Updated: Feb 17
My Name is Rhea and I'm 18 years old. I work at Life Culture and run the initiative called Generation Life. It might seem crazy that I'm recently out of high school and I'm already so involved in pro-life work, and honestly, it feels crazy too. I want to share some of my story and how I got to where I am today. I think it's a pretty interesting story and it gives a way for you to get to know me better.
For context, I grew up in a Christian home in a small town South of Winnipeg. Growing up, It felt as though everyone knew everyone in my town. In my elementary and middle school years, it was a common to feel like everyone around me believed the same things I did, and everyone classified themselves as Christians. I was quite sheltered and until recently, I didn’t know much about abortion or MAiD at all.
I personally became more interested and educated on the topic of abortion in grade 11 when a friend of mine who is very passionately against abortion told me some crazy statistics. I then started to look into it and do my own research. I have always loved babies and little kids so when I started looking into different statistics, it was very shocking and motivated me to stand up and educate others my age. For the next while I knew where I stood on the topic of abortion. I often took time to educate myself through lots of research as well as use my personal social media platform to share posts about the issue of abortion, posts that pro-life activists I looked up to were sharing. Speaking up about my view on the seemingly controversial topic of abortion on social media created a few conversations online. I knew I wanted to do more but at the time, I wasn't really sure where my place was in the pro-life movement.
Fast forward to my grade 12 ELA class, where my teacher told us to do a writing piece, he did not give us a topic or a category to write about. We could write about anything. Now at this time I was in two ELA classes taught by the same teacher, doing the same assignment in both classes. In one of my classes, I decided to write a paper on abortion, because I was interested in learning more about the topic but also wanted to educate my classmates on abortion. I knew that the information they were getting was majority from social media. Although there is a bit of truth found on social media educational accounts, so much of the information on these topics that we as teenagers long to know more about, is misinformation. The pro-life message is not often shared through social media and can be hard to find. It is understandable that if we are only hearing one side of the argument, to automatically believe the things we hear without question. So, I ended up spending majority of my time in both classes working on an essay about abortion. I covered medical, legal and political facts in my extensive, 10-page essay on abortion.
I shared some of the information I found with the class once we had finished our assignments and were given time to share. Believe me when I say that I know how hard this conversation can be in a public high school where so many of the students are firmly pro-choice but aren't necessarily fully educated with true information. So, presenting my findings was slightly terrifying but had a large impact looking back. Some classmates looked at me with disgust and thought about me differently following that presentation. Some treated me differently and made negative comments. But on the other side, many were thankful that I stood up and talked about it, some came up to me to thank me for sharing and told me that they had no idea about the information that I shared. Months later some of my friends were still telling me about times in their classes where my essay came up in conversation. I also had a boy from my church who was a student from my school in a different grade tell me that he had heard conversations in his classes about my essay. When I picked the topic of abortion to write my essay on, I was not aware of the lasting impact that me talking about it would have on the people around me. This was so eye opening and motivated me to keep educating my generation even when it felt difficult or as though nothing impacted their views.
Now let's talk about how I got here, with the job that I have, doing what I love. At the beginning of Grade 12, at least for me, there was this pressure that came from teachers, other students and those around me that made it seem as though I needed to know what I was doing after high school as well as have some sort of plan for what my future would look like. Well first let me tell you that that is not the case. But anyways, at this time last year I was planning to go into elementary education in the Fall of 2022. I was always told that I would be a great teacher and it seemed to fit my personality and the things I wanted to do perfectly. I wanted to make an impact on kids' lives…teacher. I wanted to spend time with kids…teacher. I am organized, bubbly and extroverted…teacher. I don't know if it's ever what I fully wanted to do, I just felt pressured to know what I was doing after high school, and looking at it, it made sense.
So, I planned to go to either U of W or Prov. My plan was to play volleyball while taking my undergraduate in arts at Prov and then to transfer over to U of W to finish my teaching degree. I never felt fully sold on this plan and wasn’t sure if that's what I actually wanted to do. After thinking and praying about it for a while I talked to my mom one day about this idea that I had, an idea that felt like an out of reach dream at the time. I told her that I wasn't totally sold on the idea of going into teaching and that what I really wanted was to use my passion for speaking up for those who can't speak for themselves, the unborn. We talked about it a bit, but we didn’t really know if there were any organizations or workplaces nearby that would be able to make this “out of reach” dream I had a reality. That afternoon on April 7th, 2022, I opened a note on my phone, and this is what I wrote.
