Karen is new to PHL and hopes to bring her 35 years of sales and marketing experience to her new role of Executive Director. She believes in the mission and is passionate about reaching our youth through education. Knowledge is power and can transform lives. She hopes that one day, all will respect life at every stage. Prior to joining PHL, Karen owned her own Sports Marketing business and enjoyed many years working with radio and television around Philly sports. Karen is a member of Regnum Christi Philadelphia, Walking with Purpose and St. Matthew’s Parish in Conshohocken. She and her daughter enjoy many activities but most especially swimming and the beach
Mary Ellen Devlin
Mary Ellen began her involvement with PHL as a student with LaSalle University’s Pro-Life Committee and went from school presenter to Program Director from 1987 to 1994. After her first child, Mary Ellen stepped down as Director but continued as an education volunteer and working with PHL’s events. She and her family support PHL’s longstanding mission of education as the most permanent means to changing hearts and minds with the truth. She and her husband Robert have four children and reside in Ambler, PA.
Board of Directors Executive Committee
Christopher Pushaw, Esq.
Christopher Purshaw has been proud to serve as President of Pennsylvanians for Human Life for the past seven years. He began as a speaker for PHL when he returned to the Philadelphia area in 2002. He has served on its Board since 2008. Chris has spread the pro-life message not only in area classrooms but also through national publications and programming. He regularly participates in vigils outside Planned Parenthood. He supports pro-life outreach and crisis pregnancy groups throughout the Delaware Valley. Chris currently maintains his own law practice where he serves as outside general counsel to many companies in this area. He holds degrees from Yale Law School, the University of Wisconsin and The Catholic University of America, where he was valedictorian. He is a proud alumnus of Malvern Prep (to which he returned PHL’s message) and is active in its alumni association. He lectors at Saint John Neumann Parish in Bryn Mawr.
Patricia Dorris-Crenny, CPA
Patty has been a member of the PHL board since 1990. She firmly believes in the PHL mission of education regarding the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. She is a graduate of Villanova University and Bishop Eustace Preparatory School. Currently she is an assistant professor of practice in the Accountancy and Information Systems department at Villanova University. She is married and has four wonderful children.
Anita has been a speaker for PHL since 1998…having received her love of the mission of PHL from her mother -Margaret W. Hoffner, a past PHL Board President and tireless, gracefully gentle advocate of the unborn. Anita relocated back to the Phila area (Exton) from Hartford CT in 1996 and, while raising her three young children, enjoyed the challenge and excitement of interacting with students from 6th grade through high school. She returned to a full-time career in civil engineering in 2005 but has maintained space in her schedule to deliver PHL presentations. The beauty and simplicity of the message never fails to inspire her and she enjoys the camaraderie of the volunteer speakers at PHL who give so generously of their time. Anita served as President of the PHL Board of Directors for three years and oversaw the relocation of the PHL office from King of Prussia to our current home in West Chester, PA. Aside from PHL, Anita shares her volunteer time with Kairos Prison ministry, Safe Harbor, Bishop Shanahan High School, West Whiteland Township Planning Commission and SS. Philip and James Parish in her hometown of Exton. She is grateful to her husband, Andy and children Sam, Cara and Will for their unwavering support of her pro-life passion.
Charles has been the treasurer of PHL and a member of the board since 2005 and is committed to advancing the mission of PHL, recognizing the importance of every life. He is an active member of Knights of Columbus and is presently the Grand Knight of Mater Dei Council #4129 in Newtown Square and the Color Corp Commander for the Fr. Kapaun Assembly #3274 in Paoli. He is a long time parishioner and usher at St. Pius X in Broomall. Charlie is a CPA and tax advisor at Siana Carr O’Connor & Lynam LLP. A graduate of Cardinal O’Hara High School, he received his bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s University, earned a J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law (Camden) and an LL.M. (Taxation) from Temple University School of Law.
Dr. Marianne Richie Gordon
Martha Anne Miele
Dr. Denise T. Wilcox
Meet Our Speakers
Peg is a retired Catholic school teacher from Cinnaminson, NJ. She holds her Master’s degree in Spiritual Theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, 2001. She is a volunteer at 1st Way Pregnancy Center, Burlington, NJ. She was married to her husband David for 49 years, who passed away in 2017. She is a mother of five and a grandmother of seven.
Deacon Al Clay
Deacon Alvin Clay has been involved with Pennsylvanians for Human Life for over 30 years. He is a Past President and Board Member and is currently an Advisory Board Member and Classroom Speaker. For the past 20 years, he has served as a Board Member and Treasurer of the National Catholic Bioethics Center. He has been involved in the Pro-Life movement since 1973 as a student at Cardinal O’Hara High School. In 2011, he received PHL’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He is in the financial advisory business, was ordained in 2002 and serves at Immaculate Conception Parish in Jenkintown. He is the father of seven and grandfather of seven and lives with his wife Kathy in Huntingdon Valley.
Diane is a retired special education teacher from the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District. She and her husband, Tom, have three children and five grandchildren. Teaching for PHL is a great joy to Diane because it is an opportunity to offer a message of truth, compassion and love to young people.
A former research-intern at a Washington think-tank, a consultant to the HHS’ Office of Population Affairs, an EMT, and a current student-doctor, Clay has worked (on-and-off) with and for Americans with disabilities for years, and founded an OMR waiver-service provider. Clay is eager to alert GenY that it is wondrous they exist because they share (equally) in beautiful human nature, ineluctable moral duties, which unite them to their equals as fellows, and give them purpose – and destiny – in each other.
