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Building a culture of life, one student at a time

Our culture has transformed radically in the last decades. The changes have occurred over such a long period of time that many are unaware of the dramatic extent of the transformation.

During these decades we have moved from a culture where right and wrong were clearly defined, where belief in faith and living by principles were norms, where life was revered, to a culture where Biblical values, faith, and respect for the sanctity of human life are unknown or ignored.

Our children have never known a world without contraception and abortion. Every day our modern culture wages a battle for our children’s souls, hearts, and minds. Every day the new buzzword, “tolerance,” is used to numb them to the truth. They are bombarded with this message through the Internet, through mainstream television, at school, and in conversations with peers. No longer are they taught to love the sinner and hate the sin. Instead, they are taught to love the sinner and accept without question his or her sin. Otherwise, they are labeled as bigots, racists, or worse.

In their lifetime, our children and young people may face sins against the sanctity of life and human dignity such as abortion, artificial human procreation (e.g., in vitro fertilization, surrogacy, and cloning), embryonic stem cell research, contraception, genetic manipulation, unethical fertility treatments, embryo adoption, the redefinition of marriage and family, unethical endof-life care, euthanasia, assisted suicide, vital organ donation, and declarations of so-called brain death.

The culture of death is tirelessly at work discovering new ways to play God and destroy human beings at every possible stage of life. That should be a sobering thought for all
of us.

What then do we do? How do we protect the innocence of our children? How do we make sure they know how to detect the culture of death in their lives and fight it? How do we help them see and choose truth while the world tries to distort it? How do we teach a balance of justice and mercy? How do we prepare our children to live in the world without being tainted by the godlessness surrounding them?

No longer is it enough just to be pro-life. Action is necessary.

Our young people must be engaged, must understand the enemy, and know exactly how to combat the onslaught of propaganda they encounter, so that they can effectively build a culture of life.

The vision

Judie Brown, cofounder and president of American Life League, has always known that the battle for life will never be won in the political arena. The reason is simple: The battle for life is a battle for hearts and minds. Pro-lifers have spent an inordinate amount of time desperately trying to win, throughlegislation,what amount to small victories (if victories at all), while Planned Parenthood and its cohorts have
been in the school system capturing the minds and hearts of our youth.

Our job will not be done until people recognize the beauty inherent in every person and work to defend every human being’s life from creation until death. Education is the key and has always been a cornerstone of ALL’s mission and work. That is why ALL has as one of its programs a high school that is built around a pro-life curriculum.

At Saint Michael the Archangel High School in Fredericksburg, Virginia, teachers have been working for years to instill pro-life values and encourage students to turn their knowledge into action. And they have succeeded. SMHS graduates not only excel academically, but are bold and courageous. Many go on to become pro-life activists on their college campuses.

These students are equipped to live out their pro-life convictions in their God-given vocations. They know firsthand what living the gospel of life looks like. They have tasted success, saved numerous babies, and changed their peers’ hearts and minds because of their bold witness. They are eager and willing to learn from the expert guidance ALL has provided.

SMHS students’ success in defending life inspired Judie and her ALL management team to take prolife education to the next level. That is how CLSP came into being.

The program

CLSP is dedicated to building a culture of life by providing educational supplements and multimedia resources designed to help students in grades K-12 become effective pro-life communicators. This program does more than just spread the pro-life message or fight against the evils of abortion and euthanasia; it forms whole new generations in the culture of life.

CLSP offers five categories of courses, each with its own series of topics, for elementary, middle or junior high, and high school students.

For elementary school students, the Life Primer series builds a strong foundation for learning about the beauty of God’s creation, and developing concern and respect for others. Children in kindergarten through third grade are exposed to the wonders of fetal development, the gift of life in people with special needs, and the need to care for those around us. Students engage in crafts, games, drama, art, and other activities that lay the groundwork for building the culture of life.

CLSP recently released its first supplement in the Life Primer series, Life Is Precious, which explores fetal development and respect for human life through a four-week study using children’s picture books.

In the Life Foundations category, students in middle or junior high school explore threats to life. Life Foundations continues students’ instruction in the truth through ageappropriate activities that respect the innocence of the audience.

