Ever thought about going vegan, even just for a short period of time to try it out? Or are you already vegan but would love to help newbies get their start? Well, if you live in the Philadelphia area, now’s your chance!
The Peace Advocacy Network (PAN) is about to start another round of their vegan pledge, a super supportive program that guides participants through 30 days of living a vegan life. Every participant is paired up with their very own personal experienced vegan mentor for ongoing advice, recommendations, and assistance. The support they receive also includes weekly meetings with cooking demonstrations and more, as well as optional social events. Plus, they’ll receive an incredible care package at the start of the program.
Want to know the best part? It’s completely free!
I had the opportunity to talk with Leila Vaughan, one of the founders of PAN and their current president, who’s responsible for organizing the initial vegan pledge program in the US based on a model being used by an organization in the UK.
Rachel: How long has the PAN vegan pledge been happening, and how long has it been in Philadelphia?
Leila: The first vegan pledge that I organized was in Philadelphia in 2010, just before PAN was officially formed. I worked with the help of one of the UK organizers to establish it, and after a successful 2010 program, we formed PAN and began working with volunteers in other locations to either help them form their own, separate vegan pledge equivalent or, more commonly, to run a vegan pledge program as PAN volunteers.
Rachel: What is required of participants taking the PAN vegan pledge?
Leila: Participants must commit to being vegan for 30 days. We also ask that they attend a minimum of three meetings. Perfect attendance is ideal because the meetings provide a lot of valuable resources.
Rachel: How many people typically take the pledge?
Leila: We started with 30 participants in 2010. Every location has the ability to set their goal, and they typically range from 15 to 30. Last year we exceeded our goal of 30, so this year we set a higher goal of 40. It is already looking like we might exceed that goal too!
Rachel: What do you have planned for this year?
Leila: This year’s actual program will be similar to last year. One new speaker we added last year was Sebastian McJetters, who spoke broadly about the intersections of oppression. It resonated really well and we are doing our best to include that for as many programs as possible. The difference this year is that he moved to Prague and so we have to bring him back specifically to speak at our Philly, Charlotte, and NYC programs.
We are also having a special event after the end of the pledge, which is a volunteer appreciation event. As an all volunteer organization, our reliable volunteers are our most valuable asset. All of our mentors and other volunteers will be invited to this.
Rachel: Do you have any favorite success stories from previous years?
Leila: My favorite long-term growth story is of Jeesely Soto. In 2011, her husband, Edwin, took the vegan pledge in Phoenixville, PA and she was generally annoyed by it. The following year, she herself took the pledge. By 2013 she was a mentor, and by 2015 she was organizing the Phoenixville program with another pledge graduate. Now she is on PAN’s board of directors and is also organizing Phoenixville VegFest.
Rachel: If someone wants to sign up to take the pledge or to be a mentor, what is the deadline?
Leila: The sooner the better, but I’ll even take a pledge sign-up the morning of July 9. I would like mentors to commit by July 3, ideally. If I get mentor sign-ups after that, I may not be able to utilize them as mentors because at some point (in advance of the first meeting) I need to match participants with their mentors.
Rachel: Is there anything else you’d like people to know?
Leila: We are working on a South Philadelphia (Point Breeze) program for the fall and expect to hold our Main Line pledge again in winter 2017. We are also working toward a southern NJ pledge for 2017. We are always looking to expand across the country, so vegans in other areas who are interested in running a program with us are invited to contact me at Leila@peaceadvocacynetwork.org.
SIGN UP FOR PAN’S VEGAN PLEDGE
Want to take the 30 day pledge? Sign up here!
Already vegan? Be a mentor!
Not in Philly? There’s probably a PAN vegan pledge near you!
PAN is a grassroots non-profit organization formed by a small group of animal rights activists in Philadelphia in 2010. They promote a peaceful existence through veganism, social justice, and respect for the earth’s inhabitants and resources. For more information about PAN, please visit www.PeaceAdvocacyNetwork.org.