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June 1st - 29th, 2024
Saturdays 2:00-5:00pm
Held at Molloy University Rockville Centre, 1000 Hempstead Ave, Rockville Centre, NY 11570
and Skylands Animal Sanctuary & Rescue, 50 Compton Rd, Wantage, NJ 07461

Registration is OPEN for the 2024 Long Island Vegan Living Program! The Vegan Living Program (VLP) is our signature series of educational and community-building events for new and aspiring vegans. The Long Island VLP is co-presented with the Sustainability Institute at Molloy University.

Want to go vegan, but need some help and support? Be a Vegan Pledge in the Long Island Vegan Living Program! The Vegan Living Program (VLP) is a FREE educational program that covers the hows and whys of living vegan, including the ethical and environmental considerations of veganism, vegan nutrition, cooking, meal planning, and living vegan in a not-yet-vegan world. Participants pledge to live vegan for the duration of the program, with the help of volunteer Vegan Coaches and our weekly educational sessions. Pledges receive a binder full of resources and recipes, a VLP tote bag, and some freebies to make the transition easier and more fun!

It’s clear that more and more of us are interested in addressing animal exploitation, tackling climate change, and improving our own health. In fact, according to search engine giant Google, the search interest for “vegan food near me” increased by more than 5,000% in recent years! Whatever your motivation, the Vegan Living Program is designed to provide you with the support you need, and to build a community of like-minded individuals.


The Vegan Living Program has been held with overwhelming success since 2011 in Baltimore, MD, Long Island, NY, Syracuse, NY, Rochester, NY, and Pasadena, CA. We are thrilled to bring the VLP back to Syracuse and Long Island this year!

Join us for this life-changing program!

Registration and Ways to get Involved
Not yet vegan? Be a Vegan Pledge!

Pledge registration is now closed. Please sign up for our email list to be notified about our other events and when Pledge registration opens next year.

Be a Vegan Coach!

Coach registration is closed for this year, but we could still use volunteers for any or all of the sessions. Please email if you would like to help out.


If you would like to help put up flyers for the VLP, or volunteer at the sessions, please email


Are you interested in becoming a sponsor or product donor of the Vegan Living Program? Contact Erin at for details!

The 2024 Long Island VLP Schedule:

The Vegan Living Program sessions are 100% required attendance for Vegan Pledges and Coaches. 


The 2024 Long Island VLP events will not be open to the public; only pre-registered Vegan Pledges and Coaches may attend (Pledges and Coaches may bring guests to Sessions 4 and 5 with an RSVP to


SESSION ONE - June 1, 2:00-5:00pm: 

Intro to Veganism, Cooking Demo & Coach/Pledge Team Intros 

Welcome from Vegan Living Program Organizers, Erin Marcus, Robin Helfritch Maratos, and Demo Maratos. Vegan Pledges and Coaches will have some time to get acquainted. Rachel McCrystal, Executive Director of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary will introduce veganism and the reasons for living a joyful, vegan life. Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Dr. Ruby Lathon will present a vegan cooking demonstration. 


Held at Molloy University Rockville Centre, 1000 Hempstead Ave, Rockville Centre, NY 11570


SESSION TWO - June 8, 2:00-5:00pm: 

Vegan Nutrition

Where do you get your protein? Is soy bad for you? Learn about healthy, vegan nutrition and get your questions answered by Registered Dietitian, Kerri Foxhill. Kerri Foxhill, MA RD CSO LDN is a Clinical Dietitian for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, and an Adjunct at Immaculata University in Philadelphia.

Held at Molloy University Rockville Centre, 1000 Hempstead Ave, Rockville Centre, NY 11570


SESSION THREE - June 15, 2:00-5:00pm: 

The Environment & Living Vegan in a Not-Yet-Vegan World

Demosthenes Maratos, Communications Director of the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College, will speak about the environmental impact animal agriculture has on our planet, and discuss the ethical reasons for living vegan. Demosthenes will then join Vegan Living Program Founding Directors, Erin Marcus and Robin Helfritch Maratos, plus panelists Brian Colomban, Jennifer Greene, Karen Johnson, and Bob DiBenedetto to discuss obstacles faced during transitioning to veganism, and vegan myths and misconceptions.


Held at Molloy University Rockville Centre, 1000 Hempstead Ave, Rockville Centre, NY 11570


SESSION FOUR - June 22, day trip with scheduled tour, 2:00pm:

Field Trip to Skylands Animal Sanctuary 

Skylands Animal Sanctuary & Rescue rescues, rehabilitates, advocates on behalf of, and provides lifelong homes for farmed animals. We will meet there for a tour, get acquainted with the resident animals, and learn about their lives before rescue from Skylands founder, Mike Stura.

