CAA is happy to welcome Jennifer Swick to our Board of Directors. Let’s get to know her!
Jennifer first became aware of the issues with animal agriculture about fifteen years ago at the Living Green Expo. A group there was doing pay-per-view outreach, showing people how animals suffer on factory farms. Jennifer describes it as one of those life-changing moments, when you’re introduced to a whole new reality that you didn’t know existed. “Oh, this is the world I’m living in!”
That intense awakening planted a seed of awareness that continued to grow in the years that followed. Then about four years ago, Jennifer became friends with a bona fide vegan. She had never before known a vegan personally, but in knowing one got to see how easy and doable it is to eat only plant-based foods. Pretty soon, she was taking action for animals: cutting animal products out of her diet and getting involved with CAA as a volunteer.
Her first activities with CAA were leafleting and pay-per-view outreach. Pay-per-view has a special place in her heart since since it’s what originally opened her eyes to this cause. She also keeps the Roseville library stocked with vegetarian starter kits. Apparently, they go like hotcakes there!
Her favorite volunteer activity has been helping out with Bridges of Respect, CAA’s humane education program. She started by assisting with presentations and now leads them. The program is a good match for her background in education, since she served for ten years as the education director at a large church in Minnetonka.
For the past seven years, Jennifer has worked at People Serving People, helping families experiencing homelessness. You might wonder, how has working with these families influenced Jennifer’s approach to vegan advocacy?
Jennifer says that when someone in a crisis mode, lacking basic necessities such as food and shelter, it’s not the right time to contemplate making big life changes. Instead, she advises that if we want to engage with economically disadvantaged populations, the focus should be on making fresh fruits and veggies available. For instance, it’s a really positive development that farmer’s markets now accept EBT cards.
This is a very important perspective to consider if we want to engage diverse communities through our work, and we’re especially grateful to have someone with specialized experience in this area joining the board.
And what excites Jennifer most about being on the board? The people. She’s found the leadership at CAA to be very inspiring, and being a part of the team is good way to continue to learn from others. Also, she likes thinking about the big picture, and being on the board gives an opportunity to help shape the future of the organization. Plus, it’s an especially exciting time to get involved with the executive director transition happening in December.
Along with all of the amazing work Jennifer does for animals and for people, she loves tennis, ultimate frisbee, biking, and reading. She’s a big fan of Trader Joe’s Three Layer Hummus and will happily order the mock sesame chicken from Evergreen Chinese Restaurant.
Jennifer says she grateful to be a part of CAA and that this community is really a gift. Well, we feel the same about having her on board, sharing her many gifts with all of us and for the animals.