top of page
Smile in Red
Our Volunteers
Alexander.png

Alexander Pachman

What kind of volunteering do you do /have you done with Menlha?

I lead Menlha’s free 15-minute Friday meditation sessions.

 

What inspired you to volunteer at Menlha?

I have been volunteering at Buddhist meditation centers for many years and was thrilled to learn there was a Kadampa Meditation Center in Lambertville when I moved to town a few years ago. I have always found volunteering at centers to be a natural expression of my practice and a wonderful way to become even more a part of the community. When I’m volunteering at centers, I find myself meditating, studying, and attending classes more often, which helps me navigate life more effectively. Volunteering also provides an ideal container to make my practice real and work on cultivating qualities like generosity, giving, and thinking of others.

 

What do you like most about coming to Menlha?

The people! I feel so fortunate there is such a wonderful group of teachers and fellow practitioners right here in Lambertville. The Menlha sangha is a down-to-earth and warm community filled with wisdom and insight. Becoming a part of this community has been a great support to my personal practice. For me, there are few things more fun than getting together with a group of friends and teachers to meditate and explore our minds and experience of reality.

 

Do you remember what it was like first coming to Menlha, and what did you find most welcoming?

When I first started attending classes at Menlha I was struck by the friendly and laid-back attitude of the teachers and volunteers. It was clear to me the community was filled with members that wholeheartedly applied authentic Buddhist teachings to their lives but didn’t take themselves too seriously in the process. The classes were filled with good humor and relatable examples of how to take what we were learning in class into the world. Who knew most Buddhist lessons can be learned while in line at the grocery store!

 

What classes do you attend regularly, as a member?

I attend the Wednesday evening 'Don’t Worry, Be Happy' classes with Rob Kelly, the Thursday evening Foundation Program with Diane Cadman, and the 'Friday Free' 15-Minute meditation sessions. I also try to take advantage of some of the weekend programming when I’m able to fit it into my schedule!

Andrew.png

Andrew Giehl

What kind of volunteering do you do /have you done with Menlha?

For years now I’ve been changing out the water offerings on Saturdays at our center. It has always been a special gift and contribution of mine to participate in this ritual and to help Dharma to flourish in this most basic of ways. Most often I do the offerings alone with no one at the center but me so it’s a solitary endeavor and it’s very special to be in the presence of all the Buddhas in such a peaceful setting. I look forward to it every week. I’ve also done some handy work that includes remodeling a  bathroom at our last location and building  a riser for our current throne and shrine. I look forward to contributing more in the future.

 

What inspired you to volunteer at Menlha?

I was inspired to help out at the Menlha Center not only because there seemed to be a need but also to help further my connection with a place that has helped to promote a much more peaceful, loving mind within me. 

 

What do you like most about coming to Menlha?

What I like most about coming to the Menlha Center? I’m not going to sugar coat this, it’s the snacks. My hat goes off to anyone who is responsible for selecting the food choices. There’s always a wonderful variety of things tempting me to lose control. Okay, seriously, it’s really nice to come to the center to hear such a variety of teachers speak about dharma, all unique unto themselves in their presentation and yet fundamentally the same. I love that. 

 

Do you remember what it was like first coming to Menlha, and what did you find most welcoming?

My first visit to Menlha Center was on a Sunday morning when I attended Heart Jewel Prayers and 'Prayers for World Peace'. There was only a few of us and I had never heard Heart Jewel Prayers before but was taken by its beauty.  When it ended I knew I’d be back. 

 

What classes do you attend regularly, as a member?

Recently I have not been attending anything on a regular basis at Menlha. I particularly enjoy Saturday classes though and would like to increase my involvement on a weekly basis in the near future.

Deidre.png

Deidre Sheehan

What kind of volunteering do you do/have you done with Menlha?

I have been a class assistant, signing people in at the desk and helping the teacher to get ready; helped with cleaning on Center Cherishing days; organizing fundraising events; changed the daily offerings on the shrine at Menlha Center, along with arranging the monthly offerings on the shrine. I have volunteered by playing the music during chanted prayers or classes, and also by running the Zoom meeting during some classes. I have also helped with marketing Menlha Center's activities and creating and sending emails, newsletters, creating and posting content on Facebook and Instagram, creating publicity images to promote classes that we use on displays in the Center and on social media. Previously I volunteered as the Admin Director for Menlha Center. 

What inspired you to volunteer at Menlha?

