A Day in the Life of a Vegan: Meet Mickey

I met Mickey when I started volunteering with HEART in Chicago. I really love what this group does, so here’s a quick shout out. HEART’s mission is to foster compassion and respect for all living beings and the  environment by educating youth and teachers in Humane Education.

Humane education is a field of education that focuses on teaching young people how to use critical thinking and problem solving skills to address problems that are faced by people, animals and the environment.

For more information on HEART, read the About page. HEART is based in New York City with chapters in Chicago and coming soon to Portland. If you would like to volunteer or donate to HEART, click here.

Mickey (on right) with a HEART student.

Name: Mickey Kudia

Age: 25

Where do you live? Chicago

How long have you been vegan? 5 years

Wake up: My alarm went off at 7am, but I hit the snooze and slept for another 15 minutes.

Breakfast: I had a fruit smoothie (a little bit of kale, frozen fruit, a banana, and rice milk), muesli with almond milk and coffee.

Morning activities/work: While I was drinking my coffee, I read for half an hour. Right now, I’m reading Nonprofit Kit for Dummies, but usually I’m reading something for grad school. Then I went to the HEART office a couple blocks away from my apartment. There, I answered emails and prepared for meetings. I met with Leona, another HEART humane education instructor, about a new lesson we’re developing about gender inequality in the developing world. For anyone interested in the topic check out the GirlEffect.org.

Lunch: I didn’t have time to make a lunch today, so I ordered a black bean burger from Heartland Café.

Working on a Project with a Student

Afternoon activities/work: After lunch, I visited an elementary school where HEART will be starting a program beginning in September. It’s our first time working with this school, so I met with the administration and teachers. I explained our program and answered questions they had about HEART. Then I went to a coffee shop to work on an assignment for grad school. I’m in a masters of education program that is a partnership between Valparaiso University and the Institute for Humane Education. It’s the only program of its kind that focuses on humane education. After that, I came home, watched Star Trek: Next Generation and made dinner with my girlfriend.

Dinner: Couscous with garlic, zucchini and yellow squash. For desert, I had soy pudding (the brand with the panda on it).

Activities: I watched another episode of Star Trek and went to sleep.

Lights out: 11pm

Favorite Cause/Current Project: I’m a strong proponent of humane education. Humane education is a field of education that focuses on teaching young people how to use critical thinking and problem solving skills to address problems that are faced by people, animals and the environment. At HEART we travel to schools throughout Chicago to teach students about issues such as factory farming, dog and cat homelessness, child labor, sweatshops, climate change and pollution. We then have the students pick an issue they think is a problem in their community and create a project to address it.

For example, at one school, students wanted to do something about the rash of homophobic bullying that had sadly resulted in several young people across the country taking their own lives. With the help of HEART, students organized an anti-homophobia assembly for the school. The students wrote and presented original poetry, a short self-produced film and skits. They also held a student-led panel discussion that included a state representative and circuit court judge. Other projects we’ve done have included environmental family nights, beach cleanups, assemblies on gang violence and racism, and fundraisers for local animal shelters. Nothing is more thrilling than seeing young people get passionate about making the world a better place!

Favorite animal or vegan book? Slaughterhouse by Gail A. Eisnitz. It’s an excellent piece of investigative journalism and clearly demonstrates how the meat industry has little regard for the well-being of animals or workers.

Favorite animal or vegan movie? Project Nim: It’s a documentary about a chimpanzee who was taken from his mother at birth and raised like a human child as part of an experiment. It’s an excellent look at the ethics of animal experimentation.

What’s the best part of being vegan? Knowing that I’m making the world a better place one meal at a time.

What do you want people to know about living vegan? It is the best decision I have ever made and it’s easier to do than you think.