By Laura Kizior
Summer is finally here and you and your family have time to relax and enjoy vacation. But don’t allow the enthusiasm of the school year to fade! Building a culture of life is a yearlong, day-to-day process. Here are some ideas to help you build a culture of life in your community over the summer holidays.
Be a witness
Feeling adventurous? Every summer, volunteers for Crossroads walk across America raising awareness of pro-life topics. The walkers travel coast to coast in teams, stopping only to pray outside abortion clinics and give witness talks at churches. If a team is passing through your neighborhood, you can join it for a mile or two and offer its members snacks or support. You can also try organizing a shorter “Walk for Life” in your own community with your family, friends, and neighbors. It can be as simple as walking down a major street wearing pro-life T-shirts or as complex as a fundraiser for a local pregnancy resource center.
If walking across America is not right for your family, there are plenty of other ways that you can spread the pro-life message this summer. Try evangelizing with your friends and neighbors. Get together with a couple of families or your local respect life office to host a float in a Memorial Day parade, Independence Day parade, or other summer festival in your community. Volunteer to run a pro-life booth at your local county fair and distribute pro-life literature. Wear your pro-life T-shirt in public to help spark discussions about the sacredness of every person’s life. There are countless ways in which you can take an active role in pro-life evangelization this summer and help spread the message that every human being deserves the right to life and that every woman in a crisis situation deserves to receive help and support.
Pregnancy resource centers are the “front lines” of the pro-life movement because they provide women with the care and support they need to say yes to life. There are many ways we can lend a hand to pregnancy resource centers. Volunteer at the center to help clean, organize donations, or provide other necessary services. You can also try raising money for the center. Fundraising can be as simple as doing a “bottle drive” at your parish by passing out empty baby bottles and having parishioners fill them with spare change.
Car wash fundraisers are great ways to have fun and help your local community. Organize a car wash for life. Ask a local business to host your group in a corner of the parking lot near a busy street and provide access to water. Bring your own supplies such as hoses, nozzles, soap, buckets, towels, and sponges. Organize your group into shifts for washing, rinsing, drying, and holding signs to advertise. Only ask for donations and make sure your customers know whom the money is benefiting.
Biking for Babies was started by two young men with a passion for helping women in need. Since 2009, over 60 young adults have participated in the annual bike ride from New Orleans to Chicago in an effort to raise money for pregnancy resource centers across the country. Do you like sports? Organize a basketball game fundraiser. Prefer crafts? Make and sell (or raffle) your handiwork to raise money for mothers and babies in your community.
During the summer, take advantage of the nice weather and be a prayerful witness outside abortion clinics in your area. Consider giving an hour or half hour of your time once a month to pray in front of an abortion clinic. Take advantage of an easier summer schedule to organize a parish-wide prayer vigil or pro-life holy hour to pray for all victims of abortion and other threats to human dignity.
Summer is also a great time to host a cemetery of the innocents display at your parish or even at a local park if you can get permission. Although not as graphic as showing images of aborted babies, the small white crosses help passersby understand the impact abortion has on our society every day. Enlist the help of a youth group or pro-life club to pass out information on abortion to people passing by the display.
Praying to end abortion is something we should do all year, but the nicer weather in the summer gives us the opportunity to show a prayerful witness for human dignity that is often not possible during the winter. This summer, look for ways that you can benefit your community and use your talents to build a culture of life.
Laura Kizior is a content developer for American Life League’s Culture of Life Studies Program which emphasizes the culture of life as an integral part of every academic discipline. CLSP is dedicated to helping students become effective communicators of the pro-life message. Sign up for our e-mail newsletter to see how we can help you foster a culture of life at home and in school.