I was coming to classes and saw that my fellow classmates were volunteering their time signing people in and assisting the teacher to get ready. I appreciated the teachings and how much they were helping me in my life and I was happy to see

a way to express my gratitude by helping. 

What do you like most about coming to Menlha?

Firstly, that peaceful feeling I receive when I enter the Center. Second, the hopeful and encouraged feeling I take home with me after teachings or chanted prayers.

Do you remember what it was like first coming to Menlha, and what did you find most welcoming?

I can remember exactly my first classes at Menlha Center, which were the first meditation classes I had ever done. Everyone there was kind and friendly, and our teacher was so clear and encouraging about meditation and Buddhist teachings that I felt it was possible for me to learn.

What classes do you attend regularly, as a member?

Teacher training classes and Saturday events.

Diana.png

Diana Barbera

What kind of volunteering do you do/have you done with Menlha?
I enjoy teaching th
e 'Wednesday Lunchtime' weekly meditation classes. When we have special events it’s a great opportunity to welcome new people, answer questions and share the benefits. The monthly shrine offerings are provided by sangha members and I request participation, follow up and track that rotation.

 

What inspired you to volunteer at Menlha? 
As soon as I felt the warm welcome and experienced the powerful blessings I wanted to support the effort to share this very special place with others. 

What do you like most about coming to Menlha? 
Venerable Geshe-la’s teachings are invaluable, have a direct impact and have been life-changing. To have a place to gather to hear Dharma and learn and discuss practical applications of the teachings is a huge gift. Seriously. We are very fortunate to have a sangha full of kind and thoughtful people who put into practice these teachings and are beautiful examples to others.  

Do you remember what it was like first coming to Menlha, and what did you find most welcoming?  
Yes, I remember the moment I stepped into Menlha –
 it was during Heart Jewel Prayers and I knew I had entered the right place. The people, the prayers, the Dharma teachings all made a meaningful and lasting impression. My first visit to the NY Temple was an exceptional experience and it welcomed me into the larger international Kadampa family. 

What classes do you attend regularly, as a member? 
I have been in Gen Chogyop’s Teacher Training classes
 and we meet weekly. Tuesday morning's General Program classes are so helpful and really enjoyable. Sunday’s 'Prayers for World Peace' are deeply meaningful. When there are weekend events, retreats and empowerments I am very happy and grateful to be there.

diane-1_edited_edited.png

Diane Cadman

What kind of volunteering do you do/have you done with Menlha?

I'm currently Menlha KMC's treasurer, so I handle all the monetary aspects of the center, including fundraising. I'm also the bookstore manager, handling all the buying and displays for the bookstore and gift shop. I helped design our current space with a sincere wish that it be modern, conducive to meditation, and aesthetically pleasing. I take care of and maintain Menlha's website, the weekly newsletter, and the graphic design of our print publicity for our classes at Menlha, including its' branch classes. I also help with some aspects of social media (FB). I'm a greeter and class assistant on certain days, help with the food prep and set up for our events, run the twice weekly 'Open Hours', and teach the Monday and Friday 'Lunchtime Meditation' classes, as well as Menlha's Foundation Program class. I probably do a little in addition, but this about sums it up! Aeons ago I was Menlha's Admin Director.

 

What inspired you to volunteer at Menlha?

A wish to help Menlha KMC succeed now and for future meditators to enjoy our space and sangha. A meaningful life!

 

What do you like most about coming to Menlha? 

It's a very pleasant environment. We have a lovely group of meditators and there is harmony.

 

Do you remember what it was like first coming to Menlha, and what did you find most welcoming?  

I've been coming to Menlha for over 20 years, but I do remember enjoying the positive mood of everyone on my first visit.

 

What classes do you attend regularly, as a member? 

I attend, as class assistant,  the Tuesday GP class, as well as our Wednesday Teacher Training class. I also attend most of the weekend special events and retreats.

Ethel.png

Ethel Rackin

What kind of volunteering do you do/have you done with Menlha?

I have helped out at the desk, participated in fundraising events, taught scheduled classes and substituted for other teachers, and I act as the class coordinator for our Teacher Training class.

 

What inspired you to volunteer at Menlha?

I'm so grateful that Menlha exists, and I want to help it persist and thrive.

 

What do you like most about coming to Menlha?

Menlha increasingly feels like a sanctuary for me. When I enter Menlha I am in a serene, sacred space of mediation, contemplation, and friendship. This feels increasingly valuable.

 

Do you remember what it was like first coming to Menlha, and what did you find most welcoming? 

