ELOISA GUTIERREZ AND VERONICA ECKART
Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Students for Life club has recently expanded to include an official campus organization called the Values Outreach Program.
What was previously known as the Students for Life club is now a campus-wide organization called Students for Life Values Outreach. The organization now extends far beyond campus, reaching youth across the United States.
This dramatic expansion began through the service of the Students for Life president Cassidy Roderick, junior theology and philosophy double major, who attributes her work entirely to promptings, guidance and support of the Holy Spirit.
Values Outreach furthers the work of Students for Life in response to the call of Pope St. John Paul II to “bring the Gospel of life to the heart of every man and woman and to make it penetrate every part of society.”
Three pillars hold the Values Outreach Program together: to educate young people, to foster vocations and to protect the vulnerable.
To educate young people, the Life Values Outreach (LVO) initiative trains Franciscan students as public speakers who will return to Catholic middle schools, high schools and parishes in their home dioceses over Christmas and summer break.
The presenters learn how to catechize through presentations titled “Human Dignity through Relationships” and “The Value of Suffering.” With 50 students involved this fall 2018 semester alone, hundreds of young people will be hearing a message of embracing the fundamental values of life.
“It is really great from a diocesan perspective, because it is a young college student coming who is able to really engage the kids, and we come free of cost,” said Roderick. “We are able to reach the kids that do not go to summer camp or the Steubenville Conferences or to Mass because we are going right into the classroom.”
A new educational website has also been launched this semester with resources for living and sharing pro-life truths. The website can be found at www.valuesoutreach.com.
To foster vocations, the website will soon include a vocation discernment video series to provide perspectives of living out one’s vocation in the midst of being single, dating, married or a consecrated religious person.
The Praedicare Fellowship also works to create strong Catholic leaders in the secular world by fostering individual vocations. Its Latin title “to preach” indicates its leadership training for college students who wish to develop skills in its three pillars: holiness, proficiency and zeal.
Praedicare Fellowship involves reaching out for mentorship from an adult in the work force. Students also meet with another student, and the two act as one another’s student mentor as they pursue their vocations.
To protect the vulnerable, the third pillar, Students for Life created the Core Values Outreach initiative. Through apologetics that defend fundamental truths of human dignity, students combat secular philosophies at the University of Pittsburgh campus.
Every Saturday morning, the team of Franciscan students drives to the University of Pittsburgh to engage with students on its campus on topics such as abortion and euthanasia. With one-on-one interactions, students use their training to plant seeds of truth in minds of the young adults to whom they reach out.
“We also want to start spreading our message to the Catholic world off campus and start to reach out to different dioceses and media outlets,” said Roderick.
Students for Life is doing just that.
Through its new Media and MarCom initiatives, Values Outreach looks forward to spreading the pro-life message to social media and the public square. Creative and hard-working students from Franciscan are currently using their gifts to develop new strategies to advertise and market the culture of life.
An Events and Executive group of even more students are also working for the Values Outreach Program to plan campus-wide events, run the business aspects for Students for Life and organize the university’s annual trip to the March for Life.
Already, Franciscan’s Students for Life has gained public attention. Some of its members have been featured on EWTN’s “Morning Glory” radio show, Relevant Radio’s “Morning Air” radio show and EWTN’s “Pro-Life Weekly” TV series.
In addition to the programs that focus on creative and evangelical works of service, Students for Life continues its abortion clinic prayer ministry. Students attend 6:30 morning Mass together every Saturday before driving to a Pittsburgh abortion clinic to pray.
For more information about the many services and resources Students for Life Values Outreach offers, visit its website at www.valuesoutreach.com or the Student Life offices in the ground floor of the J.C. Williams Center.