One of Jairo’s references stated that, “Jairo has been a vegetarian in a community where vegetarianism is rare and not easy. Throughout his school career he has attended a number of PETA protests and has volunteered with Mercy for Animals. I have never met a high school student so dedicated to the rights of others (humans and nonhumans).” Other references reported, “Jairo is the most environmentally aware and animal conscious high school student that I know.” “He has been an active member of buildOn Leadership Team, also know as b.L.T. His peers jokingly called it bacon, lettuce, and tomato club, but Jairo refused and insisted that its official nickname be the broccoli, lettuce and tomato club. To my surprise, the entire group voted in his favor.”
Jairo wrote: “I live in a Mexican/Latino based community. Some find it surprising because the Mexican culture is full of spices and meat … I ran an after school club called Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animals my freshman year. We made sure to be recognized in school by requesting a veggie burger for our lunch menu. We talked to the lunch personnel until we got it established. I have also been a major part in my school’s community garden.” Jairo helped with the setup of the garden and became the Garden Team’s student president. He stated, “I teach people how easy it is to get a decent snack and meal out of the garden. My biggest success is my delicious ceviche, in comparison to its counterpart. Everyone loves it and are surprised that is vegan.”
Jairo says he has attended various protests and proudly led protests himself with students from his animal rights club. At first, “No one believed that I was an activist because I was a quiet kid in school.”
“I made a decision to major in business management in college. With a bachelors degree in business, I will know the ins and outs of owning a business and open my very own vegan restaurant. It will be named El Vegan. With this alone I will show the mouth watering food that is offered and therefore contribute to my community, with a healthier outlook. I am Latino. I am vegetarian. I am a fighter, and I am an achiever. I set goals for myself and with my commitment and determination, I do as much possible to get them done. I love community service. I like knowing that I have an input in the structure of my community. The more people see how we can help each other out, the less violent our streets will be. The path to equality and peace is through service and understanding.”
To apply for the 2016 Vegetarian Resource Group college scholarships, go to: https://www.vrg.org/student/scholar.htm
To financially support additional scholarships or internships, you can donate at www.vrg.org/donate; The Vegetarian Resource Group, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203; or call (410) 366-8343.