As high school students prepare for college, they need to learn how to combat threats to life and practice standing up for their beliefs, even when it seems unpopular. CLSP supports high school students by offering three categories of supplements:
• Life Quest—four-week or eightweek courses focusing on prolife topics within the study of history, religion, and literature.
• Life Lens—one-to-three-day lessons that can be integrated into any ongoing required courses, such as American government or medieval literature.
• Life Scope—one-to-three-day lessons with a video supplement on pro-life topics, such as the soon-to-be released lesson titled Margaret Sanger and the American Acceptance of Birth Control.

CLSP’s high school supplements teach the truth, urge students to take an active role in the defense of life, and encourage them to take on the moral challenges pervading our culture. Each supplement series merges the study of the great books, Church documents, science, history, literature, and other subjects with pro-life topics. CLSP requires students to think above and beyond what they are already learning in school and determine the means for taking a stand for life in all academic disciplines, in order to reclaim the culture.

The beauty of CLSP and what sets it apart from similar programs is its unique ability to combine the expertise of leading pro-life activists, scientists, lawyers, historians, Catholic university professors, and theologians with the teaching know-how of homeschool parents, as well as primary and secondary school teachers.

This fall CLSP will release a one day study on euthanasia that drew from the expertise of Julie Grimstad (executive director of Life Is Worth Living, Inc.), Bobby Schindler (executive director of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network), and the Prolife Healthcare Alliance, to ensure that all information is factually accurate. Our team of homeschool and high school educational consultants then turned those facts into a usable format for both school and homeschool settings. The result is a study that can easily be incorporated into an existing curriculum or stand alone as a unit study.

Each supplement category fills a specific educational need, offers flexibility for teachers, and fits smoothly into an existing course of study or curriculum. CLSP recognizes that teachers cannot add courses to an already-established curriculum, so the supplements were created as structured guides that help teachers and homeschool parents seamlessly integrate culture-of-life teachings into a class or program.

The future

CLSP is only a year old and already we’re making waves! This past summer our team traveled to homeschool and educational conferences around the country. We shared ideas, gathered input and additional expertise, and connected with other groups and companies for partnerships. We worked with veteran homeschool moms, teachers, and popular bloggers to test and refine our products.

The future of the pro-life movement depends on young people, and we’re determined to provide them with all the tools they need to reclaim the culture. Without a proper foundation in culture-of-life principles, the next generation of pro-life activists, parents, and professionals will be poorly equipped to deal with the growing threats to life in our society. Together with prayer and dedicated activism, education is one of themost powerful weapons we have against the culture of death. With an initiative like CLSP, the future of the pro-life movement looks bright.

Students cannot win this battle on their own. They need the mentorship of their parents and teachers. So much depends on the education and formation of our young people! If we all work together, we can make the culture of life a reality for our country.

We hope you will join us on this journey! The future may well depend on it. Please visit our website at CultureOfLifeStudies.com or e-mail us at clsp@all.org. Be sure to sign up. Membership is free and provides access to many free resources.

Laura Kizior, a freelance writer and curriculum developer, graduated with a degree in English Writing and French from North Central College (in Naperville, Illinois), and spent a year in France teaching English to primary school students. Mary Kizior, a freelance writer from Chicago, earned a BA in English and French from North Central College, and has taught English through the Teaching Assistant Program in France.

For details, visit CultureOfLifeStudies.com, e-mail us at clsp@all.org, or call 540-659-4171. See also the ad on page 29 for the Life Primer collection’s Miracle of Life Coloring and Activity Book

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About the author

Laura Kizior

Laura Kizior works in American Life League’s Culture of Life Studies Program as a content developer. Her work has appeared on Verily.com, CatholicMom.com, LifeSiteNews.com, and TeachersSavingChildren.org, and in the Pro-Life Healthcare Alliance newsletter.

About the author

Mary Kizior

Mary Kizior is a content developer for American Life League’s Culture of Life Studies Program. Her work has appeared on LifeSiteNews.com, Christ Is Our Hope magazine, Defend Life magazine, the Peanut Butter and Grace blog, and other blogs.