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Merit Makers

Every week, there are seen and unseen heroes that help keep Kadampa Center running.
Here are just a few!

Our bookstore offers not only Dharma books but also a wide range of   items such as malas, shawls, monastery bags and greeting cards. Kolleen Mitchell, who has recently joined the bookstore team, brings a spark of fun to the store and works to keep the displays lively, creative and welcoming.

Thank you, Kolleen!

Construction of our beautiful stupa and the meditation garden surrounding it has flourished under the drive and guidance of Patrick McGinity and David Strevel.  Over the past two years, they have worked with Jampel on engineering designs, obtained building permits, coordinated volunteers, raised and deconstructed scaffolding, and fine-tuned plans for the circumambulation path around the stupa. Their joyful effort is getting the job done!

Thank you, Patrick and David!

It's very inspiring to see a clean and shiny altar, and cleaning is a wonderful offering to the Buddhas and the center.

Thanks to Traci and Guillermo Haas-Thompson, Carol Vogel, Susan Boehm, Joey Gooch, and Marita Schlesser for spending a Saturday afternoon cleaning our altar and polishing statues to golden brilliance.

Thank you, all!

Our children have the benefit of a rich curriculum that exposes them to the basic concepts of Buddhism as well as the traditions of our own Gelugpa lineage.  
Coordinating both our Sunday programs and other activities for children, Erin Sloan works hard, with a strong corps of volunteers, to develop learning opportunities for our children.  
Thank you, Erin!

Every month we receive numerous requests from students wanting to visit the center or speak with someone so they can learn more about Buddhism for a school project or paper.  Elise Strevel coordinates our response to student requests, working hard to accommodate their needs.

Thank you, Elise!

Most of the prayers and practices we use at Kadampa Center are from the FPMT and need to printed or copied. David Machles and Karen Mastroianni generously have donated the use of their printer over a long period of time to make these copies available to us.

Thank you, David and Karen!

As Jampel worked on the final concrete ornaments for the stupa, Jill Medford stepped in and offered invaluable help, making decorative molds and helping all around. She jumped in at a moment’s notice, and worked cheerfully in the cold and the rain, helping to complete this phase of the stupa. 

Thank you, Jill!

A wonderful team of folks dived into action the first week in December and put together our delightful Season of Giving holiday party. On very short notice, these big-hearted folks organized a tree, ornaments, age-appropriate gifts, financial sponsorship, a potluck lunch, and a giant helping of holiday spirit. Big thanks to Sandy Carlson, Erin Sloan, Elise Strevel Chantel Smith and her family, Becca Zuvich, Heather Luden, Sandy DeMaio-Newton, David Machles, Karen Mastroianni,  Venerable Choekyi, Sarah Brooks, Barb Baranski and Patti Pandya.

Thank you, all!

We decorated the Center for the holidays on Lama Tsongkhapa Day, making light offerings at the entry to the parking lot and the building with luminarias.  A crew of young people created the luminarias — decorating the bags, filling them with sand, adding candles, and setting them in place. Many thanks to Avelyn, Magnus and Roald with Vincent; Meadow, Sebastian and Tenzin with Kolleen and Sandi; Zane and Kai with Erin; Miranda, and Lee. Special thanks to Ven. Lhamo and Erin Sloan for organizing it all.

Thank you all!

A pretty hedge of nandina bushes has sprung up in front of the classroom building, thanks to our own gardener, Monica Schario, who first dug them up in her own yard, then carried them here to plant.

Thank you, Monica!

With cheerful respect and joyful effort, our altar-cleaning team gives the offerings and sacred objects on our altar sparkling a weekly cleaning. Traci Haas-Thompson recently succeeded Heidi Von Ludewig as coordinator of this team, which also includes Siddhi Shonibare, Marcus Horne and Angela Horne.

Thank you all!

Throughout the summer and into the fall, our intrepid lawn crew keeps our lawns trim and tidy. Pushing the mowers weekly are coordinator Scott Miller and the team: Scott, Zak, and Josh Dickerson, Casie Burton, Marianne Hartman, Al Maginnes, Chris Barr, Royden and Orion Saah, Matilda Parker, Lisa, Noah Wright, Keith Ferreira, and Stan Arnold.

Thank you all!

   When we host a visiting teacher, there are many opportunities to help out with numerous tasks big and small. More than four dozen members of our community signed up for specific jobs during Venerable Robina’s visit, and many others kept their eyes open, noticed when things needed doing, and quietly stepped up to get them done. Dedication like this creates the karma to continue receiving the precious teachings from both our dear Geshe Gelek and visiting teachers.              

 Thank you all!


On a brilliant fall Saturday, a dozen-plus Kadampateers set to work sprucing up the center with deep cleaning indoors and weeding, pruning and winterizing gardens outdoors. Many thanks to Jill Marie, Sandi Mitchell, Matt Maurer, Kathleen Newport, Scott Miller, Patrick McGinity, Lisa James, Kim Goll, Barb Baranski, Chris Baranski, Robbie Watkins, Johnny Paul, Joey Gooch, Matilda Parker, Deann Washington.     

Thank you all!

Many hands can make light work of any task. We sent more than 1,000 Annual Appeal letters to our members and friends.  The work went quickly and pleasantly with help from Ali Burke, Susan Daniel, Julia McCollum, Traci Haas-Thompson, Barb Baranski, Jill Marie, Matilda Parker, Lisa James, Stacey Moore, Deann Washington, Elise Strevel, Sandy Carlson, and Susan and Richard Potter.

Thank you all!

We can read along on all the prayers on Sunday mornings, thanks to Sandi Mitchell, who made more than a dozen additional prayer books to go with our new chairs in the gompa. And thanks to Carole Young, who painstakingly sewed new chair covers with prayer book pockets to hold the new books on the new chairs.

Thank you, Sandi and Carole!


One of Noland’s offerings to spiritual practitioners is the hermitage, a tiny one-room retreat cottage tucked into the woods on his farm. The hermitage is  a more inviting place for solo retreat, thanks to Scott Miller, who installed a new composting toilet and solar ceiling lights and also repaired the roof and front door; John Ganzi, who donated a new bed; and John and Sandy Carlson, who carried the bed to the farm from John Ganzi’s home.

 Thank you all!


Spiritual retreat offers an opportunity to go deeper and renew our practice  away from the bustle of daily life. Our Tara retreat depended on the contributions of many people—Sandy Carlson, Karen Mastroianni, David Machles, Elise Strevel, Melinda Yelvington, Barb Baranski, Richard Dell— who volunteered for big roles that included a lot of work before and after the retreat, and our wonderful host, Noland Thuss, who let us take over his house for several days. Big thanks also to all the people on retreat, especially those who come early to help set up and took on the harder or more dirty jobs throughout the retreat.                                         

Thank you all!

Sometimes illness or a hectic schedule keeps us from attending a class — or the class is so profound we want to hear Geshe Gelek again. Thanks to our media master Chris Baranski, all classes are recorded and made available for download from the computer in our lobby area. Thanks also to the many volunteers, especially Ven. Lhamo, Ven. Choekyi and Sarah Brooks—but many others! — who make sure each class is recorded.

Thank you all!


A big round of applause for Kara Weilding for lending her experience and expertise to last week’s performance of Prince Siddhartha. She transformed a few words on a page into a script with acts and scenes, and transformed a group of kids into a cast of characters. And a huge thank you to the Mitra family for providing costumes and stepping in last-minute to fill important roles.

Thank you all!