Train Up a Child: The Most Effective Way to Win in the Fight for Life

By Joleigh Little, Region Coordinator and Teens for Life Director, Wisconsin Right to Life

It was my congressman and his wife who got me thinking.  Pro-life youth are always on my heart and never far from my mind.  But the reality of who they could be when they grow up and all the good they can accomplish for the cause of life was brought front and center at our Wisconsin Right to Life state convention.

Rachel Campos Duffy was the keynote speaker during our opening session.  Aside from being a nationally recognized blogger, media personality and author, she also happens to be married to Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Wi.) who came along to hear his wife speak and also graced us with a few words.

What struck me as I watched this dynamic couple was the depth of the passion they share for the cause of life.  They aren’t just pro-life because it’s politically expedient.  They’re pro-life because they live it, believe it, and feel it to the core of their being.  And neither one of them is afraid to say it.

What struck me even further was their age.  They’re both under 40.  That’s pretty young for the national political scene.  It’s also an age where you can’t remember an America where abortion wasn’t legal.  Trust me, that has an effect on a person.

Today’s youth can’t remember an America without legalized abortion, either.  And, sadly, they are growing up in a nation where families must fight to protect the lives of their loved ones who are especially vulnerable. 

These young people live every day with the reality that life is on the line — that unborn children, children diagnosed in utero with special needs, and the already born but “imperfect” are endangered.   They are paying attention, and they aren’t just going to sit idly by and let it happen.

These kids want to make a difference.  They are eager to learn the facts of abortion and euthanasia.  Almost daily I get inquiries from young people and parents wondering “what is available in my area for pro-life youth?” 

And with each passing day the answer is more and more positive.  In Louisiana, Wisconsin, Texas, New York and Rhode Island there are summer programs to train pro-life youth.  Oregon, Vermont and Louisiana also have spring or fall events, along with a number of states that provide special teen tracks at their conventions.  Minnesota has a youth lobbying day at their capitol.   Florida has a growing and active Teens for Life group that provides training opportunities throughout the year.

On the national level, NRLC hosts a National Teens for Life Summit and Congressional Reception in January and a National Teens for Life Convention in the summer.  This year’s convention will be held June 23-25 in Jacksonville, Florida and will provide three days of intensive training on the life issues. 

Consider bringing a group of teens and joining us! For more information on how to register, go to the ad found in the center of NRL News or

Regardless of where you live, one of two scenarios is true.  There is either a well-developed or burgeoning youth program through your state affiliate of National Right to Life, or there isn’t… yet. 

If such a program exists in your state, promote it to the pro-life teens you know.  Or, better yet, start a local group and connect with the state group.  Offer to help out with events.  Make a donation.   Do something!

If your state is one that is still working to develop a program, then YOU NEED TO GET INVOLVED!  Don’t underestimate what your time, talent and financial investment can do to help promote life in your state!  Contact your state’s NRLC affiliate and ask what is available.  Then ask how you can help them reach the next generation with the message that life is precious.  It’s really a lot easier than you think and just takes a little time and effort.

That effort is paying off here in Wisconsin and in Louisiana where record numbers of youth are being trained every year via Camp Joshua and other youth-focused activities.  It’s working in Rhode Island where high school and college-aged youth are attending a summer right to life academy. 

It’s working everywhere that pro-life adults take the time to look beyond the pressing needs of today and toward the future of our great cause.

And it can work where you live – if you’re willing to invest!  That investment will pay off.  That investment will save lives.  Who knows… that investment might just inspire a young man or woman to carry their pro-life convictions all the way to Capitol Hill.

Congressman Duffy’s enthusiasm as he spoke of battles in Congress to protect unborn children brought tears to my eyes because I realized “This caliber of leadership is what we can expect from the teenagers we’re training!”  It’s not just a pipe dream.  It’s not just wishful thinking.  It’s reality.  If we train them to be advocates for life, arm them with the truth and teach them to boldly proclaim it, someday some of them will be representing us in Congress.   And the rest will be representing us in all fifty states in all walks of life!

For more information on a camp program near you, or on how you can get involved, please contact Joleigh at  She’d be happy to connect you with your nearest teen training opportunity!

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