SJU Students for Life pair compassion with action

SJU Students for LifeCollege student groups are instrumental in advancing support for pregnant and parenting students on campus. Through creative and compassionate efforts, they are providing the resources and support that their peers need to be successful students and great parents.  Many groups also extend their efforts into their community by supporting various pregnancy and parenting resource organizations. We asked St. John’s University Students for Life to tell us about their efforts from this past school year. Here’s what student leader Liz Canney had to share.

Tell us about the local organizations that you support. How have you gotten involved with these organizations?

SJU Students for Life supports some incredible organizations promoting the full breadth of what it means to be pro-life.  We are partnered with a local emergency pregnancy clinic called Bridge to Life, our local Sisters of Life, and a network of shelters for women called Providence House.  Members of our organization have helped sort baby clothes for mothers in need at the Bridge to Life as well as attended their fundraising events.  Students have gone to training events with the Sisters of Life and learned valuable skills including how to be someone that can speak to a person struggling with an unplanned pregnancy.  Finally, students love to go to Providence House to celebrate the birthdays of the women and children who live there!

How has your group benefitted from building these community relationships?

These community relationships are something that have really changed the dynamic of our group over the past year. Through service and experiencing the dignity of life in so many places and people, our members are deepening their understanding of the pro-life movement and seeing its effects on the greater New York area. For example, some of our students are Coworkers of Life through training with the Sisters of Life.  These students are highly educated and well trained so that they can be a reference for pregnant students in need. The greatest benefit our partner organizations provide however is an inspiring witness of the pro-life movement for our campus to see.

This Spring, your group held a baby shower for a fellow student. Can you tell us how you became involved with this student? What was her reaction to your support?

SJU- Baby Shower Cupcakes- SmallThis past spring, our group held a baby shower for a soon-to-be-mother.  Because our church community is already very close, many members of our organization were good friends with this beautiful mother.  The student was very grateful for SJU Students for Life‘s support, and she had a great time at her baby shower.  Many games, laughs, and prayers were shared together among a community of students, campus ministers, and priests.

What advice do you have for other student groups that are interested in getting more involved in pregnancy and parenting resources?

The only piece of advice that we would recommend for student groups interested in getting more involved in pregnancy and parenting resources is to always keep a Gospel-centered perspective. If you are centered on Christ, there is no way to see a young pregnant mother as somebody defined by need or trouble. Through the lens of the Gospel, you see a young woman who is a hero for choosing life in a time when so few do, you see the inspiration for why you are pro-life, and you remind them how beautiful they and their child already are. Do not anxiously try to help. Joyfully try to celebrate that person!

Thanks, SJU Students for Life!

Students for Life of America is proud to support the compassionate efforts of SJU Students for Life! We hope that other groups take after these students and engage in pregnancy and parenting outreach on their campuses and in their local communities.

 

This post was contributed by Beth Rahal, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator, with the help of SJU Students for Life leader Liz Canney. If your group would like to get involved with Pregnant on Campus or share your story, please email Beth at pregnancyresources@studentsforlife.org 

Holy Cross students host heartwarming baby shower

Holy Cross Saders for Life is stepping up to show their peers that they truly care for and support them. Both last year and this Fall, this compassionate group of students have hosted baby showers for expectant students on campus.

On December 7th, Holy Cross Saders for Life hosted a heartfelt shower to celebrate fellow student, Samantha (“Sam”), and the upcoming birth of her daughter (due in January).

Fr. Jim Hayes, the group’s advisor, shared about how the group connected with Sam, the expectant mother.

“Marybeth [Director of the Office of College Chaplains] had learned about Sam’s pregnancy and reached out to her and referred her to me. I contacted her, and we began meeting every two weeks for spiritual conversations. I offered for SFL to do a shower and she accepted.”

Fr. Jim noted that the event was filled with laughter. “I heard them laughing so loudly all because of the wonderful games. We ordered all the food she liked…. People brought her great gifts, and I know she was deeply touched. In fact, Danielle, for whom we gave a shower last year, sent Samantha a gift.”

Sloane Burns, a senior member of the Saders for Life group, said, “She [Sam] was very grateful for the shower. She even contributed to some of the planning especially with respect to the games.” She noted that the young mom was “surrounded by friends and family.”

Emma Jehanno, a Holy Cross junior, shared, “It was very nice to see Holy Cross students and faculty come together to make Sam’s baby shower so special.”

To those students who are interested in hosting a similar event, here are Sloane’s words of encouragement:

“”It was awesome how supportive my fellow SFL students were in the busiest time of the semester to take time to help out with this event. Seeing Sam’s face and how happy she was surrounded by friends and family made it all worth it… it shows that SFL is a group on campus where you can be welcomed into a non-judgemental zone, and the couple can come for support (material, spiritual, and relational) during this very confusing time in a couples life if they find themselves unexpectedly pregnant… it reminded me that I even as one person can make a difference and helped me gain confidence in myself and in my leadership skills.”

