A Student Journey from Pro-life Club to Career
An interview with Agata Hanebach
The following is an interview with Agata about her pro-life journey from high school club to career. She is an inspiration to many, we are proud of her and excited to walk alongside in this journey.
Q: What got you involved in the pro-life movement?
A: I remember my first day of High School; I was scared, lost and not sure if I would find any friends. My elementary teacher had said, “When you get to high school you will lose all the friends you had in elementary.” I later found out that was not true, but it was enough to make me feel nervous and alone.
At the start of the year, Assumption did an extra-curricular fair. My Chaplain, Mr. Campanelli, approached me about joining the pro-life club and I decided to see what it was like hoping, this could be a great way to make friends. Besides, who says no to free stickers and pens?!
Q: Did your pro-life involvement result in new friendships?
A: Definitely. The pro-life movement is a cause and a community. Even one of the social service workers at my future Shifra Home placement attended the same pro-life events as me and that gave us an immediate connection.
Q: Were you pro-life before you joined?
A: I would say I was already pro-life. I didn’t know too much about it at the beginning but as I learned more I remember thinking how could someone not choose life when, even at the most challenging times, there is support?
Q: Tell us about your experiences in pro-life activity?
A: There were a lot of opportunities as part of the pro-life club. Two of my favourite events were the Halton Alive Gala and March for Life (Ottawa). Sponsors of the Gala enable students to attend and I was lucky to go three times. The speaker at the first Gala dinner was really inspiring for me and made me want to get more involved.
One of my favourite memories is getting my friends to join pro-life activities and going to the Halton Alive club days. That’s where I learned the SLED
argument, which really stuck with me and helped when defending my pro-life stance to others. The more I learned, the more passionate I became.
Q: What brought you to your placement at Shifra Home?
A: Ever since grade 9 when I discovered there were maternity homes I wanted to get involved with Shifra Home. As I became more passionate and confident about being pro-life I knew I wanted to continue my involvement after high school. I entered the Child and Youth worker program at Sheridan College and made my dream a reality by doing my placement at Shifra Home.
Q: What have you learnt from that placement?
A: Probably the biggest impact has been meeting such young, inspiring girls. I’ve realized how simple my life is. Yes, there are ups and downs but that’s the case for everyone. Choosing life like these girls have, even in the down times, even when it’s hard, takes serious strength and patience. I couldn’t help but think sometimes, would I have the strength to do that? But this actually strengthened my pro-life beliefs. The girls at Shifra Home choose life even when the odds are against them. I actually accompanied one client to the hospital and witnessed her strength while her baby was under care. This convinced me all the more that pro-life is the right choice.
Q: What was most challenging about your Shifra Home?
A: Initially I felt really intimidated. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to connect with the girls because I’d never been pregnant or had a child. I tried my best to be empathetic but it was hard because we were similar in age but I was on a completely different life path.
It was difficult to watch their lives become more challenging…early morning feedings, constant dirty diapers, fitting in school or work...I think it’s easy to take all this for granted and make it seem a lot easier for women than it is. The sleepless nights, taking the baby to get their first shots, the first time they run a temperature, teething… all this is physically and emotionally challenging. Even I started to feel overwhelmed by all the challenges. Eventually I came to understand that despite tall this, love is stronger and your child deserves your best.
Q: How has this experience impacted your future goals?
A: I am attending Ryerson University this fall to continue my education in Child and Youth Care work. I am already connected with Ryerson’s pro-life group and can’t wait to get involved on campus. I plan to put my education and experience to work by opening a shelter someday. I want to support people in crisis, especially unplanned pregnancy. Being pro-life is a huge part of who I am. It informs the way I think, the way I talk and the choices I make for my life. I will always be a part of the pro-life movement. My time with Halton Alive and Shifra Home has had a lifelong impact.
Q: What message would you give to other pro-life people?
A: Get involved. Learn. There is a perfect role for everyone. If you just start by getting involved in one thing you will open up a world of opportunity. There are a lot of causes out there these days but I can’t think of anything more important the