Not open to the public, but VLP Coaches, Pledges and volunteers may bring family and friends with RSVP to Please RSVP for everyone other than Pledges, Coaches or volunteers, so that we may let the sanctuary team know how many to expect. Allow enough time and plan to arrive early, as the tour is scheduled to begin promptly at 2:15pm. 

A $10 per person donation is requested for the sanctuary tour, to be paid directly to Skylands Animal Sanctuary that day. We will cover this donation for any Pledges and Coaches for whom it will be a hardship. We will not be able to cover the donation for guests.

Held at Skylands Animal Sanctuary & Rescue, 50 Compton Rd, Wantage, NJ 07461Carpooling is strongly suggested.


SESSION FIVE - June 29, 2:00-5:00pm: 

Graduation Celebration!

A celebratory vegan potluck party for Vegan Pledges and Coaches, with certificates of completion presented to Vegan Pledges!

Not open to the public, but VLP Coaches, Pledges and volunteers may bring family and friends with RSVP to Please RSVP for everyone other than Pledges, Coaches or volunteers, so that we know how many to expect.

Held at Molloy University Rockville Centre, 1000 Hempstead Ave, Rockville Centre, NY 11570

Please Note:


Our events at Molloy University will be held in a room with tiered seating, most of which requires climbing stairs. In order to accommodate all participants, we can reserve floor level seating for anyone for whom stairs will be an issue.

Vegan Living Program educational content is not meant to be construed as health advice, or take the place of a consultation with a medical professional. All Vegan Pledges will be given a release form indicating as much at the first meeting on June 1, which MUST be signed in order to participate in the program.​


All educational sessions will be documented with video and/or photography, which will be posted online and/or used in promotional materials for the program. Media may be invited to some sessions. Submitting a registration form for the VLP indicates your acceptance of these terms.

Speaker Bios:

Erin Marcus  

Founding Director, Vegan Living Program
Program Co-Organizer, Speaker Sessions 1 and 3

Founding Director of the Vegan Living Program, Erin's roles in the organization include coordinating and co-organizing VLPs in current programs' cities and facilitating expansion in new cities, giving vegan education presentations, writing content for the VLP's email alerts, websites, literature, and social media, and serving as the group's Treasurer.


​Erin began attending animal rights events as a teenager, her first demonstration being a vigil for turkeys with United Poultry Concerns in the mid 1990s. She has been organizing for animals on the grassroots level in Baltimore since 2003. Erin co-ran the Baltimore Vegan Living Program for seven years, and in 2018 joined the Long Island VLP organizing team. She is passionate about the connections between different struggles for justice, and values the experience she has gained from volunteering for labor and human rights organizations in addition to her work with the VLP.

Robin Helfritch Maratos
Founding Director, Vegan Living Program
Program Co-Organizer, Speaker Sessions 1 and 3

Vegan Living Program Founding Director and President, Robin Helfritch Maratos has been organizing animal rights and vegan education campaigns, conferences, festivals, protests and programs on both the grassroots and national levels for the past 20 years. With childhood and early adult roots in local animal rescue, she spent many years campaigning against fur, foie gras, circuses, rodeos and vivisection. She now focuses her main efforts on all-encompassing vegan education, community-building and support. She is co-founder of the Vegan Living Program 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and it's signature program, which is in it's 11th year, 6th city, and 23rd program. ​

Robin's work in the Vegan Living Program organization includes coordinating and co-organizing VLPs in current programs' cities, aiding expansion in new cities, and giving vegan education presentations. A graphic designer by profession, she also designs the VLP's printed and online materials, website, social media graphics, advertising, and marketing.

Beyond her work in the VLP, Robin donates her time to design materials for other animal rights, rescue, and environmental nonprofit organizations. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and rescued pitbull, running, hiking, and teaching yoga.

Robin VLP Banner_edited_edited.jpg
Demosthenes Maratos  
Communications Director, Sustainability Institute at Molloy University
Program Co-Organizer, Speaker Sessions 1 and 3

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, and is on the Vegan Living Program's Board of Directors. 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.

Ruby Lathon, PhD  
Holistic Nutritionist, Health Coach & Educator
Speaker Session 1

Dr. Ruby Lathon is a certified holistic nutritionist and inspires with a powerful story of recovering from cancer through alternative treatment focused on a whole food, plant-based diet. Dr. Lathon was featured in the hit documentary, What the Health. Dr. Lathon worked as a researcher and an award-winning engineer, and now teaches others how to re-engineer their health and live disease free.

Dr. Lathon is an inspirational and highly sought-after speaker on motivation, natural healing and disease prevention. Dr. Lathon heads up Ruby Reds Vegan Ready-to-Eat Meals, an organic meal delivery service, delivering to Washington DC and surrounding metro areas. Dr. Lathon also lends her expertise to Body Complete Rx (BCRX), a wellness brand with a complete range of plant-based health and beauty supplements available at The Vitamin Shoppe.