I would encourage other groups to do this for students… We advocate so much for pro-life issues- the most popular of which is our stance against abortion. We go to the March for Life. But doing events such as baby showers for pregnant students on campus is a small physical and tangible reminder of why we do what we do through our advocacy as it seems like many women abort because they don’t have or don’t know where they can access resources to take care of a child at especially a young age or if they are not financially stable. Our group like others across the nation can connect women to these resources which is one more reason why women should not abort a child based on that.”

Great work, Holy Cross Saders for Life! The SFLA Team is so proud to work with such a loving and enthusiastic group of students. We encourage students and supporters to show their support for this group by “liking” their Facebook page.

If your group would like to host a baby shower on your campus, check out SFLA’s “Host a Baby Shower for a Pregnant Student” activity guide.

Holy Cross- March for Life 2014

 

Do you want to get more involved with supporting your peers on campus? Contact our SFLA Team to start the Pregnant on Campus Initiative on your campus!

 

 

Tulane Students for Life: Rising to the Challenge

Opposition on campus is tough to overcome. However, pro-life students are confident in the great impact of their education and resources. They rise above the challenges of their campus to meet the needs of women and families in their community.

Meet Tulane Students for Life.

Tulane SFLDefending life-affirming options for women is no easy task on the Tulane campus. Time and time again, Tulane has proven to be a hostile campus concerning pro-life matters. After chalking the campus with pro-life messages, the group returned to find pro-choice messages surrounding their chalk display. Twice, others have attempted to stop the group from chalking. Complaints stemming from a school newspaper article even went so far as the Huffington Post and local news. A conference entitled “Don’t Chalk About It, Talk About It” was organized to discourage the group’s chalking.

Rising above their critics

Despite the opposition, many students are willing to dialogue with Tulane Students for Life. Megan Alfonso, Tulane SFL President, says, “Those who are also pro-life on campus seem to have a sense of relief and encouragement when they see us, knowing that there are others who share their view on campus.” When I asked Megan what was the most fulfilling project this year, she confidently affirmed that tabling. “Tabling on campus has been the most fulfilling project this past year. We set up a table and a sign saying “Should abortion remain legal” with yes and no sides. The dialogue that we engage in with these students is so fulfilling because we are able to share truth about life and the dignity of the unborn as well as get to know and understand people who have differing views.”

Education AND resources

Moreover, these students know that being pro-life expands beyond education. You need to provide real solutions for women in unplanned pregnancies. For this reason, Tulane Students for Life offers information about pregnancy resources whenever they table. “Pregnancy resources are so important on a college campus because they spread awareness to women that there are people who will support them and their decision to choose life. They allow women to make an informed choice and not feel like they have to choose abortion due to a lack of resources.”

Tulane Students for Life does more than tabling! The group had a team in the Born to Run 5K Run/Walk, an event held by the Women’s New Life Center to raise funds for their efforts to assist women in unplanned pregnancies. The group also hosted Feminists for Life President, Serrin Foster. After Serrin’s talk, the students began discussions with her about hosting a pregnancy resource forum in the future.

Now it’s YOUR turn.

Tulane Students for Life are hosting a baby shower for women in crisis pregnancy situations throughout New Orleans– and they need your help! The students will be supporting 6 mothers (and possibly more). Currently, they are fundraising to buy items for these women. Much needed items include clothing, diapers, strollers, formula, and toys. Many of these women are living in local maternity homes, and they will most likely not have a baby shower of their own. Will you help Tulane Students for Life create a special event for these women?

The group needs $600 to meet their goal. Will you join this effort? 

Click here to offer your support. Thank you in advance for your support!

 

This post was contributed by Beth O’Malley, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. To learn about Pregnant on Campus and to join the Initiative, email Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org. With Beth’s help, your group can help women in your community!

How YOU Can Host a Community Baby Shower

Baby ShowerThe Community Baby Shower event was inspired by the Pro-Life Aggies group at Texas A&M University. The group hosted a “shower” asking shoppers of a local store to purchase diapers, wipes, formula, and baby items to give to the group so they could, in turn, donate these items to a local pregnancy resource center. After their Community Baby Shower, the Pro-Life Aggies donated over $700 in cash and truckloads of baby items!

The popularity and success of the Community Baby Shower has made it a favorite event among pro-life student groups. Students for Life of America has seen thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of needed materials donated to pregnancy centers all over the nation, thanks to our courageous and faithful students. Last year, Students for Life of Ozaukee County, WI (pictured above), gathered $3,000 worth of baby items in one day!

host your own Community Baby Shower!

