Pro-life Leadership Academy

Right to Life of North Central Indiana has recently launched a new youth program called the Pro-Life Leadership Academy. This program is designed to take dedicated high school and college-age young adults (ages 16-24) to the next level in their commitment to pro-life leadership. Three college-age young women signed up for the first round of the Academy, which held its first meeting on Tuesday, May 21st. Dave Koontz, RTL of NCI’s Executive Director, plans to meet once per month with the ladies over a Zoom call for a total of 6 months. The group will be reading and discussing Viability 2.0: What the Pro-Life Movement Must Do to Win the Cultural Tipping Point by President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life, Mike Fichter.

During the first meeting, the participants took some time to introduce themselves to Dave and one another. Rachel Carpenter is a senior at Grace College studying History with minors in Pre-Law and Criminal Justice. Rachel is frequently involved with Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America’s door-knocking deployments, The Leadership Institute, and is on the leadership team of Grace College’s Students for Life club. Jenna Smith is married to her husband, Caleb, living in South Bend, Indiana, and working part-time for the non-profit organization, Voices for Life, after years of volunteer work. She learned about the Academy after attending our Life Guardians Training in February, which she drove over an hour to attend! Liz Swain is another Grace College senior, married to her husband, Logan, and majoring in biblical studies. Liz is on staff with Right to Life of North Central Indiana, helping to manage our social media pages and coordinate our youth outreach programs. She also leads on Grace’s Students For Life leadership team alongside Rachel. After sharing a bit about themselves and being introduced to Dave and his background in the life movement, they began discussing Chapter 1 of Viability 2.0, engaging in lively conversation about the chapter’s insights, musings, and challenges.

When asked what she hopes to gain from this educational experience, Rachel answered:

“Through participating in this program, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the local pro-life movement, and learn about specific issues, challenges, and strategies relevant to my community. I am also excited to receive guidance and mentorship from experienced leaders, which can help in my personal and professional development within the cause.”

Because they started meeting later than originally planned, the group met twice in the month of May, on the 21st and the 28th. On Tuesday, May 28th, Mike Fichter of Indiana Right to Life joined the Zoom call as a guest speaker. He shared his pro-life story and the background of his involvement with Indiana Right to Life. He also broke down where Indiana’s political landscape stands on the issue of abortion, teaching about Indiana’s near-total abortion ban, various lawsuits, and other challenges that face our state during this election year. The meeting concluded with an insightful time of Q & A.

Jenna recalls her most impactful takeaway from Mike’s presentation:

“Mike Fichter’s presentation really struck me because it gave me a view into how resilient the pro-life movement is and has to be. Hearing him discuss historic challenges to our cause mentally prepared me to work in this new generation of pro-life endeavors. I feel a bit daunted, but standing alongside my peers and having this knowledge can only prepare me for good things.”

This round of the Pro-Life Leadership Academy will continue to meet monthly through October, discussing the assigned readings and learning from various guest speakers. The young women are excited to hear from June’s scheduled guest speaker, Michelle Schoenefeld, Executive Director of A Hope Center in Fort Wayne.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining the Pro-Life Leadership Academy, we would love to have you join our second round, tentatively planned for later this fall. Email or call our office (574.306.7406) to learn more about how you can get involved.

Learn more about our pro-life opportunities for youth

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