: A new book by Chaunie Brusie

Tiny Blue LinesFor those of you who have read our stories of young student moms, many of you will remember the story of Chaunie Brusie, who became a mother as a 21-year-old senior in college. Since giving birth to her daughter, Ada, Chaunie has courageously embraced her motherhood, and she has used her story to inspire and encourage other young women experiencing unplanned pregnancies.

But that’s not all! Chaunie just published a book!

In her new book, Tiny Blue Lines, Chaunie once again shares her story and details her journey into motherhood. Throughout the book, she offers snip-its of her own life experiences as well as testimonies from other young women. The stories are honest reflections of young motherhood. With a great mix humor and practical advice, she answers questions about announcing the pregnancy, preparing for birth, relationship decisions, post-baby body, responding to strangers, and more. Moreover, it offers helpful resources for understanding your new pregnancy and moving forward as a mother and a student.

Are you a pro-life student group leader or member? This book is great for you too! It will help you see into the emotions and experiences of your pregnant and parenting peers. Also, you will find useful guides to help you effectively change your campus and to help you better respond to women in unexpected pregnancies. (Volunteers and activists in other pro-life ministries- such as pregnancy resource centers- will similarly benefit from this book.)

Here is a sneak peek of the book:

“I want young women to feel empowered. I want us to feel empowered in the choice to become mothers and empowered to continue to carve out our lives as women—both personally and professionally. And I believe that starts with women sharing their stories, both failures and triumphs. Because it’s not helpful to say that motherhood is all rainbows and butterflies and having a baby is “just the best thing ever.”

Like anything else in life, there are good days and bad days with young motherhood. It can be really challenging, especially if you don’t have a supportive partner. I will tell you honestly that I have been so tired that I have yelled at my poor, crying baby and called my mother in desperation, because I was so exhausted that I couldn’t see straight. But then I will tell you that I have also been reduced to tears of joy in the grocery parking lot, just watching my daughter catch snowflakes on her tongue and getting lost in the sheer happiness of loving her.”

Intrigued? Here’s what you can do:

*Discounts are offered to Pregnancy Resource Centers. Contact Chaunie for more information.

 

This review has been provided for you by Beth O’Malley, SFLA National College Program Coordinator. If you are interested in learning more about the Pregnant on Campus Initiative, or would like help with your college pro-life student group, contact Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org.

A Life Changed

alcorn250By Lo Martinez, SFLA Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator

Early last week I received an urgent message from a girl who attends a local university in Colorado who was two months into an unplanned pregnancy. She didn’t know how she was going to finish school while pregnant and parenting. How would she tell her parents, professors, and family? All very valid questions and concerns.

After speaking with her for almost two hours on the phone, she began to see that she could do it. She was excited, but still in need of something: getting an ultrasound. She knew that she had a baby growing but what did that look like, or sound like? This was the final step in making her pregnancy really real for her and her boyfriend, ensuring that continuing this pregnancy and being firm in that decision in front of her family and friends was possible. But her circumstances were much like most other students. She is under a family insurance plan and didn’t want to go to the doctor under it because she hadn’t told them yet. I referred her to a local Pregnancy Resource Center in Denver, and that next week she went with her boyfriend. It was that moment that her entire attitude changed. She sent me a picture of the ultrasound and told me the heart rate. It was a moment unparalleled by any other that she experienced with her boyfriend who had cried with joy for their baby. Without this pregnancy resource center, this experience might not have been possible.

Although she never contemplated an abortion, she fits into a large category of young women who find themselves pregnant in college, the category pro-lifers need to be supporting better. And that is the mission of SFLA’s Pregnant On Campus Initiative.  Through this initiative, students have brought hope and help to college campuses by identifying, improving, and expanding resources for pregnant and parenting students on their college campuses and in the surrounding community.

Because of my work helping students help their peers, I knew what this young mother needed. I talked with her about how she was going to tell people she is pregnant, of which some would likely advocate abortion. I connected her with her school’s Students for Life group, who were working very hard that week talking with the administration about what is available for pregnant and parenting students. What an amazing job they did because the administration, although they do not advertise these resources, is offering a unique individualized plan that fits the needs and wishes of this pregnant student who will soon be parenting. The resources range from larger desks in her classes, to lactation rooms, individual studies with her professors, maternity leave, family housing, and help with any costs she cannot afford for school. The Students for Life group has played an incredible role in their support for her and continuing to help her throughout her years at the university. After letting her know of the resources available to her, she was beyond excited to continue her pregnancy. I think too often in unplanned pregnancies, young women do not feel the love and support they absolutely need, which is vital. By the simple act of reaching out to someone in need, showing them you will walk that journey with them, getting them the resources they need, that person can change her perspective on her pregnancy.

We know now that we have a mother and a new baby to support and love in our community here in Denver and that gives us the motivation to continue to fight for resources!