30 Nov Leadership Growth
SFLI’s Campus Mentor Program transforms students into pro-life leaders. This is a look into one of our student’s journey. In his own words, here’s Emiliano:
I joined Northwestern Students for Life in the freshman join-all-the-clubs-on-campus rush.
Yes, I identified as pro-life. But, I also wanted to run cross country and join the International Socialist Organization and work as a one-man ecumenicist to single-handedly unite all the Christian groups on campus. Point is, I never imagined that two years later, I would be going on to lead my second term as Vice-President and be part of the NSFL team putting on Northwestern’s first ever Lovin’ Life Week.
That path began by a simple invitation by David, the president of NSFL at the time. In the stupidly competitive atmosphere of NU student groups, many of which demand applications, it felt good to be intentionally invited and welcomed as a person.
It was on a service trip to the Women’s Center of Chicago where I first met Kevin Grillot. We talked for several hours as we sat on the floor putting together hundreds of baby bottles. As we left at the end of the day, I declared that Kevin had inspired me to bring the pro-life ethic to whatever I did.
In January, I got another invitation. This time, it was to skip 2 days of school to go on the March For Life. The risk paid off. On the SFLI charter bus I became part of a Chicago-wide community that transformed my vision of the pro-life movement and my role in it.
It was on the March For Life that being pro-life went from being a belief to being a way of life.
The March For Life is also where I met another person who would be crucial to my pro-life path. Anna Slater first became my friend. When she went to work for Students for Life of Illinois the next year, she became my mentor, talking me through everything from what it means to be a joyful pro-life leader on campus to picking up pan dulce from a Roger’s Park panadería for a fundraiser for a shelter for women and children.
Later, I met Pam Suresca at our first movie fest, who was Northwestern’s mentor before Anna and she motivated our group with her bottomless love and joy for the cause.
In conclusion, my growth as a pro-life leader has been inextricably linked with the relationships I have built with the staff at Students for Life of Illinois.
Our movement is about building a culture of life. You can’t build a culture alone. Cultures gain currency only in their performance, and we are working to build a world in which it is common practice not only to love all human beings for their intrinsic value, but to look with compassion and empathy upon those who struggle with fear of rejection or lack of resources and to be a loving advocate alongside them.
SFLI has shown me that as a movement, we pro-lifers need to be always joyful and compassionate about Lovin’ Life.
Thanks Emiliano and all of our students who step up on campus for the pro-life movement!