soji zen center


Soji Zen Center’s outreach includes social engagement and service outside the Center—on and off the cushion. Soji students reach out to people who are facing major life challenges such as incarceration, drug/alcohol addiction, mental illness, homelessness, hunger, and discrimination or who are dying. We engage with veterans, the LGBT community and individuals in prison, as well as people at key developmental stages – most often youth and seniors.Listed below are current and past examples of our social engagement and community outreach efforts.

Prison Work
  • Ongoing Waxing Moon meditation group at the Federal Detention Center of Philadelphia
  • Taught meditation to prisoners who were working on their GED as a part of their release from prison
  • Co-led a meditation workshop with Warriors Yoga at a youth summit for Chester Boys and Girls Club in Chester, PA
  • Taught meditation to youth at Linden Hill Elementary School, Wilmington, DE
  • Trained Villanova University students in meditation to incorporate into their Student-Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia (SREHUP), an entirely student-run homeless shelter
  • Provide instruction to religion classes at The Hill Boarding School learning about Zen and meditation
LGBT Community
  • Lead meditation in the morning and evening at John C. Anderson apartments (LGBT-friendly senior apartment community in Philadelphia)
  • Lead weekly meditation at the Rainbow Buddhist Meditation Group held at the William Way Community Center in Philadelphia
The Homeless
  • Bear Witness to the homeless at Priests Faith, Food & Fellowship at Old St. Joseph’s Church and at Arch Methodist Church in Philadelphia
  • Teach Tai Chi to seniors at Wesley Enhanced Living at Stapeley (assisted living and nursing home)
Hunger and Basic Needs
  • Contribute non-perishable food items on a regular basis to the Upper Darby Food Bank
  • Deliver holiday meals and gifts to a family at Thanksgiving and at Christmas
  • Bring a contemplative caregiving approach to weekly visits with veterans in a local hospice setting
Addictions/Mental Illness
  • Offer a Mindfulness and 12-Step Recovery program at William Way Community Center
  • *Offered numerous meditation instruction programs for staff to share with residents at:

RHD Womanspace Philadelphia-female residential treatment program for dually diagnosed chronically homeless womenRHD Family House NOW-residential treatment facility for women experiencing mental illness and chemical dependence, and their childrenRHD Woman Space Ardmore-residential service that offers drug and alcohol addiction recovery and therapy in a home-based atmosphereRHD Family House Norristown-program that offers long-term residential treatment for chemically dependent women and their children*Program supported through a grant from The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for Buddhism in AmericaHIV/AIDS

  • Shared at support groups about how meditation can be helpful

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