By TAMI QUIGLEY Staff writer
Another voice for life is being heard in the Lehigh Valley in the form of Pro-Life Future, a young adult ecumenical group with many Catholic young adults active in its pro-life work. The group recently won the 2017 Chapter of the Year of 16 Pro-Life Future chapters nationally.
Pro-Life Future is a spinoff from Students for Life, which was a pro-life organization on college campuses. Young adults found after graduation that it was difficult to continue the momentum; many parishes either had no formal pro-life group that was active or, if active, comprised mostly of older adults.
Michael Israel of Easton and Annaleigh Atiyeh, parishioner of St. Joseph the Worker, Orefield, co-founded the chapter in 2016. It is open to young adults 22 to 40.
“We contacted the director of Pro-Life Future the same week and were put in contact with each other. We hadn’t known each other before but instantly we were great partners because of the knowledge, passion and ideas Mike brought to the table and the training I’ve had in the past,” said Atiyeh, vice president of the chapter. Israel is the chapter’s president.
“We found support and interested young adults, including our treasurer Jason Li, our social media coordinator Taryn Gilbert and many other young adults, and founded our chapter in four short months.
“We have had so much fun doing it,” said Atiyeh. “I’d like to give a shout out to the amazing and passionate young adults who have joined us as we continue to build the foundation of our chapter, especially our new secretary, Catherine Wells, a teacher at St. Thomas More, Allentown.”
“We encompass and are based in all of the Lehigh Valley, and we have individuals come to us from as far as towns in New Jersey,” Atiyeh said.
“I guess that might be a complicated way of putting where we are based, but truly, we only try to stay central to areas in Bethlehem because it’s typically easiest and most equidistant for those coming from places as far as Hellertown, Easton, Macungie and Schnecksville. However, we’ll hold events, outreaches, socials, meetings and fundraisers wherever we are welcomed, needed and want to socialize in the Lehigh Valley,” she said.
“We fill needs in the pro-life movement as they arise, such as joining in defund planned parenthood rallies and education, praying during the 40 Days for Life campaigns, helping out at women’s homes and pregnancy resource centers when they ask for help, and spreading news/canvassing about pro-life bills and legislation,” Atiyeh said.
“We also do social events at bars, bowling alleys, arcades, sports games, etc., while leaving open time to table and regularly meet to learn apologetics and other educational topics within the pro-life movement.”
The group attended this year’s March for Life in Washington, D.C., taking 14 young adults, staying overnight and going to the Students for Life of America national conference.
“The conference was very cool, because of all the awesome speakers, and Mike and I were asked along with three other young adults to lead a roundtable breakout discussion about the best practices we have for our groups.”
The Lehigh Valley Chapter of Pro-Life Future meets the first Tuesday of every month, usually in Bethlehem. The meeting place is announced on Facebook and in emails. Visit https://www.facebook.com/LehighValleyProlifeFuture/; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or call/text 484-330-6380.