Guest post by Celeste Hill, organizer of Vegkins
Way back before Vegkins came into existence, my husband and I lost touch with the vegan community. There was no Facebook back then. Hard to imagine I know.
Once our son was born, we became cognizant of this missing part of our life. Having children has a way of bringing your beliefs, whatever they may be, into sharp focus. Thus began our search for fellow vegan parents.
After meeting a few local vegan families like the one from These Little Piggies Have Tofu, we were lucky enough to run into Dallas Rising from the Animal Rights Coalition (ARC). She was collecting names to start a vegan/vegetarian family group. We were simply ecstatic. It is all history from there.
As a parent, I've found it endlessly helpful to provide my children with a supportive vegan/vegetarian family community. What kid wouldn't enjoy a vegan Halloween party or a waffle party?
What you can't see on a web site or fan page are the friendships which have blossomed from ARC's Vegkins. Many families attend each other's birthday parties and get together socially outside of Vegkins.
Frankly I can't tell you how much it means to our kids to interact with vegan peers. The supportive nature of the group has been amazing. We share advice on handling difficult situations, school activities, as well as recommend books and movies to each other.
Each year, more families join our group and find that niche they've been seeking. It is an integral part of helping our children maintain their veg lifestyle, as well as normalize it. They know other kids out there who are thriving, as they are too.
Lastly, I'll end with a book recommendation, which my young kids love. It is called Happy, Healthy, Vegan Kids. There are beautiful pictures of rescued farm animals living happy and peaceful lives at sanctuaries. My kids are apt listeners when we read this story. It also contains some simple veg recipes. We appreciate the focus on positive pictures since the kids are still young.
Editor’s Note: As Celeste mentions above, it is really important for vegetarian, and especially vegan parents to meet other parents who are also raising veg kids. You can learn so much from eachother, and kids can meet and play with other kids who share a similar core value. Check your local community to see if a veg group already exists (if you live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, join Vegkins, and if you live in the NYC area, join NYC Vegetarian and Vegan Families Meetup) and if not, start your own! Make flyers, run an ad in the newspaper, coordinate it through your child’s school or day care center, or approach a local veg restaurant for help getting the word out. Read my “Start a Group For Vegan Parents and Kids In Your City” blog post on Girlie Girl Army for some inspiration.
Celeste Hill has been vegan for more than a decade and is the proud mother of two vegan kids, as well as an assistant early childhood family education teacher. She has a serious cookbook collection addiction, in fact she won the VegNews Holiday Cookie contest, so definitely check out some of the recipes on her website, Growing Up Veg--a wonderful resource for vegan parents.