WRITTEN BY: Blaise Alleyne, Education Coordinator, UTSFL
Photos by: Blaise Alleyne, Education Coordinator, UTSFL
A big part of effective leadership involves showing up and putting in the time with your team and with the community.
The mission of Students for Life is to transform our campus and our city by making the injustice of abortion impossible to ignore in downtown Toronto through photographic evidence, and through dialogue about science and human rights. This can be challenging work, and requires great compassion, character, courage, confidence. How do we foster the growth and development of new team members in order to be able to excel at this rewarding but challenging work? By showing up, and putting in the time with people on our team and in our community.
We run a project called “Choice” Chain 1-3 times per week. Our team puts in the time to defend pre-born human rights, and to listen and dialogue with people on the UofT campus and in downtown Toronto. Our experienced team members put in the time with new recruits to show them how to have fruitful conversations, and how to respond to hostility with love and to provide clarity and charity in the face of confusion. After each “Choice” Chain, we put in the time during debrief sessions to help reflect on conversations and provide feedback to each other on how we can grow and improve in effective dialogue rooted in both love and truth. Experienced members put the time in to help new members learn how to put in the time to change hearts and minds on campus, and save lives.
We also hold many regular events. We run weekly seminars to discuss apologetics, bioethics, strategy and politics — we put in the time to learning and engaging deeply with the issues, and to help each other learn through discussion. After each seminar, we have our weekly pub night — we put in the time to getting to know each other as friends. We volunteer weekly at Aid to Women, a charitable organization that helps women and families facing difficult pregnancy situations, to put in the time to serve the people for whom we advocate. We hold monthly apologetics workshops to put in the time to train new members, and I’m thrilled to see how many experienced team members come to workshops to put in the time to help newcomers learn through role-playing dialogue.
We see the results of putting in the time every week. That time I ran a 3 hour workshop for the one person who was new in the room? She’s spending a Summer saving lives. Those walks to the subway and pub night conversations? Those friends are taking on executive leadership roles. The weekly seminars and mentorship? People graduate from U of T and give up or postpone their desired careers to work full-time saving lives. And the time we put into activism and dialogue every week? We see hearts and minds changed on abortion all the time. We’re living leadership, putting in the time to growing a local movement dedicated to putting in the time defending human rights and transforming our campus, our city, our country, one photo and one conversation at a time.
Education Coordinator, Students for Life (UTSFL)