February 24th, 2014
How refreshing! No, not the brisk and windy 24 degree weather…but the 109, mostly young people, that attended Dowling Catholic’s Student for Life 8th annual ice skating event, Skate for Life, at Brenton Skating Plaza in downtown Des Moines Sunday evening. It is so nice to see young people so passionate (did I mention it was COLD?!) and having fun while highlighting a sometimes-not so fun area of our culture.
I met, Sydney, one of the student leaders of the school’s chapter, last Monday at the annual Rally for Life at the State Capitol just up the hill from the skating rink. Sydney, her group of friends, and one of their teachers were waiting for the program in the rotunda of the state capitol building. We exchanged contact info and I promised I would put the Skate info up at www.prolifeeventsiowa.com if she would email it to me. She did and I did. At some point I decided I would at least make an appearance, pretty confident that I would not be putting on skates, but wanting to show my support. The cookies and hot chocolate made that even easier. I am glad I made it downtown. As I said, it was really refreshing and encouraging to see so many young people hanging out and having a good time, all the while raising around $450 for InnerVisions HealthCare, a local pregnancy center and STD medical clinic. It sure looked like they achieved their goal of having a fun event for students all over the metro, raise awareness for InnerVisions, and showing the youth of the area that service and fundraising can be fun and fulfilling.
Dowling Students for Life is larger than I thought it would be with 50 registered members, and has been a club for about 10 years. They are a very active group, regularly attending The March for Life in Washington D.C., the Midwest March for Life, the Day of Prayer at the Capitol, the Annual Mass for Life, the Life Chain, as well as visiting local pro-life organizations and planning and carrying out service events. The Teacher Advisor told me that the group tends to be more girls than boys, but that there is a very active men’s group at Dowling that does a lot of “manly” service projects and that there is some crossover.
I asked the bright young leader, what we as a show, a community, and a movement could do to help. Sydney replied with a very wise and humbling response, “Everyone can help by continuing to pray for a greater respect for life at all stages, in all places, and at all times. Prayer is our most important tool in bringing about a greater respect for life. I think it is also important to impress upon youth the importance of being pro-life in all their actions (not just at school or parish functions). Being pro-life is much more than rejecting abortion and euthanasia. It is a deep realization and understanding of the immense dignity each person carries within themselves. That understanding then affects all of our actions and changes even the way we think about things.” I would say that the popular phrase among young activists, “I survived Roe v. Wade, but Roe v. Wade won’t survive me,” sounds about right.