For the eighth year in a row the Vitae Foundation has been awarded a generous grant from the Alphonse J. Schwartze Community Foundation, which will provide an opportunity to spread its message of life to the “Cardinal Nation.”  Vitae will be able to advertise during all 162 games on the St. Louis Cardinals Radio Network, which includes its flagship station KMOX and local affiliate KATI, and 140 other affiliates in nine states.  It is the fifth consecutive year the essay contest for Osage County students has been included as part of the grant.

As a result of receiving the grant, this year the Cardinals are showing a Vitae ad on an in-stadium video board prior to every home game.  This 45 foot by 90 foot full color slide will be rotated with other sponsors, including Fortune 500 companies.

The essay contest is open to Osage County students (8th – 12th grade) who want to take a stand on life issues like abortion, bullying, elderly and child abuse, etc.  The contest is jointly sponsored by the Vitae Foundation and the Alphonse J. Schwartze Community Foundation.  Each student who submits an essay will receive four tickets to Osage County Night at the Ballpark on Wednesday, July 29, when the Cardinals take on the Cincinnati Reds.  The essay contest’s 1st Place Grand Prize winner will throw out a ceremonial first pitch before the 7:15 p.m. game.  The 2nd Place Grand Prize winner will get to visit the Cardinals’ radio booth to meet Mike Shannon. (See flyer for more details.)

“We are excited to co-sponsor Vitae’s Essay Contest on Life Issues for a fifth straight year.  We want every single Osage County student in grades eight through 12 to join in our vision of a future where each life is respected and protected!”  Vitae President Dr. Pat Castle stated.  “We’re bringing back the All-Star Staff Contest, which rewards faculty and staff to encourage their students to participate.”  The principal and teacher of the 1st Place Grand Prize and 2nd Place Grand Prize winners will receive tickets to a luxury suite.  Plus the teacher whose class submits the most essays by percentage will receive suite tickets as well.

In addition to those mentioned above, eligible students also include any 8th – 12th grader attending Osage County R-I (Chamois), Osage County R-II (Linn), Osage County R-III Fatima (Westphalia) and 8th graders attending the following schools in Osage County: St. Joseph Catholic School, Westphalia; Sacred Heart School, Rich Fountain; Immaculate Conception School, Loose Creek; Holy Family School, Freeburg; St. George School, Linn; and St. Mary School, Frankenstein.  It also includes Osage County 8th-12th graders who are homeschooled or attend school outside the county (example: live in Osage County and attend Helias Catholic High School).

Contestants must compose an original hand written or typed essay of 500-1,500 words on any life issues topic. One submission per contestant is allowed, and all contestants must be residents of Osage County.  Essays may be submitted by email to or mailed to Vitae and postmarked by 5 p.m. on June 19, 2015.  All winners will be awarded four box seats tickets to the July 29 Cardinal game.

“We are grateful the Alphonse J. Schwartze Community Foundation sees the value of helping us champion life through Cardinals Radio Network ads and the educational essay writing contest.  Having the involvement of the St. Louis Cardinals is a wonderful way to engage the youth of Osage County and get them excited about life,” Dr. Castle noted.

For more details about the essay contest download flyer here or ask the principal of any participating Osage County school.

Vitae Foundation is a national non-profit organization which uses mass media campaigns to reach women facing unplanned pregnancies.  Vitae pioneered the research that provides a results-driven approach in using media to address the abortion issue.  Vitae’s campaigns in the Central Missouri media market have included billboards, The Add Sheet (with distribution on the MU campus), the Missouri Tiger Network (television commercials helping connect women with MyLife Clinic in Columbia and branding radio ads), website optimization for MyLife Clinic and Pregnancy Help Center of Central Missouri, St. Louis Cardinal Radio Network ads, and Internet ads reaching women with Call-for-Help ads directing them to Vitae’s Your Options website on Google, Bing and Yahoo.

To schedule an interview with Dr. Pat Castle please contact Martha Schieber at 573-634-4316 ext. 206 or via email at