Shani Stewart has been volunteering with The Vegetarian Resource Group since October 2014 and was drawn to the organization because she believes it is important to spread the word about vegetarianism and veganism. She works on the Restaurant Guide at, which lists vegan and vegetarian restaurants by state throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as VRG's national email monthly newsletter.

Shani was inspired to go vegetarian because of her appreciation for nature and all living things, and the realization that animals have and exhibit the same emotions as humans. She was greatly affected by videos of slaughterhouses and realized that she had always felt uncomfortable eating meat. Once she made the switch, she found that eating veggies, fruits, beans, and nuts was not only healthier (she lost 50 pounds!) but easier, too. She learned to make substitutions and meet her needs with foods like cauliflower, nuts, and beans. "I believe that others should go veg not only to improve their health, but for the humanity in it all."

Shani now encourages others to try going vegetarian. "Remember that you can be creative. You don't have to eat the same mundane garden salads every day. There are options that taste the same as meat with the same textures, or better...There's also plenty of support online, in your community...and several wonderful programs, events, and scholarships that VRG has that are beneficial to everyone."

To volunteer with The Vegetarian Resource Group, please email


Anna Balfanz came to VRG to fulfill a high school internship requirement. She made the most of her time and worked on interesting and important projects: researching prisoners' right to vegetarian food and a teen FAQ responding to religious questions about vegetarianism. She also wrote a restaurant review about vegan options at a local restaurant, a book review of Carol Adams' Eco Feminism, product reviews, and an article about vegan b'nai mitzvahs. She particularly enjoyed responding to the many scholarship applications VRG receives. "Having just suffered through the excruciating process of college applications and essays, I suddenly found myself on the other side," she said. "The office may have been glad when we finished, but I missed reading them!"

Anna has been vegetarian for her entire life. At first, this was a result of being raised by vegetarian parents, but now she considers it her choice, and an educated and informed decision. She encourages others to not just accept what they're given, to be caring, and to use critical thinking. "I'm really glad I'm vegetarian and I want to be vegan," Anna said. "I've always been passionate about animal rights, but now I want to be more involved."

If you'd like to intern at VRG like Anna, email "What I really liked about the internship is that it is educational and doesn't just show one side of the issue. It's about giving information, which actually is on our side, so we're getting it out there," Anna said. "VRG is very friendly to interns and volunteers and very accessible to high schoolers."