Volunteer Spotlight: Grace Prins. Building Community and Compassion by Volunteering With CAA

June 11, 2024

Grace with Morris, the “light of my life”

Grace Prins has been a passionate volunteer with Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) since 2022. Her first volunteering was at Twin Cities Veg Fest. She reports that “When I first went vegan, it felt pretty lonely because I didn’t know anyone else who shared my values and lifestyle. I started looking for ways to meet other vegans and volunteer for a cause I believed in and found CAA!” She signed up for our emails, followed us on MeetUp, and finally decided to volunteer. She was impressed by the dedication of CAA volunteers, especially those who spent a lot of time planning the festival.

Grace’s volunteer roles at CAA

Grace has volunteered in many different roles at CAA. She worked twice on the Zero Waste team at Twin Cities Veg Fest, helped plan the Vegan Chili Cook-Off, and joined the Annual Banquet committee for 2024. She also assisted people in signing up for the Veg Pledge at The Smell of Money movie screening and volunteered at Chicken Run Rescue for International Respect for Chickens Day. Beyond CAA, Grace also volunteers at Farmaste Animal Sanctuary, helping with barn cleanings.

Why Grace volunteers

Grace enjoys the long-term commitment of committee work because it lets her talk to people regularly. Planning logistics is fun for her, and she loves volunteering at events where she can meet other vegans and people curious about plant-based eating. One of her favorite tasks was baking desserts for the auction banquet. She considers sharing food to be one of her love languages.

The joy of meeting other vegans

Grace loves meeting other vegans through volunteering. It’s encouraging for her to share stories and challenges of living in a non-vegan world. She feels that these conversations make her a better activist as she learns about different motivations for veganism and ways to advocate for animals.

Grace’s interests outside CAA

When not volunteering with CAA, Grace enjoys cooking and baking, traveling, playing video games, reading, being in nature, backpacking, spending time with her senior rescue cat, and visiting vegan restaurants. She also works at a local carshare nonprofit.

Why Grace eats plant-based

Grace started as a vegetarian for the environment and then went vegan for the animals after learning about the lives of dairy cows and chickens. She believes we shouldn’t harm animals since we don’t need to do so for survival. This is based on her view that animals have emotions and personalities, just like her rescue cat, who is a beloved family member. Grace shared that “when I see footage of farmed animals suffering, I think about how they are no different from my cat.”

Grace’s favorite recipes and restaurants

Grace loves all forms of curry, especially Japanese curry, after a trip to Japan in 2019. She likes using Golden Curry boxes, which are vegan, or making curry from scratch with this Vegan Japanese Curry recipe. She also enjoys curry udon, a satisfying dish she prepares using a recipe from The Foodie Takes Flight.

For dining out, Grace enjoys the soul food at Trio Plant-Based and the vegan desserts at French Meadow Cafe.

Grace Prins’s dedication to CAA through volunteering and her passion for veganism are an asset for the Compassionate Action for Animals community.

The mutual benefits of volunteering for CAA

Volunteers are key to everything we do. They help us to accomplish far more than we can do with our small staff and amplify our impact for animals. In 2023, our staff engaged over 260 volunteers, contributing more than 740 hours, across 96 different activities — a savings of over $12,000 if we had hired them. Learn more about volunteer impact every year in our annual reports.

Equally important is that the volunteers themself benefit from enhanced skills in advocacy and leadership as well as a sense of community. This fits with our theory of change which includes the following cyclical steps: increasing awareness, building community, empowering advocates, and creating change. Volunteering touches on each of these areas.

See all volunteer opportunities here.

CAA’s Theory of Change

Our theory of change emphasizes a welcoming approach, which is recognized as most effective at creating change and models the empathy we want to promote.

The theory explains how we achieve our mission to encourage people to embrace their empathy for animals and move toward a plant-based diet. It also supports our vision of a world where all animals, human and nonhuman, can thrive. 

This change theory reflects how we grow our movement. Through our CAA programs, events, and activities, we facilitate a cyclical process of increasing awareness, building community, empowering advocates, and creating change. This process focuses on both individual and institutional change. 

What kind of change do we create? Our programs reduce consumption of animal products and improve the lives of farmed animals. In addition, they benefit the well-being of all Minnesotans.

Compassionate Action for Animals’ theory of change was initially developed in 2017 with an online survey sent to key stakeholders, two town hall meetings open to the community members, and a strategic planning meeting attended by staff, core volunteers, and board members.

Get Involved and Volunteer with CAA

If you believe in our mission and our theory of change, we encourage you to get involved too. Sign up for one of our upcoming volunteer opportunities. There are so many fun events and options to choose from. Whatever your talents may be, you can find a volunteer opportunity that’s right for you — from photography to cooking and serving food, helping with setup and cleanup at events, greeting guests, and so much more. We thank you for all the ways that you speak up for animals and help our community!

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