By Grace Hemmeke, Right to Life of Michigan Events & Outreach Coordinator
2023 Youth Award Winner:
Every spring Right to Life of Michigan hosts its Youth Award to recognize outstanding high school students for their involvement in the prolife movement. This year’s winner is an excellent example of the passion and dedication that the next generation of prolife leaders brings to the table. In a post-Roe world, we are so glad to see our youth giving their voice as a defense of the unborn.
2023 Youth Award Winner: Maze Gusa, Huron County Right to Life
Maze has been at the forefront of local efforts to protect life for the last several years. Since 2015 she has attended her local Roe v. Wade Memorial and Huron County Prolife Youth Rally. In 2019 she went to the March for Life in Washington D.C., and helped at Huron County RTL’s booth at Ubly Homecoming Kid’s Day. Over the 2022 election cycle, Maze helped to sort literature against Proposal 3. She has been a participant in the Right to Life of Michigan High School Oratory Contest, has attended multiple Right to Life Dinners, as well as dinners sponsored by local pregnancy resource centers. She has helped operate booths at local fairs for Huron County RTL, and has participated in the Port Austin parade along with her affiliate. Maze will be attending Northwood University in the fall and will no doubt continue being a voice for life in the years to come.
From Maze’s essay:
While having conversations about abortion can be intimidating, my generation needs to take every opportunity they have to speak with others about the issue. These conversations should always be done with the highest level of sensitivity, love, and respect. Being grounded in the prolife truth is also essential. By my generation taking action and engaging in conversation with love, respect, and truth, the prolife movement will be perceived in a positive light.
Runner up: Hannah Abel
Hannah Abel has participated in many Tri Cities Right to Life activities, including their oratory contest, of which she was a 3 time winner. She has assisted Tri Cities RTL with mailings and newsletters, has attended their board meetings, and has assisted with the Tri Cities RTL float in the Coast Guard Festival in 2022. Hannah plans on attending Grand Valley State University, where we hope she will continue to be an active and compassionate voice for life.
From Hannah’s essay:
We can promote a positive prolife message by listening to, loving, and leading those around us. Listening is essential.. Often, we talk past one another and wonder why we can not convince others to join our side. It’s not about rhetoric; it’s about relationships. We need to be truly listening to those around us. Forming bonds and relationships with others allows our message to be conveyed in a more genuine, heartfelt, and convincing manner.
Honorable Mention: Sophia Rhein
Sophia Rhein is the student president of the Teens for Life club at St. Francis High School. She has participated in many events supporting life, including prolife sidewalk chalk day, Life Chain, and praying to end abortion at their local Planned Parenthood. She has helped Grand Traverse Area Right to Life record radio PSAs to promote the prolife message, has worked at the Northwest Michigan Fair with Grand Traverse Area RTL, and has marched in the National Cherry Festival with other teens in her life club. This year, at the Grand Traverse Area RTL Focus on Life Dinner, Sophia spoke on the activities that Teens for Life participates in, which allowed her to share her work with a thousand people in the audience. Sophia plans to attend Michigan Technological University.
From Sophia’s essay:
In order to create authentic change in our culture to promote life instead of death, we must love those who support abortion because hearts will not be changed through hate. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”. My vision for America is to make abortion as unthinkable as slavery is in our current society. In order to accomplish this we must love boldly.