With summer in full swing, many families, youth, and children spend hours swimming, playing baseball and softball, going camping, or engaged in video games. But in Casper, Wyoming, a number of young people are taking time from their summer activities to stand for life by helping a local pregnancy center.
In June, the youth group at Boyd Avenue Baptist Church, wanting to do more outreach in Casper, hosted two bake sales for True Care Women’s Resource Center, a nearby pro-life pregnancy help center that has been part of the community for 31 years. In one week, the eight-to-ten member group raised nearly $200, proceeds which they have used to purchase materials the center needs, including office supplies, diapers, and baby clothes.
Underlying the youths’ recent foray into serving the pregnancy help community is a deep-seated passion to oppose abortion and support pregnant women in need.
“Abortion is something we all feel strongly about,” said 15-year-old Lynn Heyer, a member of the youth group who helped with the bake sale. “True Care is a ministry—they share pregnancy options with the women who come in and they share the Gospel.”
Sixteen-year-old Abbi Tharp, a fellow member, agreed.
“Women need help, they need support,” said Tharp. “It’s important for women to know their options.”
Fortunately for True Care, Heyer and Tharp aren’t the only young people who feel this way.
Across town from Boyd Avenue Baptist Church, Wind City Church’s summer Vacation Bible School lent a hand to the center’s life-saving efforts for a week in June.
After choosing True Care as their mission outreach, the children were given baby bottles to fill with coins and cash throughout the week. Then, at the end of the week, they invited True Care President and CEO Terry Winship to the final VBS gathering where parents get to learn what their children did during the week. There, Winship was presented with baby bottles—the contents totaling over $350 in donations—as well as several packages of diapers.
Tweet This: Together, this church youth group and a Vacation Bible School raised hundreds for True Care Pregnancy Center this summer. #prolife
Winship, Heyer, and Tharp all believe youth are vital to the pro-life movement.
“It is important for young people to become involved with the pro-life movement because they learn the truth about the movement—we’re not crazy people who intentionally lie to women or who only want their babies—rather than what the biased media and our secular society say about it,” Winship said. “Hopefully, they learn that all human life is valuable because we are made in the image of God, our Creator. They learn that there are people willing to make sacrifices so that people know the truth about abortion and so that unborn lives are saved, those who work in the pro-life movement, but also courageous, selfless birth mothers and fathers.”
Heyer’s involvement stems partially from how the issues of teen pregnancy and abortion directly impact her generation.
“Abortion is our problem,” Heyer said. “We’re of the age that centers like True Care often serves; we see teen pregnancy in our schools. We’re helping our peers.”
“Also, it’s good for youth to be involved in the community,” Tharp added.
“The best thing they can do is to be advocates for this work, referring their friends and acquaintances to True Care,” she said.
Heyer's and Tharp’s involvement in the pro-life cause goes even further than their support of True Care. These young women have participated in other pro-life endeavors, as well. In January, Casper held its first March for Life in many years. Both Tharp and Heyer joined their families in a walk through the community to support life, braving the wind, snow, and cold temperatures of that day, just as they braved a nearly 100-degree day at their recent bake sale. The efforts and outcomes were worth the weather extremes, they said.
Abbi Tharp (left) and Lynn Heyer, members of a Casper, Wyoming church youth group, brave the snow and cold to participate in the community's March for Life in January 2018. | Photo courtesy of Lynn Heyer
During the bake sales, they were able to initiate important conversations
“We told people what we were raising the money for, and nobody opposed. In fact, some gave much more,” Tharp said.
“I was surprised how the community reacted—they said they respected what we were doing, and they were impressed by young people getting involved in the community,” Heyer said.
True Care receives support from youth in a variety of ways, Winship said. From help with mailings to filling and emptying baby bottles throughout the year, children and teens are making an impact.
Heyer and Tharp said their youth group plans to continue helping True Care and other non-profit ministries in the community, although no solid plans are currently under development.
Heyer’s brother Jacob, who served as a counselor for a children’s camp earlier this summer, said those youths created tie-blankets that will be distributed to pregnancy centers throughout the state.
Knowing young people have a passion for life and for pregnancy help centers like True Care inspires Winship.
“It is so very encouraging, having invested 20 years of my life to pregnancy center ministry, to meet young folks who want to become involved in the pro-life movement,” she said. “I was very moved two years ago when I had the privilege of attending the March for Life in Washington, DC and saw so many young people participating. The battle for life will continue, and it is so good to know that the next generation of life-affirming warriors are being equipped, and that they understand how much unborn lives matter.”