“… the true volunteering where you become part of the fold. Being part of something bigger than yourself, and you can feel it.”

This story starts with Anne Hulett, who along with Nancy Schaeffer runs the KTD office and handles registration.

Not too long ago, Anne had a conversation with Linda Patrik, KTD’s new Director of Operations.

“ Linda and I spoke about the people who were asking to volunteer and wanted to be a part of what is happening at KTD and the needs of the Monastery,” Anne says.  “We wanted to reframe our Volunteer Program  and really open it up to people in a bigger way.”

It was determined that KTD needed a Volunteer Coordinator, which was a good fit for Anne, who has a background in project and event management.

When a much-needed KTD membership mailing needed to be done on a short timeline a few weeks ago, an idea surfaced – what about asking the people assembled for Tulku Damchö’s first teaching if they could help with the mailing during the lunch break?

Anne spoke to the group assembled in the shrine room prior to Tulku Damchö’s first teaching of the day.

“I shared about how I started at KTD,”  Anne says. “I spoke about initially being intimidated by the teachings, but I really wanted to be there. I would arrive, pay for my room, and go help Amrita in Fundraising, or Maureen in the kitchen, or do a bit of housekeeping with Susan in the different shrines at KTD.  I love to get involved and I wanted to spend time here. It was a great thing, and so much fun.  The staff made it possible and was welcoming and fun to work with.”

Anne then asked if people wanted to volunteer with the mailing, and immediately ten hands shot up to help, the perfect number to accomplish the mailing task at hand. Meeting after the teaching, the assembled group proceeded to handle the mailing with great good nature and skill.

Then Amy McCracken spoke. A benefactor and volunteer in the Front Office and Finance at the Monastery, Amy had volunteered, out of the blue, to collect donations from the attendees of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche’s Ten-Day Teaching last year, raising $11,000 for the monastery.  Inspired, people approached Amy afterward to ask about getting involved.

“The accomplishment of the mailing made it real,” Anne says. “This is where the whole volunteer initiative came together. We want people to feel a part of KTD, and this is a way to be involved. It’s not just Karma Yoga – the work essential as part of a retreat at KTD – but the true volunteering where you become part of the fold. Being part of something bigger than yourself, and you can feel it.”

Anne’s next step, which she is in the process of completing now with the help of Jonathan Vallejo, Volunteer with Non-profit management experience, is the first draft of a KTD volunteer handbook that will help to orient and give helpful guidelines for volunteering at the monastery.

“Facilitation is so important,” she says. “when you come into a place to help, not only do you need to feel welcomed, but also guided and prepared with what you need to know.”

After that beginning, Anne says, quite often the volunteers know best. “People who come to KTD have rich backgrounds,” Anne says. “Our job is to tell them what they need to know to do a job and let them go do it, and we often get great input from them.”

Call Anne Hulett, Volunteer Manager, if you’d like to be part of KTD’s volunteer team. Her number is (845) 679-5906 ext. 1071 and e-mail: annehulett@kagyu.org. If she’s not there, please leave a message and your contact information.

Anne says she will work with each person to help them find a place on KTD’s volunteer teams. “We’ll find a fit for you, what works with your skill set and what you enjoy,” she says. “Great things are definitely opening up here and it’s very exciting, with an expanding sense of both connection and community.”

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