Volunteering and the Practice of Service
Open Volunteer Positions the Berkeley Shambhala Center
In Shambhala membership is generally meant to include a commitment
to a regular meditation practice, helping financially by paying monthly
dues (or an annual donation) and volunteering from 5-20 hours or
more per month. Most of our teachers and department heads donate
an average of 20-40 hours each per month. We often talk about the
practice of service and giving based on the idea of no gift, no giver and
no receiver. Volunteering is also a great way to connect more with the
community and other members. (That said not all of our members are
able to give time for one reason or another – if this is the case for you
please know we value your willingness to help in whatever small ways
Our center is organized into a group of departments that include:
Center Director (Megan Murphy) firstname.lastname@example.org 510-542-1391
Practice and Education (Sandra Ladley), email@example.com 510-525-4275
Dorje Kasung (Matthew Parkinson), firstname.lastname@example.org 510-759-
Council Secretary & Kitchen Manager (Bill Barstad) email@example.com
Culture and Decorum (Henia Miedzinski) firstname.lastname@example.org 510-558-0458
Finance (Scott Tracy), email@example.com 510-410-4545
Health and Well Being (Vickie Self), firstname.lastname@example.org 510-234-2001
Introductory Programs Outreach & Bookstore (Deborah Lafferty).
Operations (Megan Murphy & Bill Barstad-see above)
Here are some of our currently open positions. Please consider volunteering if you can!
General Volunteer(s): Help to accomplish general center tasks on a weekly basis – ideally between 4-7 or 5-8 on any Monday-Thursday that fits your schedule. Help with organizing, errands, data entry, etc. No prior experience needed. Contact Megan Murphy.
Practice and Education Program Staff: (Prerequisites: Attended through Shambhala Training Level III.) Volunteer as program staff for regular and special center events. Work may include opening the door, food preparation, shopping, registration, co-ordinating, shrine room set up etc. Coming up soon is Pema Birthday Celebration on July 14, Susan Chapman Five Keys to Mindful Communication Aug 15, 18 & 19, Shambhala Training Level 1 August 24 & 25, and the Lineage Festival Sept 22 and 23. More events are scheduled throughout the year. Contact Sandra Ladley.
Cataloguing A/V Library: Help to make a catalog of our A/V Library in Excel. No experience necessary. Hours can be scheduled at your convenience. Contact Bill Barstad.
Front Office Reception: Greet people at the front desk and answer the phone so that
people can be “buzzed” into the building who are not members but are coming to one of our programs. Be trained to sell books in our bookstore. Open Shifts: One weekday Monday- Thursday from 4-7. Request an 8 week commitment. Contact Megan Murphy.
Department Assistants: Pick a department from the list above that sounds interesting or matches your particular skill set and then contact the department head to ask how you can help!
A/V Technical Assistant: Be trained to operate the microphone at programs, record talks and do set-up for on-line streaming video talks on an intermittent basis. Contact Megan Murphy or Sandra Ladley.
Tech Support for Center Computers: An on-call position to help department heads and
volunteers navigate various software programs and trouble shoot when problems arise.
Contact Megan Murphy.
Housekeeping & Decor: On call position that supplements our paid cleaning position to
regularly review condition of center, de-clutter as necessary and make recommendations to help us maintain our beautiful meditation halls and other rooms. Contact Megan Murphy.
Other Openings (for Established Members):
1. Kitchen Manager: Contact Bill Barstad or Megan Murphy. Keep
kitchen supplies stocked and check for dirty dishes once or twice
per week. Create and manage systems that keep the kitchen
2. Meditation Instructor Co-ordinator: Contact Megan Murphy.
On-going position to speak with students seeking a meditation
instructor and match them with our 40 meditation instructors,
practice instructors and Shambhala guides. Ideal candidate is a
seminary graduate who is also a qualified meditation instructor.
(hours vary but probably no more than 5 hours per month.)
3. Volunteer Co-ordinator: Organize and manage the volunteer
list once a month by updating available volunteers and matching
them to open department positions or short term projects given
to you by department heads. Meet and greet people who are
interested in volunteering, learn about their skills and interests
and make suggestions of places to connect. Be available to
answer questions, survey volunteers afterwards about their
experience and give feedback to department heads .Organize
regular thankyou events once or twice per year. Will work
closely with the Introductory Programs group headed by Deborah
Lafferty and the Center Director. (5 hours per month)
4. Feast Assistants: Contact Geraldine Ferri. Open to those who
practice Werma sadhana. Help prepare the Werma feast once
per month by purchasing and preparing food alongside a team of
4-5. 3 hours per month
5. Open House Co-ordinator: Attend Open House on Sundays
at least two or three times per month providing continuity to
participants. Interface with the team captains and team members
to give and receive feedback about what is working well and also
ways the event might be improved.
6. Service Positions on Open House Service Teams: Contact Megan
Murphy. 1 Sunday per month 8:30-12:30. Service team members
alternate being the timekeeper, the doorkeeper and being at the
downstairs door for members and the public who come to sit on
Sunday mornings and/or to receive meditation instruction and/
or listen to the Shambhala talk. Each team has a co-ordinator
captain who generally organizes the shift earlier in the week and
is present at the event. (48 hours per year).