VEGAN LIVING PROGRAM BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Robin Helfritch Maratos
Vegan Living Program Founding Director, Robin Helfritch Maratos has been vegan for 2 decades and organizing for animals and leading events for the past 15 years. She co-founded and has been a board member of grassroots animal rights non-profit organizations as well as working for national organizations. She's organized animal rights and vegan education campaigns, conferences, festivals, protests and programs on both the grassroots and national levels.
With childhood and early adult roots in local animal rescue, and many years spent campaigning against fur, foie gras, circuses, rodeos and vivisection, Robin now focuses her main efforts on all-encompassing vegan education, community-building and support. She is co-founder of the Vegan Living Program non-profit organization, and it's signature program, which is now in it's 10th year, 6th city, and 20th program. The Vegan Living Program has helped more than 1,300 people go vegan and stay vegan (and planted seeds in countless others) and has facilitated the building and growth of supportive vegan communities.
Robin's work in the Vegan Living Program organization includes coordinating and co-organizing VLPs in current programs' cities and aiding expansion in new cities, giving vegan education presentations, graphic design of printed and online materials, website and social media, advertising, marketing, and serving as the group's President.
In addition, Robin uses her 25-year experience in graphic design to create print and web materials for other animal rights, vegan, environmental, and animal rescue organizations, helping them further their message for animals and the earth in an eye-catching, professional way.
Vegan Living Program Founding Director, Erin Marcus began participating in Washington, DC area animal rights events as a teenager. She led street actions for animals in Baltimore from 2003 to 2017, conducting vegan outreach events and participating in campaigns including Close HLS, KFC Cruelty, and campaigns for fur-bearers and animals used in entertainment. During that time, she also volunteered with labor union UNITE HERE Local 7, human rights organization United Workers, and other social justice groups. In 2011 and 2012, Erin co-organized the Vegtoberfest vegan festival in south Baltimore.
Erin's activist experience also includes co-founding a vegan event venue and food production collective, organizing conferences, nonprofit bookkeeping, developing vegan recipes for foodservice, and writing educational materials for new vegans. She also worked in animal care for seven years. Erin co-organized the Baltimore Vegan Living Program, an education, mentorship, and community-building program for new and aspiring vegans, from the VLP's founding in 2011 through 2017.
In 2016, Erin completed the Changing Our Story Cultural Transformation Course with the Center for Partnership Studies, a cultural change organization rooted in the work of social systems scientist Riane Eisler. Erin counts authors Riane Eisler, Alice Walker, Anna C. Briggs, Jean Houston, Jean Shinoda Bolen and Karen Davis as people whose work has informed and inspired her activism. She credits her rescued canine companion, Endymion, with putting it all in perspective.
Today, Erin is a core member of the Long Island Vegan Living Program organizing team, and she works in conjunction with organizers in other cities to present Vegan Living Programs in their communities.
Demosthenes serves as the Communications Director at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY, where he has been employed since 2009. Demosthenes has worked in the field of environmental and public policy since 1989. He began his career with the Long Island Neighborhood Network, the New York region’s largest and most active environmental advocacy organization. There, in addition to many successful efforts, he campaigned for the two most significant pieces of pesticide legislation in New York State history - the Neighbor Notification of Pesticide Spraying law and the Safe School Grounds law.
With the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College, Demosthenes is part of a team that provides community education and fosters informed debate on key issues related to sustainability. His work also includes integrating concepts of sustainability, environmental ethics, and veganism into the curriculum, operations and culture at Molloy College and the larger Long Island community. He is the Sustainability Institute’s lead organizer of the annual Long Island Vegan Living Program. In addition, he hosts the Sustainability Institute's Sustainable Living Film Series that boasts an entirely vegan menu at each screening, and makes the ethics and environmental benefits of veganism a central focus of each event. He is featured in the 2014 documentary film, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret that is streaming worldwide on Netflix.
Shelly began attending animal rights events in the mid-2000s. She’s participated in vivisection, circus and anti-fur demos organized by local grassroot organizations. She’s donated time to help local animal sanctuaries with cleaning stalls and other labor.
Currently Shelly is focusing on vegan education and support by co-organizing the Syracuse Vegan Living Program. She is also the Volunteer Coordinator for the 2019 Syracuse VegFest. Her passions include her two deaf dogs, Rosalie and Leia, creating vegan dishes to share with family and friends to show how easy and delicious vegan cooking is, nature walks, and renovating her home with her fiancé. She also works at a local credit union and strives to educate low income residents about building solid credit to help achieve their American dreams.
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