How do we persuade women not to have an abortion? Mother Teresa answered: “As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts.”
Those are inspiring words for any prolife volunteer. Two volunteers, Mary Tombelli and Michaela Stiles, drew inspiration from that quote while founding their prolife organization. Their group has participated in a variety of prolife activities. They’ve prayed in front of abortion clinics, donated material goods to prolife pregnancy centers and both Mary and Michaela have completed three 40 Days for Life campaigns.
But what makes this group so special is that none of the members of the group are old enough to remember the death of their inspiration, Mother Teresa, in 1997. Young girls who are so involved in prolife efforts should be a source of inspiration for us all.
Michaela, 11, was the first to envision what is now Girls for Life-Lansing. She wanted to get others involved in prolife volunteering, but the prolife club in her homeschooling group was geared more towards high school students. She said that abortion is a serious issue for people of any age and there should be a group to help younger girls find ways to volunteer.
“When such awful things are going on, you can’t just stand there and not do anything,” she said.
Michaela enlisted the help of her friend Mary, 13, and the co-directors held the first meeting of Girls for Life in the fall of 2009. The group now has 14 members and participates in several volunteer activities.
Recently, Girls for Life completed a service project to donate toys, diapers and other material goods to Shared Pregnancy, a Lansing prolife pregnancy resource center. Saralee Howard, director of Shared Pregnancy, said their center relies totally on contributions from volunteers and groups like Girls for Life.
“This is one of the youngest groups we had,” Saralee said. “These kids were only elementary or middle school-aged, and that was pretty special.”
Girls for Life did a similar project last year through an anonymous $100 donation. Mary said this time they were able to raise the money themselves. A group member’s mother had glass beads to make jewelry, so the group assembled bracelets and sold them to raise most of the money for the gifts to Shared Pregnancy.
“When we told people of the need, they opened their hearts and they were very generous,” Mary said.
Michaela said encouraging other young friends to join a prolife group was easy, despite abortion being such a serious issue. She said many members have younger siblings and their experience with babies means the desire to care for them is infectious.
“Babies are just so cute they are impossible not to like,” Michaela said.
Mary and Michaela were both quick to thank the support from parents of group members. They said that having parents able to help them get the word out through their home-school group was very helpful. They also said having a clear purpose for the group helps inspire volunteers. They wrote their mission down on paper, and it’s very simple: close down the abortion clinic in town, help women and help local pregnancy centers.
While the mission sounds simple, achieving it is anything but for prolife volunteers of any age. Girls for Life will have a lot more to learn and achieve as their group and members gain experience. The most important thing, however, is that they are working hard to achieve that mission, and their message is that a volunteer of any age or background can contribute.
“Don’t try to make everything perfect,” Mary said. “just try to help women in a loving way.”
For ways you can help end abortion, click our link for volunteering.