I first came to Menlha with my husband to learn to meditate. The Center was located on North Main in Lambertville in the building that now houses an Italian restaurant/pizzeria. We were warmly welcomed and felt at home immediately. The teachings were accessible and deeply meaningful. We felt relaxed and restored when we left the Center each week, and we quickly began to observe positive changes in our lives as a result of attending drop-in classes at Menlha.

 

What classes do you attend regularly, as a member?

I attend the Teacher Training class on Wednesday mornings as well as many of the Saturday retreats and classes.

Madalyn.png

Madalyn Hurley

What kind of volunteering do you do/have you done with Menlha?

I have helped out with updating calendars and advertising as well as been class assistant for a few GP classes. 

What inspired you to volunteer at Menlha?

Menlha has given me so much peace in very difficult times. I always think about how my peace wouldn’t be possible without volunteers at Menlha, and that inspires me to volunteer, in hopes that from my help others can find some peace as I did. 

 

What do you like most about coming to Menlha? 

I love the energy of Menlha, whenever I am in the center I feel very calm and content. I never have a bad day after attending the center – I think that’s amazing.  Everyone at Menlha is friendly and welcoming so I always feel at ease, and the teachings always help me with whatever problems I’m dealing with at the time. I can’t pick what aspect I love the most about Menlha, it’s a combination of everything that makes it such a special place. 

 

Do you remember what it was like first coming to Menlha, and what did you find most welcoming?  

I started attending Menlha classes online during COVID a few years ago, and I recall feeling very welcomed. I had been attending another Kadampa center for a few years prior to coming to Menlha, and the transition was smooth and enjoyable! I really like how regardless of what center you attend, you always feel at home. 

 

What classes do you attend regularly, as a member? 

I attend Teacher Training classes and also assist with the Tuesday GP class in Doylestown. I try to attend events on the weekends when I can! 

Nancy.png

Nan Fleming

What kind of volunteering do you do/have you done with Menlha?

I volunteer as a teacher for Menlha's High Bridge branch class, as well as certain Saturday courses. I also help with special events.

 

What inspired you to volunteer at Menlha? 

It's my spiritual home and I love Buddhism so am happy to help in any way. 

 

What do you like most about coming to Menlha? 

The sangha (spiritual community) is so warm and friendly, it's like a family. 

 

Do you remember what it was like first coming to Menlha, and what did you find most welcoming?  

The clarity of the Buddhist teachings. You don't have to have grown up with Buddhism to understand what Menlha Center teaches, it's clear and understandable and so very intriguing and inspiring. I got all my questions answered about big questions like karma and what happens when we die.  

 

What classes do you attend regularly, as a member? 

I go to the 'Prayers for World Peace' classes on Sunday, and the special events whenever I can.

Patty.png

Patty Kowalchuk

What kind of volunteering do you do/have you done with Menlha? 

When I first volunteered with Menlha, I did cleaning at the Center (it was on Coryell Street at that time).  I've never been someone who particularly minded cleaning, but I was surprised to find I really felt good about cleaning at the Center. I have also done flyering (so much fun!) and now I help out as the Education Program Coordinator (EPC). I recently started subbing for  'Free Fridays' and that’s been fun as well. I'm also the co-teacher for our 'Meditation for Kids' monthly class.

 

What inspired you to volunteer at Menlha?

I found that I was feeling good attending regularly, and I had a desire to give back. All it took was a sign on the bulletin board about volunteering. I must admit, I thought maybe I'd be asked to help welcome people or maybe write up some announcements, but when I was asked to clean, I thought "okay, guess that's what really would be helpful for now!" 

 

What do you like most about coming to Menlha?

Coming to Menlha is grounding for me. It reminds me about what really matters, it helps me declutter my mind, and I also love welcoming others to the center.  

 

Do you remember what it was like first coming to Menlha, and what did you find most welcoming?

The friendly face at the front desk. I don't remember what friendly face it was, but I felt valued and welcomed.      

 

What classes do you attend regularly, as a member?

I love to attend the Saturday classes and events and I enjoy 'Prayers for World Peace' as well (although getting up on a Sunday morning makes lazy me a bit challenged sometimes!). I'm a member of the Foundation Program class in Bethlehem and really love that as well. 

Rebecca.png

Rebecca Schuck

What kind of volunteering do you do/have you done with Menlha?

