Summer Break? No way! Students for Life at the University of New Mexico used their summer to impact their school by opening their own student run pregnancy help organization on campus, in collaboration with local community organizations.
As Samantha Serrano, the former President of the UNM Students for Life Club says,
“The Gabriel Project is our newest initiative and it will work in collaboration with our Pregnant on Campus initiative. We decided to start a Gabriel Project because we wanted to offer resources to pregnant and parenting students more than just every Friday. With the help of Project Defending Life we are now about to offer free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds on campus. This initiative is completely student run, which we think is important so that our peers will feel more comfortable coming to us for help. We are open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. and are always available by appointment. We have already had six women approach us about starting a parenting support group and we have only been open a week!”
As the school year begins, these courageous students are already seeing good fruit from their work. Last week, at the Fall 2014 School Club Fair, the SFL students were approached by a young woman who had been sexually assaulted just days prior. Immediately, the students embraced her with loving arms, gave her information to a rape support group on campus, and even helped find her free help. This group understands the importance of needing to give women in crisis help in the moment while being compassionate and approachable to their peers. .
Leading the Gabriel Project on campus this year, Dominique Davis was present to help this young woman and says,
“This woman saw our table and asked if we could help her.Our Regional Coordinator, Lo, was able to speak with her while I got some papers with information for referrals to CareNet where they can do STI treatment and counseling, but also to the local rape crisis center and another local organization, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE), who deal specifically with what this poor woman had just been through.
One thing is important in these kinds of situations and I believe with the objective of Pregnant on Campus: to meet the specific needs right away to those who seek us for help. If not, he/she/them may continue searching without really knowing where to look or bouncing around from one referral to another until they do get the help they need. In situations like the one mentioned above, a woman may stop looking, become discouraged, and end up making regretful decisions. If I, or others, had not done hours of internet searching I would have never known about the rape crisis center or SANE, their locations, or their phone numbers. I would not have known about the different locations of CareNet or their contact information. I would not have been able to meet this woman’s needs, which she needed immediately. If I or others in our group had not taken the time to find out what is available in our community, SFL UNM would have certainly failed to do what we had committed ourselves to doing.
It is incredibly important that each club works hard to reach out to their campus, and be visible with open arms and hearts to help those in need. Students for Life at UNM only began in March 2013 and is an amazing testimony of what a student group can do in one year!
Congratulations to The University of New Mexico Students for Life for being true defenders of life and Students for Life of America’s College Group of the Month for August!