1) Contact the local pregnancy resource center in your area. Tell them your group wants to collect donations for them from a local store. Be sure to ask them what items they are generally most in need of. Visit www.optionline.org to find a nearby Pregnancy Resource Center that you can help!

2) Contact (by phone or in person) a local grocery store (e.g. Target or Walmart) several weeks or months ahead of time to get permission to host a donation drive outside of their store. Have as much information about the local pregnancy center you’re helping as possible (such as flyers or posters you wish to hang up or hand out), as well as your contact information, in case the manager requests. While not all stores require a letter of recommendation, you may contact Students for Life for a letter, if needed: Sample SFLA Letter of Recommendation.

Community Baby Shower- Promo- Flyer Image3) Once permission is obtained, make signs asking specifically for baby items. For example: “Will you help mothers in need at (name of PRC) by donating diapers, formula, wipes, and other baby items? Thank you for your support.” Also, decorate a jar to have available in case people want to make cash donations or give gift cards to the pregnancy center instead. Make small fliers with contact information for the pregnancy center and their website and address, too. Below is an example flyer you can download and fill in for your group!

**Click here to download flyer**

4) Call to confirm the date of the Community Baby Shower with the store the week beforehand.

5) On the day of the Community Baby Shower, dress comfortably and bring supplies needed. You will need a table or pack and play to place donations and to tape the signs. Place your decorated jar on the table or in a safe but accessible area so that people can easily put donations in it. Also, have someone physically hold the sign with the list of needed items. (People are more likely to read it if is held.) Always listen to store employees if they request that you place the table in a specific location in front of the store.

6) About an hour before you pack up your donations to leave, take down the signs and stop requesting items. That way, people still shopping who intend to donate will not be stuck with baby items that they have no use for because you left!

7) Share your story! Contact Students for Life, and tell us about your Community Baby Shower and how you helped your local pregnancy resource center! By sharing your success, you can become an inspiration to students nationwide!

Other Helpful tips

Whether you are a veteran or just starting out, these tips are helpful to remember for making your community baby shower as successful as possible. Contact your SFLA Regional Coordinator for further assistance to make this a successful event!

Register your group

The next National Community Baby Shower weekend is April 26-27. To ensure groups are not planning events at the same times and locations, please register your group events with Students for Life using the following form:

Host a Fun Baby Shower for a Classmate

Baby ShowerWhen a friend or classmate becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she needs all the love and support she can get. Show that you are there for her by throwing a baby shower with all of her friends. She will probably need a lot of things to prepare for the baby, and you can help her get excited for the birth of her child.

A baby shower doesn’t have to be traditional to be fun. Invite the girls and the guys over for a casual baby shower that will show your friend how much you all love and support her and her new baby.

Keeping with Tradition

Adding guys to the list doesn’t really change that much. Items such as the date (6-8 weeks before the due date), location (your apartment or the dorm of the mom-to-be, for example) and food will remain the same. You can also still plan to host 2-3 games during the party. Although the games themselves may be a bit different, you can still expect to spend a good portion of the event ooh-ing and ahh-ing over tiny baby socks and oh-so-soft stuffed animals.

Selecting a Neutral Theme

Forgo the over-the-top baby themes and replace them with something a bit more modern. One theme that can play to both guys and girls is the ever popular “Ready to Pop” which allows for some clever food selections (think popcorn, bubble gum, cake pops and apple cider). Or opt for a casual back yard barbecue — if your inner party planner must match it with a theme, try “A Bun in the Oven and Burgers On the Grill.” Whether you need supplies for a boy baby shower or girl baby shower, focus on items that will appeal to everyone, such as bubble gum cigars and custom soda bottle labels.

Baby Shower OutdoorsInvitations

Resist the urge to cover your invite with pink and lace (especially if the baby is a boy!). Etsy offers some great gender-neutral invitation options, but pick your wording carefully as this sets the tone for the event. Instead of “We are hosting a Jack and Jill Party,” try “Join us for Root Beer and Baby Talk.” Remember to pick a date or time that doesn’t compete with finals or a college championship game!

Game Time

Don’t even think about whipping out the “poopy” candy diaper game or guess how big mommy is. Instead, kick up their competitive nature with a bottle “chugging” contest with juice or soda and diaper changing races. If your party includes guests from various circles, start with this ice breaker: Have guests write down a childhood memory without signing their name. Then, give the memories to the mom-to-be, and have her guess which memory belongs to which guest.

The girls and guys are sure to have a good time regardless! So keep the focus on the mom-to-be, and you are sure to hear nothing but praises from your guests.

For more tips on how to host a successful baby shower, check out our online guide here.

 

This post was written by Lauren Rose. Lauren Rose is a Content Advocate. She is very passionate about promoting pregnancy resources across communities and college campuses. In college, she experienced first-hand her best friend getting pregnant. Because of that experience, she is committed to helping girls who get pregnant at a young age.