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Deirdre (Dalimata) Antene
Client Advocate, Aid for Women
After graduating from Wyoming Catholic College in 2014, I spent ten months volunteering as a live-in, full-time residential assistant at Heather’s House, a residential program for women who are experiencing the reality of an unplanned pregnancy. This was a very rewarding volunteer position, and my days (and nights) were filled with supporting these women in various ways, both during their pregnancies and after their babies came. This support covered a wide range of tasks: babysitting (so that the mothers could work), taking them and their children to doctor appointments, job interviews, and college classes, and assisting them in setting realistic goals, so that they could leave the program with the confidence, skills and stability necessary to support themselves and their children.
In March of 2015, I took a position as a client advocate with Heather’s House’s parent organization, Aid for Women (AfW)—a pro-life, non-profit pregnancy resource center that has six separate locations in Chicago, where they offer free pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, and counseling. At the center of its mission is the intent to change the hearts of women who are actively seeking to procure an abortion. As a client advocate, I counsel women regarding their options, covering the psychological and physical risks of abortion while encouraging them to consider the options of parenting and adoption. And I offer them practical resources to support a life-affirming choice. Countless times, I have seen a woman miraculously change her mind upon seeing her unborn child for the first time (through an ultrasound). I also help women answer the “What next?” questions—where to find insurance, prenatal care and material resources—and invite them back for free courses in parenting skills.
The critical thinking and problem solving skills I learned at Wyoming Catholic College—taught in the classroom and brought to practical application through the Outdoor Leadership Program—give me confidence and determination during moments of setback and discouragement. And the grounding in logic and in oral rhetoric, in particular, give me the ability to have effective conversations with women struggling to make the right decision.
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