By Celine Klosterman
For more than a year, eighth-grader Helena Hansen said, she and a couple of friends were the only youths she knew who were fundraising for the Women’s Choice Center in Bettendorf.
Now, the member of Holy Family Parish in Davenport can work alongside several more pro-life peers. She’s one of the first 10 junior high and high school students serving on a new youth board for the Life and Family Educational Trust, which operates the Women’s Choice Center. The board has met monthly since it formed this summer to educate students on abortion and to offer them opportunities to promote the pro-life cause.
“How powerful it is when youth take a stand for life!” said Shelly Beirne, secretary for the Life and Family Educational Trust Fund Board. She was among those who invited students who’ve supported the center to join the youth board; the youths in turn invited others who showed interest.
Helena, who has helped raised money for the center through bake sales, garage sales and lemonade stands, thought the board would be an opportunity to get more students involved.
“It’s awesome because before, the only people my age were my two best friends who I raise money with,” said the student at Williams Intermediate School in Davenport. “Getting to meet other young people was really cool.”
Recently, board members have spent meetings discussing abortion and why they’re pro-life. Beirne hopes doing so will help the students respond to questions about their beliefs. “As our board develops, we will look at opportunities for outreach and additional education,” she said.
Board member Bradley Rees, a Christian and senior at Davenport West High School, said he’s learned much about abortion procedures and how to answer questions about pro-life issues.
“The youth board seemed like a great way to learn more and find ways to stay vocal about the cause,” he said. “… I’m looking into starting a group at my school in support.”
On the Friday before the Jan. 22 anniversary of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, he hopes to host a day of silence for the “children who never got a chance to live.”
“This has always been one of my passions and it’s a true honor to be a part of an organization supporting the lives of the unborn,” he said.