I became a public speaker for the unborn.
I went around and talked to women and youth in churches about the realities of abortion.
I researched how the church should feel about abortion.
I stood up against abortion on social media platforms
I had an organization where people could donate money which would go to supplies for pregnant women who need help."
So, after I wrote that list of what ifs, nothing changed too much. I continued to post things about abortion on my personal Instagram account, have conversations with people who agreed with me on the issue as well as with people who didn't, and I prayed a lot about my future and what I would do come fall 2022.
At this time, it was getting closer to graduation, and I had no idea what I was doing all summer. I knew that if I wanted to go to school in fall, which was still sort of my plan, but I wasn't really sure about anything at the time. That I really needed a summer job. I had a job for a year and a half at a local bistro in my town which closed down in the middle of my grade 12 year. It was a fantastic job, so the thought of me working anywhere else did not excite me. I talked to my parents all the time about updating my resume and going to hand it out at the local daycare but for some reason we never actually put time towards getting that done.
Missions Fest Manitoba 2022 was on April 29th and 30th and I was headed there with my youth group. Before the concert starts on Friday evening, there is some free time to walk around and check out all the booths. During that time, my youth pastor comes up to me and said “Hey Rhea, you should go check out that booth, they have a banner with a baby on it” he knew about my passion for the unborn and that I had been struggling with what I would do come fall. And I responded with “haha okay…?”
I walked over to their booth and talked to Susan (the executive director of Life Culture) for a while. We stood there and talked for like ten minutes about Life Culture and what they do, before I realized that I knew her daughter and knew exactly who she was. We started talking about my passion for the unborn and soon after, I was offered a job on the spot.
That summer job has since turned into a full-time position. I could not be happier with the work I am doing. The way that the job all fell into place for me, reminds me how thankful I am for the way that God planned this year to go for me, rather than the way that I thought it made sense at the time.
So now that you know my story, let's refer back to that what if list that I wrote in early April, three weeks before I got offered a summer position at Life Culture.
1. What if I became a public speaker for the unborn.
Since I wrote that, I have been to many events, I spoke at a church and a few youth groups as well as at the She Wears Worth Conference, where I educated over 250 girls ages 13-19 on the reality of abortion and MAiD. I am speaking at a college campus next month and more youth groups and events in the coming months.
2. What if I went around and talked to women and youth in churches about the reality of abortion.
Since I wrote that, I spoke at my own church about the reality of abortion and MAiD, where the message was so greatly received. I've had many conversations with women and youth about abortion and how to talk about it. I even had a conversation with a woman at my church who had gone through with an abortion as a young woman, but I was one of the only people she had told. It's crazy what happens, when you start talking about these issues with compassion. Almost every Sunday since then I have had at least one person from my church thank me for speaking on the topic or ask me questions and relate back to my sharing at church.
3. What if I researched how the church should feel about abortion.
Since I wrote that, I have been educated on how we as Christians should go about the topic of abortion. I also have been at many pastors' events where I have had the chance to have conversations with pastors about how they will talk about these problems in their churches.
4. What if I stood up against abortion on social media platforms.
Since I wrote that, I now run the Generation Life Instagram where I educate youth and young people on the reality of abortion and MAiD in sharing truth and knowledge with them.
5. I had an organization where people could donate money which would go to supplies for pregnant women who need help.
Since I wrote that, I now work for Life Culture, an organization that helps women who are struggling. Whether that's a woman going through an unplanned pregnancy, a woman going through a domestic violence situation or a single mom that's struggling financially.
In saying all of this, keep in mind that this is my story. And even if abortion and MAiD are not something you feel very passionate about in the way that I do, that's totally okay, but that doesn't mean that you can't be educated. Because the truth is that these are very real and present problems in Canada. The topic of abortion is becoming much more talked about due to roe v wade being overturned in the United States. We need to be educated and knowledgeable on these topics in order to be able to have good genuine conversations with people, as well as know how to approach it when people around us are going through hard situations such as an unplanned pregnancy.
Thank you so much for reading and hearing a bit more about me and my story. I would love to talk and share more of my passion and heart with you if you are interested. Feel free to DM me on Instagram at generationlife.ca or message me on our website!!