Updated: Dec 11, 2020
Thank you for being a part of our support network and for your belief in our vision! We're humbled by and grateful for the encouragement we've received since we launched VSA just a few short months ago.
I’d like to share our story. How did Veg Student Alliance come into being?
Five years ago, I was happily teaching middle school English language learners. I’ve always loved kids and woke up every morning excited to start the day despite some chronic health issues that had been bothering me since I was a teen.
High School Cancer
When I was a junior in high school, I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and my colon was removed. Ever since, my health has been tenuous.
Over the years, pain, cramping, bloating, and periodic bowel obstructions led to a total hysterectomy at age 29 and a cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) at age 31 . . . and to even further health issues. Migraines, neuropathy, balance issues, trouble speaking, shortness of breath, weakness, memory issues all impeded my ability to teach and ultimately led to the incredibly difficult decision to leave the classroom in July of 2016.
Additional Health Issues
After numerous visits to specialists, with unclear diagnoses (dermatomyositis, possibly lupus), I finally decided to take ownership of my health and seek out my own remedies. I researched and read and traced my health history right back to my pediatrician’s notes.
Along the way, I discovered how incredibly common lactose intolerance is (with 65% of adults globally affected) and how gluten sensitivities are on the rise due to the overuse of glyphosate (Roundup). I learned about the benefits of eating whole plant foods and limiting or completely eliminating animal products. I discovered yoga and meditation and letting go.
And I also learned about the industrialization of our food system - how cows, chickens, pigs, turkeys, and other "livestock" are raised in confined spaces and killed within weeks or months of birth. I was shocked by pictures of CAFOs and waste lagoons, and by the negative environmental and health impacts of having so many animals consuming water, eating crops, urinating, and defecating.
As I slowly healed my body with a cleaner, plant-based diet, I became more and more interested in how to share the plant-based message with others. And, as I am and will always be a teacher at heart, I specifically wanted to find a way to blend my passion for teaching teens with my newfound passion for championing a more compassionate, healthful, and environmentally-friendly food system.
VSA is Born!
VSA was born out of a whisper in the corner of my mind and a conversation with a dear friend and veteran high school teacher who had recently lost her beloved dog, Daisy. Teens are at the forefront of social justice right now, and more and more millennials and xennials identify as vegan or vegetarian. Why not give them a place where they can meet, share their passion, and learn leadership skills to spread the word of the importance of moving toward a more plant-forward diet?
So, in July, we began the journey of getting Veg Student Alliance off the ground and into the world!
We have built a curriculum and a dedicated Board of Directors. We are a registered New Hampshire charity and are in the process of recruiting teens for our pilot program.
If you know of any student between the ages of 13 and 18 who might be interested in joining us, please share our information with them.
Teens from anywhere in the United States and Canada are welcome to join!
We are hosting Open Houses for Teens and Their Families and for Community Members weekly throughout November. Our first teen session will be held on December 2nd at 6:00 PM ET. To register for an Open House or for the Program, click on the Events section on our website.
Your financial help in getting up and running, and in supporting the program is greatly appreciated. We are accepting donations and would humbly and gratefully appreciate your support.
If you are unable to donate during these uncertain times, please consider sharing our social media posts and spreading the word about VSA! We're thankful for any and all support.
Together, we can turn this whisper into a rallying cry for a brighter future.
With Sincere Gratitude,