Rachel McCrystal  
Executive Director, Woodstock Farm Sanctuary
Speaker Session 1

Rachel has been the Executive Director at Woodstock Sanctuary since 2017 and on the team since 2014. Prior to that she was with Best Friends Animal Society and the Pennsylvania SPCA working in marketing and fundraising. Before her nonprofit career, she was a journalist. Rachel has been an animal rights activist since she was a child—participating in rodeo and circus protests and wildlife advocacy from the age of 10 on—and a dedicated vegan since 2005. Rachel speaks and writes on the subjects of animal rights, radical ecology, and farmed animal activism. She also is a nonprofit and strategic planning consultant. She lives near the Sanctuary with her partner, rescued elder dogs, and rescued doves.

Rachel McCrystal.jpg
Kerri Foxhill  
Registered Dietitian
Speaker Session 2

Kerri Foxhill, MA RD DipACLM CSO LDN is a plant-based/vegan dietitian based in Philadelphia, PA. She completed her RD internship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and received an MA in Nutrition from Immaculata University (2010). She has been working as a Clinical Oncology Dietitian for over 13 years in the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

She has been involved in outreach and plant-based/vegan nutrition education since 2014, initially with an NYC based animal advocacy group. Starting in 2015 she began volunteering with PAN, the Peace Advocacy Network in Philadelphia with their 30-Day Vegan Pledge Program as a mentor and speaker. She has also facilitated their 30-Day Vegan Pledge in Manhattan. In 2016, she joined the Vegan Living Program in Long Island as a volunteer speaker. She is also a contributing member of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary.

Brian Colomban  
Speaker Session 3

Brian Colomban is a former VLP Coach and is excited to return to the program this year as a panelist.  Brian has been vegan for almost 8 years.  What started as a search for a "healthy diet" quickly turned into an ethical approach to consumption in all aspects.  He has experienced firsthand some of the difficulties with making (and maintaining) such a transformation, and is happy to share his "best practices" when it comes to living a vegan lifestyle.


Brian currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent for Data and Instruction for the Diocese of Rockville Centre Education Department. His favorite activities include exercising, writing, and spending time with his dog, Sasha.

Jennifer Greene  
Speaker Session 3

Like so many, Jennifer Greene grew up using and eating animals and their products without really thinking about it. As a young adult, she came across information that pulled back the curtain on the harm and violence behind animal-sourced foods, and realized she had to make a change. 

Over the years Jennifer has done vegan outreach and community-building of various kinds. She has volunteered for Coalition for Healthy School Food, worked for Dr. Michael Greger in the early days of, and raised awareness about the psychology of our food choices as a presenter for Beyond Carnism.

Jennifer Greene photo.jpeg
Karen Johnson  
Speaker Session 3

Karen went vegan for 9 years ago in order to stop contributing towards the suffering and deaths of animals. 


Since going vegan, Karen has been very active in the vegan community. She has been an Administrator in several vegan Facebook groups, both locally and worldwide. She also held a seat on the Board of Directors for Vegan Long Island for several years. She's involved in activism, advocacy, and charity events for 501c3 organizations.


Karen is a licensed New York State Wildlife Rehabilitator, as well as an animal rescuer who catches, fosters, and transports dumped and abandoned domesticated animals for 501c3 rescue organizations, including They All Want to Live (domestic fowl rescue) and All About Rabbits Rescue (domestic rabbit rescue). She also assisted in the rescues of two of the cows you’ll be meeting at Skylands Sanctuary - Hannibal (2021) and Lilith (2022). 


Karen's career enables her to blend her personal ethics with her profession as she works with a lot of vegan food companies. This also helps her to continue influencing coworkers to make more compassionate and healthy choices.


Karen was a 4-time coach in the Vegan Living Program on Long Island, and she's proud to have had her vegan daughter, Lily now 16, as her co-coach in the past.

VLP KJ.jpg
Bob DiBenedetto  
Speaker Session 3

Bob DiBenedetto is a Founder & President of the nonprofit org HealthyPlanet, a 34-year veteran of nonprofit health/environmental education, a 45 year vegan, and long-time host of the award-winning "The Healthy Planet” drive time Radio Show on WUSB, 90.1FM. Bob founded and directed the LI Healthy School Lunch Program and has organized well-over 100 large, public events with expert speakers from across the US. He has researched, written, lectured and advocated extensively on the benefits of a move toward a plant-based, clean energy society. Bob has appeared on many local and national TV/radio shows, and has been quoted in publications from Newsday to The NY Times. 


"The Vegan Living Program is a uniquely beneficial and inspiring experience. The organizers have done a phenomenal job educating everyone involved in the program and providing the necessary support organizations and materials for new vegans. Anyone interested in making a positive impact on animals, the planet, and their own health should absolutely participate in this program. At the very least it's free easy public education that everyone should take advantage of."

~ Audrey Rome

Vegan Living Program participant



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