VoM December 2012


Our volunteers are an integral part of what makes both of our centers run efficiently.  We offer 17 weekly classes along with ongoing series, daylong classes, special events, fundraising events, sangha socials and more. How would we manage all of this without these special people?


Because we honor the generosity that the volunteers bring to our sangha we are going to spotlight two volunteers every month, one from ATS Santa Monica and one from ATS Melrose.


Valerie Cusson


I have been pleased to call ATS my sangha for the past 3 years. I have been meditating and investigating Buddhism for over 10 years.

As a volunteer, I have hosted several daylong classes. Being a volunteer at ATS helps me to feel a part of the community and get to know like-minded people from all walks of life.

I completed the Facilitator training with Noah and JoAnna in September and now assist with the People of Color group at Melrose. And, I along with two other ATS sangha members ( Chris Tilly and Brian Ladner) have founded a sitting group in our town of Redlands: The Inland Empire Dharma Punx. We have had anywhere from 4 to 26 people in attendance and are excited to see the dharma being spread in our area.

I am continually amazed at the love and generosity of the sangha and appreciate having a place to grow and learn about what the Buddha taught. I will be forever thankful for the opportunities that ATS has given me through volunteering.

Craig Wallace 


I’ve been coming to Against the Stream for about 2 ½ years and hosting the Friday night class in Santa Monica – the Dharma Test Kitchen – for a little over one year.

Before ATS, I had been practicing for over 10 years, sometimes with groups but mostly on my own. The thing about most of the groups I sat with was that they were just individuals who happened to be sitting in the same room – no effort was given to creating a sangha. So, it made just as much sense to me to practice on my own.

That changed when I started coming to ATS. I was amazed by the feeling of community. Even though there was great a great diversity in age, personality (not to mention tattoos!), there was a real sense of togetherness. Finally, a sangha!

After awhile it just felt right to volunteer, to give back a little bit of time to a place that was giving me so much. I volunteered as a host because, even though I tend to be a little shy, I wanted to transcend that and make others feel as welcome and included as I had. I wanted to directly affect the feeling of sangha

If you’ve ever felt the pull to give back to ATS – go with that – VOLUNTEER! It’s a beautiful way to practice generosity, support the center and have fun all at the same time.

Thank you so much Valerie and Craig for your generosity and service to Against the Stream.  For those of you who are reading this I encourage you to express your gratitude to Valerie and Craig the next time you see them.