by Institute for Humane Education
Kristy Draper is a writer, photographer, humane educator, solutionary lifestyle coach, and vegan cooking coach. She earned a Master of Arts in Humane Education through IHE’s graduate program in 2018. She lives in Vancouver, Washington, with her husband, three rescued companion cats, and a feisty rescued guinea pig.
We asked Kristy to share about her work for a better world.
IHE: What led you to the path of humane education?
KD: My grandmother planted the humane education seed within me at a very young age by teaching me always to leave everything better than I found it.
Then, it was 2014, and I was searching online for jobs and careers that would benefit animals. I came across the IHE website and knew the graduate program and path was what I had been seeking. The funny thing was, unbeknownst to me, my husband was searching for similar careers and happened upon the IHE graduate program at the same time. We started and went through the program together — both of us graduating in 2018.
IHE: For your graduate thesis you decided to launch your VegfulLife website offering conscious living tips and resources. Tell us about that.
KD: I actually started VegfulLife as a practicum project, using it to gain a better understanding of activism through blogging and social media. I further expanded VegfulLife for my thesis to include a blogged book entitled A Practical Guide to Conscious Living.
Mindfulness and conscious living techniques have become a passion of mine over the past few years. Because of the IHE program, I became more aware of how our daily actions impact our culture, human rights issues, the mentality and treatment of nonhuman animals, as well as our impact on the environment. I had so many “a-ha” moments throughout the program and wanted to share both my story and how simple changes can lead to improving our world. The book is broken down into different topics, and each topic has its own set of conscious living tips.
IHE: You also have started a solutionary coaching businesses. What made you decide to do that, and what has been most memorable so far?
KD: The solutionary coaching business started as vegan lifestyle coaching but morphed in solutionary lifestyle coaching. In 2016, I earned a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator certificate from the Main Street Vegan Academy in New York. I started the coaching business shortly after attending MSVA, but as I grew more into a solutionary role, I realized I needed to slightly alter my coaching sessions to broaden the topics beyond just veganism. The sessions not only cover food, but they also go into detail about our daily actions and thinking in general, which circles back to my thesis and conscious living tips.
IHE: What have been the biggest challenges in launching your solutionary business, and what has helped you overcome those challenges?
KD: The biggest hurdle has been marketing and getting my business out to the public. Being flexible with the services and sessions that I offer has been vital. I want individuals, families, and businesses to get the most out of our meetings and leave feeling empowered that they can make a difference – in their own lives and in the lives of our fellow humans and nonhuman animals — and help create a prosperous environment for generations to come.
IHE: And it’s clear from your website that you love to cook. Has that always been so? And what led you to get professional certification as a plant-based cook?
KD: I have always enjoyed being the kitchen. My brother and I used to have baking competitions each Christmas, and our family would decide on the best dessert. I even went to pastry school and opened a home-based baking business in my early 20s. I rediscovered my love for cooking and baking after I transitioned to a vegan lifestyle in 2014. I felt as though a whole new world of flavors and ingredients opened up to me, and I wanted to explore more. I completed the Professional Plant-Based Culinary Certification and the Essential Vegan Desserts through Rouxbe Cooking School. For me, the kitchen is my playground.
IHE: What are your future plans for your humane education work?
KD: I have plans to grow VegfulLife and the solutionary coaching business. I will also continue to blog and write for various outlets, as well as collaborate with other humane educators and activists. My husband also owns a social business, Solutionary Running, and he and I have plans to work together on both our individual businesses and form a joint endeavor.
IHE: What would you say to others interested in IHE’s graduate programs?
KD: Don’t wait to start! The program will change your life, and create many possibilities and opportunities. The Master of Arts program encouraged me to find and use my passions to educate in ways I never thought were possible or considered in the past. It also helped me discover new ways of thinking and living. Plus, you will make lifelong friends and join a community of amazing individuals.
IHE: What gives you hope for the future of our world?
KD: Seeing the good that humane educators and solutionaries do each day gives me hope. I see individuals and groups taking notice of injustices in both their local communities and on a global level, and are coming together to find ways and create solutions to improve our world.
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