• Victoria Barger

Don't Plants Feel Pain? and Other Challenges Veg Teens Face

What a month it’s been!

January 6th was the first day of our pilot program! It was also a tragic and unprecedented day at the U.S. Capitol. On this difficult day, we found ourselves encouraged by the brilliant young people who joined VSA for our first call.

And tonight, we hosted our fourth VSA meeting.

Our members have found their people. And hearing the students share their stories, questions, and experiences validates our belief that VSA is filling a unique need.

Members shared frustrations at hearing questions such as, “Don’t plants feel pain, too?” and not feeling equipped to respond adequately.

They voiced concern that many of their peers don’t see the connection between climate change and the Standard American Diet.

And even students in the large cities of New York and San Francisco mentioned that they feel like the only veg teen in their community.

If you are a veg adult, then you have also likely heard some of these comments or experienced similar frustrations and can empathize.

VSA provides a safe space for vegan and vegetarian teens to meet, get to know each other, and share their experiences and hope with each other. Through conversations, they offer their knowledge, wisdom, passion, and talent to cultivate a more compassionate, accepting, supportive, and sustainable future.

Here’s quick recap of the month:

Eight students from four states have joined us for the meetings.

Our first guest speaker visited us last week and shared her form of activism - educating others about veg nutrition. Thank you, Debbie Fong, RD! If you aren’t familiar with Debbie’s work, she volunteers with Challenge22 and has been a guest presenter for the Canadian Liver Foundation and University Health Network.

We explored communication tips from Earthling Ed, learning to effectively advocate for ourselves and our beliefs in a respectful and compassionate manner. Although Ed Winters is a vegan advocate, his philosophy of respectful dialogue and active listening is applicable in a wide variety of situations where we find ourselves conversing with someone who holds an opposing viewpoint.

The students started exploring the kind of influence they want to have in the world and will begin planning an initiative (educational outreach activity) to help spread the word about veg living. These initiatives will be shaped entirely by their own passions and vision for the change they see as most pressing and urgent.

In February, they will plan and carry out their initiatives and enjoy a cooking demo from Toronto-based vegan chef and caterer, Kelly Kerr.

Your support is helping these pioneering students to achieve their goals.

As a startup, we have numerous program expenses and operating costs such as purchasing ingredients for our cooking demo, program development, web hosting, insurance, to name just a few.

Currently, we are staffed with volunteers (myself included), so any funds that you are willing and able to spare would be greatly appreciated.

Our goal is to continue to host the program throughout the year, and to attract additional members from the United States and Canada.

But, we need your help in achieving this mission.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to VSA. Recurring monthly donations, even of small amounts, are especially helpful as we work to become a sustainable program to support young veg leaders.

And if a financial donation is not possible right now, please follow us on Instagram, share our Facebook posts, and blog entries.

We are so grateful for your support and belief in our vision. And we look forward to continuing to grow, learn, and expand our outreach to connect and support even more veg teens.

With your help, anything is possible.

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