Tuesday, April 9, 2019

2019 Youth Award Winners

2019 Winner: Leah Streifel, Gaylord Right to Life

Leah is a passionate voice for the unborn in the prolife movement. She has been a part of the Gaylord Teens for Life group for many years, and has served as their treasurer, vice president, and is now the president of the group. Leah is also very involved with Gaylord Right to Life events. For the past three years she has coordinated the “Baby of the Year Contest,” a fundraiser teens host at the Gaylord Right to Life banquet. She has assisted in several other prolife fundraisers including car washes, pop-can drives, chili cook-offs, and raised hundreds of dollars of sponsorships in Gaylord Right to Life’s Ride for Life event. In Spring 2018, Leah worked with Gaylord Teens for Life to place a prolife billboard on I-75 that read “Choice or Child? There are alternatives to abortion.” Additionally, Leah has actively supported her local prolife pregnancy center, New Life Pregnancy Resource Center. She has helped organize a “Diaper Raid” for the center. As a committed prolife student, Leah has participated in many other prolife events including the National March for Life, Right to Life of Michigan’s Legislative Day and State Conference and Protect Life Michigan’s Conference. She won first place in the 2019 Gaylord Right to Life Oratory Contest and will participate in the State Contest on April 27th. She plans to continue her prolife work through Right to Life of Michigan and Protect Life Michigan after she graduates high school and will always be an advocate for the unborn.

Leah's Essay:

I believe that in order for this generation to portray and advance a positive pro-life message, we need to first remember what abortion and other pro-life issues mean to us. We need to first make sure that the passion burning inside of our own hearts is still ablaze. How can we affectively reach others if we are not in the right place ourselves? How can we expect a change in others if we are not truly changed ourselves? We must stay eager and true to what we believe in order to reach our peers and others around us.

Secondly, if we as a generation want to portray a positive pro-life message, we have to show that we care. We have to show the world that we care about the unborn, the euthanized, the bullied, the mistreated, the single mothers, the un-adopted children. We have to be a generation that shows the world the love that we have towards other people. If we are pro-life, then we will also be pro-love. If I did not love what the pro-life cause stands for, I would not be zealous about it. Some say that actions speak louder than words, but I think they have to go together to be affective. If I say I am pro-life, I need to show it, and one of the best ways that I know how to do that is through love. In order for this generation to be effective at representing a pro-life message, we have to have love for other people, because after all, we live today because of the love that our Heavenly Father showed us.

The last thing that I believe we as a generation need to do in order to show the world just how pro-life we are is that we need to be willing to stand against the crowd. We cannot sit back while millions of babies are being aborted. We cannot sit and watch while medical professionals are assisting people commit suicide. In a world that turns their head the other way, this is our time to stand up and say what we believe. Wear the shirt that speaks out against abortion. Ask the girl why she is pro-choice. Be bold in action; and with God on our side, we will win. If we refuse to back down, we will be able to show the world how precious life truly is.

Runner-Up: Haili Gusa, Huron County Right to Life

Haili is a passionate prolife advocate. She has been involved with Huron County Right to Life as a Youth Advocate since 2013. She has helped with several of Huron County Right to Life’s events, including the Baby Bottle Boomerang Fundraiser, the memorial service, youth rally, fair booths, and their annual spring dinner. She has also organized a prolife apologetics training event, protested at Planned Parenthood, and contacted legislators about prolife issues.

From Haili’s essay: “Members of the prolife movement, regardless of age, need to respect and care for all life they meet. Genuinely loving all life, including your own, promotes a positive message and understanding of our movement…If my generation stays true to the message of the prolife movement in our words, actions, and posts, then we will have success in promoting the positivity of the prolife movement.”

Honorable Mention: Marie Krueger , Grand Traverse Area Right to Life

Since 2014, Marie has been involved with the prolife group at her school, St. Francis Teens for Life. In 2017, she became the Vice President of the group, and has been the president since the start of the 2018 academic year. She has supported her local prolife pregnancy center by participating and helping with their Deck the Dresser Supply Drive and has made it a priority to visit Planned Parenthood weekly to pray for the unborn. She has participated in many prolife events such as the National March for life, the local Life Chain Sunday event, and Right to Life of Michigan’s Legislative Day. Additionally, she has helped with Grand Traverse Area Right to Life’s Focus on Life dinner for many years, and in 2018 she was featured as a speaker to talk about the St. Francis Teens for Life group.

From Marie’s essay: “We are learning more and more about the child in utero. With new technological advances every day, we are reaffirmed that life does indeed begin at the moment of conception… Our prayer is that our country reverses Roe v. Wade, and begins to truly acknowledge and value the sanctity of human life.”

Honorable Mention: Anna Henke, Grand Rapids Right to Life

Anna is a strong advocate for the prolife movement in her community. In 2017, she began a prolife student group at her high school: Protect Life at Plymouth Christian. Through this group, she has helped host apologetics trainings, speakers, a school prolife-week, and coordinate service projects. She also helped begin the Pre-Born Justice Coalition, a community group in Grand Rapids. Their goal is to generate conversation about the injustice of abortion with the general public. She has been involved with Protect Life Michigan as a part of their Heroes Leadership Academy and has worked with Grand Rapids Right to Life on several occasions, including raising funds through their coin drive.

From Anna’s essay: “Abortion is the greatest human injustice of our time and it must be stopped and made utterly unthinkable. No one may remain silent on this issue as thousands of babies worldwide are slaughtered every day under the guise of ‘reproductive rights.’ Young people today have a duty to stand up and fight effectively against abortion through education and action, in opposition to those who believe abortion is acceptable.”