Meet the interns: Craig Van Manen

What motivated you to join the pro-life movement? What continues to motivate you?

I’ve been motivated to join the pro-life movement in part by great friends and the sincere staff at CCBR (ie. Pieter Bos & Gerrit Van Dorland)! Kudos to these guys who gently pushed and prodded me to go on the GAP trip this past February. I wouldn’t be anywhere close to even considering a summer internship if it weren’t for their encouragement and infectious passion. The 2017 GAP trip was unlike anything else I’ve experienced. It was uplifting, educational, but most importantly, completely devastating. After visiting the Orlando “Women’s Centre” I was hit hard with the reality that, regardless of my acknowledgement, thousands of babies are being killed every day in North America. Thousands. This is what really and truly motivates me. I know too much. I am no longer comfortable being silent.

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When did you first come into contact with CCBR?

I believe I first heard of abortion via a grade 6 speech. CCBR’s work may have been mentioned then already but for the most part I was informed of the organization as I attended presentations (mostly by Jonathon Van Maren) throughout my high school years.

What made you choose this organization?

My unparalleled and eye-opening experience at GAP in Florida this past February.

If you had to name your greatest challenge in joining the pro-life movement, what would it be?

Staying focused on the lives to be saved (and hearts & minds to be changed) as opposed to the conversations to be ‘won’.

What do you hope you will learn from CCBR this summer?

I hope to learn conversational and oratory skills as well as patience in dealing with people who can be frustrating to speak with. Also, I see this internship as an opportunity to build upon the foundation of my personal beliefs. It’s easy to believe something when surrounded by those of like-mind; it’s another thing to be placed in an antagonist culture which forces the development of worldview. Ultimately, I want to learn how I can save babies most effectively.

What has been your best experience in the pro-life movement so far? Why?

My best experience in the pro-life movement so far involves a testimonial from GAP. One of my very first conversations at the University of Central Florida was with a guy named Matt. I gave him a brochure and, upon realizing his expression, hesitated in beginning my usual line of questioning. He was pro-choice and disgusted. He told me the pictures were “pretty messed up” and I agreed. We talked through some circumstances before he had to go to class. Later that day, I had a fellow GAP volunteer (Katrina Koppert) tell me that Matt had approached her with the same brochure I had given him. He had told her that his conversation with me had changed his mind on abortion and that it was never okay. Just this one example displayed the power of the pro-life argument and the real change it can make in a very clear way to me.

Who in history inspires you to believe you can make a change? Why?

Martin Luther. 95 Theses. Nailed it.

If you were a coloured animal, what would you be?

I would be a Black Panther. Truly majestic creatures don’t ask for attention.

You'll be doing activism outside all summer, so this one's important: ice cream or slushies?

Anything that has Reese’s Pieces or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough in it.