A valuable lesson

August 1, 2017 - 12:00am -- Living City

A valuable lesson
Taking a stand to support a teen mother

By Rachael Stanley, 15, Ohio

During my freshman year in high school I learned a valuable lesson: sometimes you have to take a stand for your faith in places where you didn’t expect you would have to. In my case, it was to stand up for my Catholic beliefs at my Catholic school.

About halfway through the school year, it came to my attention that there was a pregnant sophomore girl. She was new to the school and was still trying to find her place. At that time I was just returning from the March for Life in Washington — the largest pro-life movement gathering in the U.S., with over half a million people participating each year. We had gone to stand in support of life, of each life as a gift from God deserving to be protected, and of mothers to help them choose life.

So when I heard of this girl’s situation, I felt compelled to act on what I had learned by reaching out and lending a hand to support her. I began to think of a way to help, and I came up with the idea that I would start to collect gift cards from stores where baby items are available. I sent a group text to friends and was able to collect a few gift cards, but I still wanted to try to collect more.

So I decided to reach out with my idea to one of my teachers, who is also the pro-life group advisor. I thought he would be happy about it, but instead he told me that we as a school could not support her. I responded that I was not trying to support her action of sex before marriage, but rather I wanted to support the fact that at the age of 16 she chose life for her child. He still denied me permission to ask others to contribute.

When my advisor responded in such a way, it made me feel embarrassed, and it also made me reevaluate my decision and think I was doing something wrong. But I found no wrongdoing in my actions, for I was just trying to help a young mother keep her baby, a value we were supporting at the pro-life march.

So even though I could not make this an official school project, I continued asking other friends one on one to give what they could. By about a month later, I had raised around $75 and gathered a few baby supplies to give to her. I wrapped them and put them in a gift bag with a card that had my name and number and an explanation.

Later that day I received a text from the girl, and she was extremely thankful. She explained that it hadn’t been easy at school since she got pregnant, and that she was very happy she had some new friends behind her to support her.

To this day, we are good friends and talk from time to time. She had her baby boy, and she will be home-schooled next school year, so she can continue to have the opportunity to raise her child. And the experience has given me the courage to always persevere in what I feel is right without getting discouraged by the obstacles.