Care Teams: A Practice of Compassion and Generosity

Care Teams are small groups of people who come together to provide care to persons in the community—a sangha member recovering from surgery or a family with a newborn in need of an extra hand.  Care Teams also offer the caregivers an opportunity to enrich their practice.

Being kind is a simple practice, but it is also a transforming practice, because as we continue, the conceptual boundary between “us” and “them” begins to melt. (Sakyong Mipham)

The Boston Shambhala Center will be forming Care Teams based on the inspiration and work of Mary Whetsell, Director of the Shambhala Office of Societal Health and Well-Being.  This is a model that considers the needs of the caregivers as well as those receiving support. Team members are asked to commit no more than 4 hours a month and are encouraged to do what they enjoy doing and what fits with their schedule. Taking turns, the Team might cook dinners, drive a Care Friend to doctor appointments, join the Friend in sitting practice, play with a toddler while mom and newborn sleep, or walk a dog for someone recovering from an injury.  And Care Team members not only provide a support system to the Care Team friend, they also are committed to supporting one another and the team as a whole.  Some of the guiding principles include:

  • Everyone on the team commits to attending a monthly meeting of one hour’s duration.
  • Everyone on the team agrees to do only jobs they truly want to do.
  • Decisions are made by the team as a whole, not by individual members or subsets of members.
  • Everyone agrees to protect the confidentiality/privacy of the Care Team friend.
  • Everyone on the team commits to providing 2 to 4 hours total service per month. This includes the team meeting.


In every address the Sakyong talks about how our practice includes caring for each other.  We do that well in our community one-on-one.  This model will now allow us to expand our reach by putting a structure in place to respond to the needs of our sangha friends in a coordinated manner.

Please join us at the Center on Friday, September 27, at 6:00 for a brief overview of this model and a chance to ask questions.  For those who are interested in serving on a team, a half day training will be provided on Sunday, October 20th.  Information about the training will be shared on the 27th and posted on our website.