Currently I have a variety of things I do at Menlha. Everything from check the mailbox, change offerings twice a week, I am class assistant two to three times a week (signing people in, collecting payments, setting out prayer booklets, running the music for the class, welcoming new people). Also I’ve been cleaning the kitchen and the bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, providing flower arrangements for Powa, washing the fleece blankets, setting up Offering to the Spiritual Guide offerings, donating the water, soda, yogurt, oranges, cookies etc. that we keep out for snacks, flyering, I was the Admin Director for a  year, set up Empowerment offering tables… basically whatever needs doing I’m happy to do.

 

What inspired you to volunteer at Menlha?

I was inspired to volunteer after years of attending one class a week. When COVID hit something just cracked open! Home all day, tons of streaming teachings from around the globe. I became deeply immersed in the Zoom classes and reading books. I think I was able to receive 14 Empowerments during the streaming years. When we were able to reunite in person, I just fell in love with being with people again and sharing the Dharma with others... it was a natural progression into volunteering.  Plus we had our fabulous Gen Chogyop arrive on the scene whom I had admired for quite a few years and wanted to be around for all her teachings and help others have a place to come for sanctuary. Its' been a beautiful trip.

 

What do you like most about coming to Menlha? 

I just enjoy being at Menlha. I am privileged to have keys to a stunning dharma center so sometimes I am there alone doing offerings or cleaning and I enjoy that quiet time enjoying the serenity. I am also privileged when working the front desk to welcome people. If they are new, help them find comfort and a quick lesson on where shoes and coats go. I love when we offer Powa and people arrive in tears and leave smiling and feeling deeply comforted and happy. Offering to the Spiritual Guide is always joyful.  I just must use the word ‘everything’.  I love everything about coming to Menlha.

 

Do you remember what it was like first coming to Menlha, and what did you find most welcoming?  

I remember the day in 2007 that I first entered Menlha in one of its past locations. Diane Cadman was sitting serenely at the front desk and Gen Tenzin was hanging out on one of the sofas… I browsed the book shelves, made some purchases and started attending every Tuesday for Heart Jewel…. and progressed from there.

 

What classes do you attend regularly, as a member?

I regularly attend and assist Tuesday morning GP.  I run Medicine Buddha Prayers Thursday mornings and Wishfullfilling Jewel Prayers Thursday evenings. Fridays, I run rotating the prayers. Saturday, I assist whatever event is going on, and Sundays run Heart Jewel Prayers and Prayers for World Peace.  On the 10th and 25th of the month, Offering to the Spiritual Guide. Whatever I can get to, I get to.

Rob.png

Rob Kelly

What kind of volunteering do you do/have you done with Menlha?

I have worked the reception desk for many different events at the center, greeting visitors and working the register. I volunteered as the Education Program Coordinator for over six years which involved so many tasks, from planning courses, weekly meetings, and setting up Empowerments to moving furniture around when we revamped areas like the bookstore. Nowadays I'm responsible for data entry of class attendance and supervising the daily offering rota. I also continue to do the desk when needed and manage the streaming of our Teacher Training class on Zoom. I also teach the Wednesday 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' class, and the monthly 'Solving Our Human Problems' Saturday course. In addition, I substitute for other teachers when needed, and normally preside at Menlha's monthly Powa prayers.

What inspired you to volunteer at Menlha?

Being asked, actually. I had it in my head that volunteers were a separate, exclusive group, until I was asked to help set up for a teaching and encouraged to see myself as belonging to sangha.

What do you like most about coming to Menlha? 

Probably seeing my sangha friends in the setting which has brought such meaning to our lives.

Do you remember what it was like first coming to Menlha, and what did you find most welcoming?  

Yes, I do. The most welcoming thing was the mood, much more relaxed and friendly than I expected. I had delayed coming for quite some time: I thought the mood would be austere and I would be out of my depth. I'll never forget leaving after that first class, I felt lighter, and my life suddenly appeared full of meaning and possibility. It was wonderful.

What classes do you attend regularly, as a member? 

I regularly attend our 'Monday Lunchtime' meditation class, Teacher Training classes and Highest Yoga Tantra classes.

Sarah.png

Sarah Paden

What kind of volunteering do you do/have you done with Menlha?

I teach the Princeton branch classes on Wednesdays and substitute for other teachers, as needed.

What inspired you to volunteer at Menlha?

I wish to be part of its outreach.

 

What do you like most about coming to Menlha?

The sacred environment.

 

Do you remember what it was like first coming to Menlha, and what did you find most welcoming? 

The statues of Buddhas.

 

What classes do you attend regularly, as a member?

Teacher Training classes.

bottom of page