Service and Community Projects
Shepherd’s Table Volunteers
Still Water volunteers have been working since 2007 with The Shepherd’s Table, a Silver Spring nonprofit that provides help to people who are homeless or in need. Shepherd’s dedicated staff and volunteers offer meals, social services, medical support, and clothing, as well as care, respect, and compassion.
Still Water supports the Shepherd’s Table in two ways:
- Helping to staff the Clothes Closet, where each Wednesday morning, from 10 am till noon, clients can choose the clothes they need from a donated selection. Shepherd’s Table also offers shower facilities, fresh underwear and socks, clean towels, and toiletries for those who wish them.
- Helping to prepare and serve Sunday Brunch. The weekend brunch service began in late 2012 after the staff of Shepherd’s Table realized that many of the guests received no meals on the weekends other than the evening dinners at Shepherd’s Table. Still Water practitioners volunteer together on the Fourth Sunday of each month. It is a three-hour commitment, 9 am to 12 noon. Following cleanup, Still Water volunteers sit together for meditation and reflection. Substitutes are also needed, for the occasional Sundays when regular volunteers are not available.
Free Where You Are Prison Mindfulness Community
For me, there is no happiness without freedom, and freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves… No matter how or where you find yourself, if you have freedom, you are happy.
— Thich Nhat Hanh, Be Free Where You Are
Regular mindfulness and meditation practice has been shown to help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and emotional reactivity, while improving self-insight and the ability to respond more flexibly to negative situations. These benefits have inspired many to offer mindfulness and meditation practice to the incarcerated, a population that has few opportunities to experience silence, conscious breathing, and supported contemplation.
Since July 2015, a dedicated group of Still Water volunteers offers mindfulness practice to inmates at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCIW) in Jessup, Maryland, on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Volunteers are needed to help hold the circle and facilitate sitting and walking meditation and Dharma sharing in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh.
Prospective volunteers should meet the following criteria:
- At least six months regular attendance at Still Water gatherings.
- A commitment to help hold the circle at the MCIW mindfulness group at least one Tuesday a month for six months.
- A commitment to complete the required two-hour Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services volunteer orientation.
- A compassionate heart.
Volunteers are strongly encouraged to participate in the Going as a Sangha–Prison Outreach Book Discussion Group that meets on the second Tuesday evening of each month. This is a wonderful opportunity to water the seeds of compassion in ourselves while growing in understanding about incarceration in the United States.
If you would like to volunteer, or have questions, please email Still Water at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still Water Mindful Educators
You cannot transmit wisdom and insight to another person. The seed is already there.
A good teacher touches the seed, allowing it to wake up, to sprout, and to grow.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh
The Still Water Mindful Educators Community is in the process of manifesting. It is growing out of the educational initiatives of Plum Village, which aim to bring mindfulness practice into schools through training teachers and developing curricula.
The Still Water Mindful Educators Community intends to be a support group for teachers and a forum where members can explore and share ideas about bringing mindfulness practices into the classroom. The Mindful Educators Community will have an online component, where members can share information, teachings, and announcements, and also “in-person” activities, such as Days of Mindfulness. Teachers, administrators, and other educational staff, from pre-K through university, are welcome.
If you would like to be involved in envisioning and creating a Mindful Educators Community, please email SWMindfulEducators@gmail.com. Please let us know what your primary interests are, where you live, and whether you currently participate with a Still Water group.