We offer two ways to volunteer —
A) for Bay Area residents who are interested in 1-2 days assistance on a forestry crew (no skills required, just a good attitude and sound physical health), and
B) longer-term residential volunteering (see section below)
OPTION A — 1-2 days: Take some time in a beautiful and unique environment, joining an all-volunteer residential community with land restoration! Interested in redwoods, supporting native species, coastal ecology, or ‘good fire’? We are experienced in hosting volunteers and provide a great opportunity for an inspiring work experience and social engagement. For day-only volunteers we provide lunch. Overnight volunteers get meals, a camping space or dorm accommodation, full bathroom access. You may also be able to book our Airbnb unit.
Ample parking, toilet access, and a safe and spacious outdoor fenced area for one friendly dog — inquire for availability.
Over 21, non-smoker, Bay Area or North Bay area resident.
Physically fit, mobile, able to safely lift 15 lbs, good vision/hearing (these are legally permissible requirements due to the nature of the work on forested hills with potential hazards).
COVID-vaccinated if planning overnight attendance that involves use of bathrooms or dorm.
Own sturdy boots or shoes and work-clothes, sun hat (we provide PPE if/as required, eg eye protection).
Please write to us at email@example.com with subject title “Volunteering” and let us know your full name, occupation, any relevant work or volunteer experience, preferences for dates and length of time and why you are interested in this opportunity. We will get back to you within 24 hours. Thank you very much, and we look forward to hearing from you! Please note that we are not able to accommodate all requests due to space and crew management constraints at various times, especially while COVID remains a safety consideration.
OPTION B: minimum 3 weeks
Interested in joining the residential community as a volunteer? Room and board is provided in exchange for 25 hours work service per week running the center and rental facilities.
The Padmasambhava Peace Institute was established as a dedicated space for the study and practice of meditative traditions and environmental stewardship, accessible to as many as possible. There are between 12 and 18 people on site full-time, including both long-term residents and college students or overseas visitors staying for just a few months, and about five times a year the community grows to 50-70 people for multi-day Buddhist events.
The Padmasambhava Peace Institute is directed and run entirely by volunteers. While everyone arrives at the center from a different background and with different perspectives, there is a shared understanding that here is a community which offers a unique opportunity to learn about oneself and one’s relation to others and the environment, and also the chance to support a wide range of nonprofits who regularly come to PPI.
Due to COVID, we have very strict policies in place to keep everyone safe. We are currently closed to the general public and drop-in visitors. The only way to apply as a volunteer is through the Workaway platform. Keep reading for more information…
Living in community can be challenging as well as enormously rewarding. The trick is learning to see even the challenges as an incentive for personal growth and the development of new skills, and we encourage everyone to work to their greatest potential. We welcome volunteers from all walks of life, believing that diversity makes for a richer and more powerful community. Residents come from all over the United States, as well as from South America and Europe, and while the core community is Buddhist and participates daily in the group practices, this is not a requirement. We have had volunteers from a wide range of faith backgrounds — active, atheist, lapsed and none — and encourage each person to pursue whatever path makes sense for them.
In terms of outdoor leisure, there are many beautiful places to hike around the property and we are located 20 minutes from the stunning Sonoma coastline and the Russian River resorts. Just over an hour away are the towns of Santa Rosa and Sebastopol which offer a full range of cultural activities from traditional to alternative, and San Francisco is just over two hours away. Major cycle races pass right by us every year, as the local routes are hugely popular for amateurs and professionals alike.
Spiritual instruction and support are available from the lama-in-residence Tibetan Buddhist master Jigme Rinpoche, and volunteers are welcome to join in the group daily practice and make use of the center’s shrine-room and library. The library has an extensive collection of books on Buddhism, Hinduism and Asian arts, and multi-media materials. Volunteers can attend the center’s Buddhist events free of charge.
The volunteer’s role and responsibilities
Work may include gardening (landscaping and organic vegetables gardening),, cooking assistance and general kitchen support, cleaning and construction. This assistance is in the context of the Institute’s general operations and also its provision of services to community groups renting the facility. A volunteer’s specialist skills are always welcomed when applicable. The Institute is committed to using low- or no-chemical products throughout the property.
We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, regardless of race, nationality, age, education, religion, gender identity and sexual orientation, and are looking for volunteers with:
- a commitment to community life
- an interest in supporting the center as a place of retreat for themselves and others
- concern for the environment and interest in land stewardship
- the ability to work with clear direction alone or as part of a team
- the ability to communicate clearly with others
- a responsible attitude towards handling their workload
- willingness to carry out tasks to the best of their ability and able to work flexible hours on occasion (eg during big events)
- good physical health and stamina
- no alcohol, drug or tobacco (including vaping) habits
The Institute has in place anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and a Code of Conduct, which all prospective volunteers are briefed on, and which are used as the basis for promoting the well-being of every resident and the integrity of the organization’s operations.
How to apply for a volunteer position
We are no longer processing applications for longer-term residence through this website, except for seasonal workers coming out of assignment from organizations like NPS, Americorps, local resource management, or a fire agency, with a proven track record and recent reference: please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For everyone else, the ONLY way to apply, and where the most up-to-date information is shown (including COVID-related policies), is on the platform Workaway. We have found this to be by far the most effective way to connect with volunteers, and have met many fantastic people this way.
Please note we do not respond to direct emails, attempted visits or phone-calls about volunteering; going through Workaway is the only option at this time. Thank you!
- Please read carefully through PPI’s Workaway profile, checking full details of work, hours, accommodations, no-drugs/smoking policies etc, and reviews left by volunteers.
- If you are interested in joining us, set up a Workaway membership (US$44/year — thousands of amazing opportunities worldwide!) and then contact us that way.
- Plan ahead — we are assigning spaces as far as three months ahead at the moment; before COVID it was as much as six months. Sometimes people’s last-minute changes means a vacancy comes up, so always let us know your range of availability.
We understand there are many volunteer options out there, and a lot of capable and dynamic people looking for places, so we thank you for your interest in the Padmasambhava Peace Institute as a place to stay!