My journey into humane education started out as a social experiment of sorts. I thought that by adopting a vegetarian lifestyle my chances of attracting the opposite sex would increase exponentially. Though my motives were not the most noble of reasons, it was the impetus that would years later bring me to the Institute for Humane Education (IHE).

After college – and a failed social experiment – it occurred to me that perhaps vegetarianism could be more than just about attracting the opposite sex. Within a year, I went vegan, knowing full well that I was potentially castrating myself from all social circles, including the opposite sex. However, the transition was so invigorating that I craved to learn more. I wanted to live a more compassionate lifestyle, but with so many issues and so many problems I felt helpless. Mostly, I needed to know that there were other people who shared a similar desire in the world. When I was introduced to the Institute for Humane Education, I knew I had found what I had been looking for: a resource for personal and social growth. IHE gave me the opportunity to explore new concepts in an environment that encouraged creative expression.  By the time I had finished the M.Ed. program, I had a better sense of who I was and the person I wanted to become.

For years I had thought about entering the school system but was always deterred by a feeling that I was neither an “expert” in any field, nor that any field was valid enough to keep youth confined in a classroom. After my graduation from IHE, I began to rethink the role I wanted to play in affecting the youth of today. Although I am still not an “expert” in any field, nor will I ever be, I feel that humane education is not only valid in the classroom, but pivotal in creating a more humane world. And today I take that message into the classroom. As the Humane Educator for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, I talk to students about our perceptions of animals and how we can live more compassionately towards them, each other, and the earth. Had it not been for the Institute for Humane Education – and a social experiment gone wrong – I would not have had this wonderful opportunity.