The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog


Posted on May 17, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


By Hana Takemoto

My time at The Vegetarian Resource Group has been life-changing. Coming from a Japanese family in which little thought was given towards meat and fish-centric meals and where my views on animal rights and eating habits have been grudgingly permitted, an environment like VRG where people, including fellow interns, spend their days working towards educating and helping people maintain a vegan lifestyle has been incredibly refreshing, unique, and educational. Before coming to VRG, I had never met another vegan, and now, I have a long list of contacts to get in touch with after my internship if I am in need of any advice about veganism.

I’ve been a high school intern for VRG since the beginning of the school year, and as part of Atholton High School’s Gifted and Talented Intern/Mentor class, I’ve spent an average of four hours a week as an intern for VRG. Since starting, I’ve been lucky to try and review all sorts of different vegan foods, from seaweed and seitan to Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy ice cream. I’ve also added updates to VRG’s online restaurant guide and reviewed restaurants that I’ve visited, such as Blind Faith Cafe in Evanston, Illinois. Along the way, I’ve attended events including the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore and the Benefit Day at Great Sage in Clarksville, Maryland, places that have offered me opportunities to meet other people interested in veganism and to explore new areas of interest. In addition, with the help of everyone at VRG, I’ve been working on investigating the benefits and feasibility of offering vegan food options on Atholton High School’s lunch menu, a project that has involved learning about Federal guidelines, interviewing food service staff, and distributing surveys. More recently, I’ve also had the opportunity to read essays that high school students submitted for VRG’s High School Senior Scholarship Contest, an inspiring and uplifting task that I hope I can continue for the years following the end of my internship here at VRG.
Since coming to this internship, I can always appreciate the efforts VRG co-directors Charles and Debra have taken to assign me projects that are engaging and suitable to my interests, an accommodation that is unique for internships. Sure, it would be easy to search “how to be vegan” into an internet search bar, but nothing can come close to spending a school year at an internship where I am surrounded by people who have given me a great experience by doing what they do best: helping through education. As my time at VRG is nearing a close, I can say with confidence that VRG has imparted to me lasting lessons about hard work, dedication, and passion in the name of veganism.

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