By Sandy Cunningham
“The Joshua Leadership Institute has helped me realize that I can be part of the generation that brings an end to abortion. I can’t wait to put into practice what I learned here.”
This was the testimony of a public high school student from Covington, one of the 40 high school students and 15 college chaperones from around the state who were in Baton Rouge this week participating Louisiana Right to Life’s Joshua Leadership Institute (JLI). JLI is a week-long camp designed to equip today’s youth with the necessary tools and knowledge to become pro-life leaders in their schools, communities and beyond.
Along with many others, this student left prepared to be more active in advancing the culture of life.
The week consisted of
- intensive sessions on abortion, stem cell research and euthanasia.
- Students then put into action what they learned through interactive “field trips.”
- On Sunday evening they participated in a candlelight vigil at the Delta Abortion Clinic, and on Tuesday students visited the LSU campus to talk with college students and adults about abortion.
“This has been the best camp yet when it comes to outreach,” said Kandace Landreneau, Youth Programs Director for Louisiana Right to Life. “We taught the kids how to articulate the pro-life message to people who disagree with us, and then we took them to the LSU campus to survey students. Our students had life-changing experiences as they were able to enter into civil and productive conversations with people who were pro-choice.”
On Thursday, students visited the state Capitol to hear from Rep. Barry Ivey and participate in a mock legislative committee meeting where each student presented their one-minute “Why I Am Pro-Life” testimony. Students then toured the Governor’s Mansion and met Gov. Bobby Jindal. He encouraged them to be joyful bearers of the pro-life message and to never be discouraged when success might not seem evident.
During the week students heard from several nationally-recognized speakers, including Joanna Wagner and Catherine Wurts from the organization Justice for All and Bobby Schindler of the Life and Hope Network, founded after the death by dehydration and starvation of his sister, Terri Schindler Schiavo.
“We are so thankful to these students for giving up precious time during their summer to commit to the pro-life cause. We cannot wait to see the impact these students have across Louisiana,” Louisiana Right to Life Executive Director Benjamin Clapper said.