My name is Kristen Marie Wayne and I’m a Junior at the University of South Florida majoring in American Sign Language Interpreting. I am also the Public Relations Chair for the Students for Life club here at USF. This fall, I had the incredible opportunity to help a mother choose life and walk with her through the journey.
For years, I have been passionate about being a pro-life advocate. Enrolling at USF and becoming a Bull has only made that passion grow. My mission is to educate women across the country that there are more options available to them besides abortion. It is also my mission to abolish abortion altogether. Joining the Students for Life group on campus at USF has only made this dream grow.
An Unexpected Encounter and a Mother in Need Helped
Earlier this semester, after USF’s first Students for Life meeting of the year, I stopped by a Publix grocery store nearby to pick up some groceries before heading home. Outside the entrance of the grocery store was a beautiful pregnant woman named Shanika (also goes by Neka) asking shoppers for money and food. I had no cash on hand, but I told her I would come right back out.
I got $20 cash back from my purchase and gave it to her. The look on her face was priceless; I could tell she wasn’t expecting that amount. I proceeded to ask her about her baby. She was unsure what she wanted to do. I then proceeded to introduce myself, explained how I’m involved with Students for Life at USF, and how my group could help her with whatever she needed. Because I just left a Students for Life meeting, I had a lot of new resources and cards from my SFLA Regional Coordinator, Andy Secola.
I gave Shanika one of each of the cards I collected from that night. She was overwhelmed with joy. Shanika then asked me about the resources. She wanted to confirm that the organizations and helplines wouldn’t shame her for being pregnant and would help her. I happily said, “Yes! These resources will provide you with housing, food, clothes, transportation…. whatever you need, they will help you.”
These cards were from Students for life of America. Her reaction is just a small example of how the abortion industry has lied to so many people, making pro-life advocates out to be mean, judgmental people when I know us to be quite the opposite. Seeing that realization firsthand broke my heart and made me want to give this beautiful woman anything I could. She showed me what her Facebook account was so I could reach out to her, though she did not respond to message requests.
Running into Shanika Again
About a week passed and, to my surprise, I saw Shanika again – this time, at a gas station. I approached and gave her an update on how the group was so inspired by her bravery. She gave me her phone number in another attempt to keep in touch.
Shanika has since informed me that she is CHOOSING LIFE! Our Students for Life group is hosting a baby shower for her and has already raised over $400 for her.
This experience has taught me to give everything I have to Jesus and give thanks for it all. Being Catholic, this foundation is very important to me. If it were not for Christ, I may have never been able to attend USF, be a part of these amazing organizations, meet Shanika, and help her embrace her child. I am so thankful for these opportunities to reach out and minister to women and children across the nation who need to be seen, known, and loved by those around them.