The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

How to Do a Vegan Class at a Girls Inc.

Posted on June 17, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Ivy Grob

Outreach is crucial to any cause that is seeking to share their information. One outlet of activism is teaching a class on veganism at a local branch of a Girls Inc. I chose Girls Inc. after participating in numerous previous volunteering experiences, but this experience can be re-created at any other after school programs such as the Boys and Girls Club, or any other local programs you might have around town. Talking to people about veganism can be done in a number of different ways, some of which will focus on the positive and some of which are not appropriate for kids. It’s important throughout this endeavor that you make the class fun and friendly so as to make the subject easily approachable. This class is a way to educate about veganism, not to force veganism on the young population. I personally believe this method is more productive in any age group.

The first step to starting this project is to contact the coordinator of the center and obtain permission. The coordinator may want to meet ahead of time for a security clearance or to read over any materials you want to present, so make sure to contact in advance and be very cooperative. Be sure to ask the coordinator what age group you will be assigned so you can decide what forms of communication will be best. I was assigned a group of fourth grade girls (ages 8-9) and I found an open discussion with handouts was fruitful. If you are assigned a younger group, you can utilize coloring books as an accompaniment to the lesson. After working with kids, I’ve found that any time you can incorporate an arts and crafts project into the lesson, the lesson will be more fun. If the group is too old for coloring books, try origami or paper mache if you have the time and space within the classroom. I unfortunately did not plan an art project within my lesson but I wished I would have, plus my class was around 45 minutes long. This may be an idea for those who wish to teach multiple classes with the same group.

Once the class was ready to begin, I started by introducing myself and explaining what being a vegetarian means and what being a vegan means by saying what a vegetarian eats and how this goes a step further with veganism. Go beyond this and explain what this means for you and how veganism plays a role in your life. Sincerity is important anytime you interact with kids. Many of the kids I spoke to knew what vegetarianism was, but did not know about veganism and were very apprehensive to the idea of not consuming any dairy. I heard lots of remarks such as, “I could never be a vegetarian,” “I am a carnivore and I could never give up meat,” “my parents would never let me do that.” It’s discouraging to hear these remarks come from kids, but just be aware that you may hear them too. Explain to them that many people live this way already and they could have classmates and friends that are vegetarian and vegan. The kids may change their minds and express that they would like to try veganism after they have tasted vegan foods.

One of the best ways to make veganism accessible is to have samples of food prepared to take with you. It shows people how delicious the food really can be. For this particular class, it’s better to focus on kid-friendly food than to go all out on the fancy five-star vegan cuisine with a name that a kid won’t be able to pronounce. My original samples were red velvet cupcakes with buttercream frosting and a baked barbeque tofu dish. As expected, the cupcakes were delicious and well received from the girls. The tofu, on the other hand, didn’t go too well (I think due to the unfamiliarity of the texture). For your class try these recipes instead:

Vegan Mac and No-Cheese with Zucchini “Cream” Sauce by Debra Daniels-Zeller

• 4 cups washed, peeled, and roughly chopped zucchini
• 5-7 quarts salted boiling water
• One 12-ounce package your favorite pasta
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed
• Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
• Sea salt to taste
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (optional)
• 1/2-1 cup toasted bread crumbs

Add the zucchini to a large pot of salted boiling water and reduce the heat. When the zucchini is very tender, scoop it out, place in a strainer, and drain. Save the water. Using the back of a spoon, press the zucchini to squeeze as much water as you can from it. Save the liquid.

Pour the zucchini water into the pot of water and bring it to a boil again. Add pasta and cook until al dente (tender but firm). While the pasta cooks, place the zucchini in a food processor with garlic and pepper. Process the mixture until very smooth. Season to taste with salt. Stir in chopped basil, if desired.

Place the pasta in a serving bowl and toss with the zucchini sauce. Top each serving with toasted bread crumbs.

One Bowl Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes by Minimalist Baker

If possible, you can also provide a selection of samples that would be considered snack food such as hummus and an assortment of fresh vegetables or cut fresh fruit (with variety of options that some people may have never tried such as kiwi or mango.

While the class is eating, take the opportunity to talk to them about the ingredients of the samples. For example, tell them that the cupcakes they ate did not have eggs or butter made from animals and that the foods they eat have an impact on other things besides just them. Veganism contributes to a healthy environment, healthy animals, and a healthy diet. Encourage the kids to ask any questions they may have but don’t worry if you can’t answer some of them (kids ask some crazy things!). Encourage them to talk to their parents about what they learned today as well and provide handouts with the recipes that they can take home to share. I thoroughly enjoyed this expression of education Have some fun and you can too!

To view a selection of pamphlets and coloring books created by The Vegetarian Resource Group, please visit To request literature, please contact via phone: (410) 366-8343; email:; mail: VRG, P.O. Box 1463 Baltimore, MD 21203; or fax: (410) 366-8804. For lesson plans, see

Ivy wrote this article while doing an internship with The Vegetarian Resource Group.

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