Kathy is a wife, mother, grandmother, daily communicant and a member of Our Lady’s Missionaries of the Eucharist. She is a Birthright volunteer and strives to be involved in every aspect of the Pro-Life Movement. She volunteers for PHL because the truth matters and pre-born babies matter. That is why I do what I do.
Clare is grateful for the many opportunities to support human life, education and community. In addition to being on the PHL Board and speaker, she is the Respect Life Leader at St. John Neumann and mentoring task force member with the college of business at Penn State University. With over 30 years of business experience worldwide with GE, Clare understands today’s global and complex marketplace. Today, Clare is chief executive officer of Business Forward Strategies LLC, a consulting firm dedicated to helping companies grow, compete and succeed as well as management of a family business. Clare holds her Masters in Business Administration and a degree in finance from Penn State.
- Harvey Arellano
- Steve Bozza
- Barbara Cassidy
- Alvin Clay
- Kevin Colgan
- Pete DeMaio
- Carla Ezell
- Emme Kealey
- Kathy Myers
- Anita Nardone
- Dave Owsik
- Christopher Pushaw
- Chuck Reimer
- Ania Wojciechowski
Our educational programs are carefully prepared for the level of understanding of the group. We try to connect with each student in a way that is meaningful, thought provoking, and clear about the gift of life that every human being has the right to.
Education is our primary objective. Our presentations are factual without political or religious overtones. We seek to incorporate current news, if possible. The topics by academic year are generally interchangeable and optional. They are given during a 40-50 minute class period.
Middle School / Freshman
Students in middle school and freshmen in high school learn about the amazing 9-month journey of the unborn child with 4D ultrasound images and facts about our development. Ultrasounds, being a ‘Window to the Womb’, allow students to see the baby’s growth with its eyes, ears, nose and toes. This approach makes visible and accessible what, years ago, was not – making learning about our growth from conception more tangible and real. We explore what unfolds at the moment of conception and then throughout the next three stages of life: zygote, embryo and fetus. Students are fascinated to know that their physical, intellectual and personality characteristics were determined at conception. We use Touch of Life Fetal Models that are soft, life-like with exquisite detail for 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 16, 22 and 26 weeks. We include a high-level look at federal and Pennsylvania legislation regarding abortion and the alternatives to an unplanned pregnancy, such as added support available in the community or adoption. We seek to reach the heart of a child with the heart of one in the womb.
Sophomore students review the humanity of the baby developing in the mother, through a high-level summary of key aspects of our growth from conception to birth. We then review the legislation at the federal and state level before turning our attention to why abortions occur. The more common forms of abortion are relayed via the stories of women who have had them; this offers a more reality-based view that can be absorbed by students rather than a clinical or ‘text book’ approach. We discuss the potential after-effects of abortion which may include physical and emotional consequences. Students are attentive and interested in learning about this topic.
In the Junior year, we discuss the ethical dilemma of dealing with end-of-life issues. In order to frame this topic, we revisit therapeutic and eugenic abortions and infanticide. These topics open the pathway to a discussion on assisted suicide and euthanasia and some of the issues that place these options into consideration. We discuss global trends and what we have learned from countries that have legislated for assisted suicide and euthanasia. Finally, we review palliative care, hospice and some high-level steps that many people take to better care for themselves or others to help mange through these end-of-life issues..
Seniors hear from speakers with personal post-abortive testimony as to the choice they made and the consequences that unfolded in their lives. Too often, the abortion choice is made without adequate information and these speakers provide personal testimony as to the effect individuals and the society at large have had to deal with. In the event a post-abortive speaker is unavailable, we are pleased to provide a review and discussion of the topics addressed in the Freshmen, Sophomore and Junior year programs.
“I highly recommend the program presented by the Pennsylvanians for Human Life. Each year, competent presenters come in and share the beauty and respect for the human person from the moment of conception with our upper grade students. Our students actually see models of the growth of a baby from the time of conception and realize how precious a human life is. The teachings of the Church on pro-life and abortion are presented in a very understandable manner for our students. Our students respond so positively to this program. I feel the program is a blessing and a must for every student in the upper grades!
Sister Barbara Montague, IHM, Principal, St. Cyril of Alexandria School
“Pennsylvanians for Human Life is a worthwhile program for middle school age students. It stresses the irreplaceable value and uniqueness of each human life. It explains the current laws in PA and the country regarding abortion. Surrounded by a culture of death in our country, students are offered a beacon of light that focuses on the importance of lie from the very first moments of conception. I highly recommend this program for your middle school aged students.”
Mrs. MaryAnne Aurely, St. Titus School, East Norriton, PA
“The presentation was wonderfully organized – the 7th & 8th grade students were completely captivated as the slides were shown and discussed at an age-appropriate level. Every student commented on how much they enjoyed such an informative and important presentation. I strongly recommend having Pennsylvanians for Human Life representatives visit other schools to share the message.”
Ms. Susan Macrone, Middle School Educator, St. Joseph/St. Robert School
“I thought the presentation was phenomenal! It is so important for all pre-teens and teens to hear the beautiful message of Pennsylvanians for Human Life, as well as the staggering (and shocking) statistics regarding abortion. I couldn’t wait to go home and talk about it with my parents.”
James, 7th grade