Two years ago, Aliya Rua, of Seaford, now 17, wanted to start a business after stumbling on FabFitFun — an organization that puts together boxes full of items for women and girls.
Rua, who is home-schooled and proudly pro-life, thought it would be enjoyable to create similar boxes and sell them.
“I thought, ‘Wow, that must be so fun to make and sell,’ but I didn’t want to start a business to raise money for myself,” she said. “So I started looking at what I could raise money for that would change the world for the better.”
“I really wanted to target women with this,” Rua added, “because I feel like women should . . . encourage each other [and] support each other, by supporting a local pro-life center.”
The idea to put items for women and children into a decorated box came to Rua after she saw that FabFitFun was putting “seasonal, girly items” into boxes. “I just decided that it would be more of a craft, and a fun project, rather than just buying shirts to sell,” she said.
Rua’s Life Boxes include products such as perfume, makeup, a stationery note card set and a devotional calendar. Aliya and her mother, Theresa, purchase items for the boxes using proceeds from box sales. Rua sells around 100 boxes per year, at $20 a box, about half of which is profit. She has earned a total of roughly $4,000 since she started selling the boxes.
She decided to raise money for babies and their mothers after taking part in Soundview Pregnancy Services’ annual Walk For Life in the spring of 2016. This year, Soundview — a pro-life center, with offices in East Meadow and Centereach — held its Walk For Life on May 18 at Blydenburg County Park in Smithtown.
Rua said that Soundview, which welcomes women from all walks of life, has postnatal care resources for babies up to 2 years old and their mothers. Julie Fehring, the nonprofit’s director of development, said Soundview’s free services include pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and lay counseling — that is, counseling by individuals not trained or licensed to work as therapists or counselors, according to the Counselor’s Guide website.
The organization screens for human trafficking, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol addiction, and refers patients to organizations within its medical and community database. It also offer classes parenting and baby safety classes, and literature and animated videos on parenting, adoption and abortion. “If a woman chooses abortion, we always welcome her back to join our post-abortion recovery class,” Fehring said. She added that women can have a career, be educated and still have babies.
“She’s an amazing girl,” Fehring said of Rua. “I just love her tenacity and creativity,” she said.
Other options for expectant mothers include Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, which offers a full range of reproductive health care counseling, including information on abortion, according to Planned Parenthood of Nassau County Brand and Marketing Manager Julianna Claase.
Every patient whose pregnancy has been confirmed will learn about adoption referrals, if they want to have the baby but do not yet feel ready to be a parent, she said. Abortion services are available if they wish to terminate the pregnancy, as well as prenatal care if they do want to continue with the pregnancy.
“It’s important for our patients to know that no matter what choice they make or what road they decide to travel, they are not alone in their journey,” Claase wrote in an email.