BRANCH OF THE VINCENTIAN FAMILY INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT: Vincentian Marian Youth (VMY)
NAME OF SYSTEMIC CHANGE PROJECT: March for Life
PROJECT ADDRESS: Washington, DC
CONTACT PERSON: Shirley Klump
LENGTH OF TIME THE PROJECT/PROGRAM HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE: 4 years
PROJECT WEBSITE: www.vmy.us
“Systemic Change requires transforming attitudes”
Systemic change during the March for Life comes from teaching the young people a deeper understanding of respect for life and chastity. The trip includes education on many different alternatives to abortion and about organizations that will help and it establishes peer support teams.
While on the March for Life trip they have the opportunity to learn about their faith by formational segments, sacraments, the Vincentian family by visiting the home of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and service to persons who are poor by preparing food and feeding the homeless outside of the largest soup kitchen in the United States, The young people are encouraged to bring warm clothing to distribute to the homeless during this time. Strategies to achieve systemic change are legislative advocacy, systemic change education and advocacy with appropriate agencies/organizations. Education on government issues, government involvement in abortion issues, becoming an educated voter and personal involvement in government are incorporated into the education components.
The first few years the program grew in number but was relatively small 25-35 people. When John Peirick was hired as youth minister at St. Vincent’s in Perryville he and the pastors fully endorsed VMY and our number of attendants jumped dramatically. In 2010 there were over 100 attendants.
Each year the program and issues that are addressed change somewhat so that youth repeating the trip will continue their education in respect life issues, formation and service to the poor. Each year we call on some organizations and individuals that are not VMY membership to help lead and instruct the teens. Teen involvement is also incorporated as much as possible.
The program will always be directed and organized by members of Vincentian Marian Youth with the needed assistance from other outside organizations depending on the programming. A few of our teens and adults came home empowered to want to help educate others about abortion alternatives by taking sidewalk counseling classes in St. Louis.