Our team at Zen Caregiving Project is devoted and deeply dedicated to our work. Regardless of our title, we each see ourselves as caregivers and our lives are enriched by those we serve.
Alistair Shanks is the Volunteer Program Manager at Zen Caregiving Project where he has worked since 2004, first as a hospice volunteer and training facilitator, and in his current position since 2016.
He completed his clinical residency, (CPE), at UCSF and currently serves as a chaplain at both the Parnassus and Mission Bay campuses.
He has a Master’s degree from the Institute of Buddhist Studies at the Graduate Theological Union and has presented at the Association of Professional Chaplains conference and Harvard Divinity School.
Alistair has been a dedicated practitioner and teacher of the Daoist Internal Martial Arts of Tai Chi, Qigong, and Ba Gua for 27 years, something that has given him a deep appreciation for the wisdom and power of somatic practices to regulate and heal both body and mind. Past volunteer work includes leading mindfulness meditation sessions in the San Francisco County Jail and serving as a volunteer chaplain at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. He has played and toured internationally with several Bay Area bands for the past four decades.
As Supervising Instructor of Education Programs, Mary leads all Zen Caregiving Project’s (ZCP) course offerings. She is responsible for delivering teacher training, and she mentors emerging instructors and develops ZCP’s custom curricula.
Since starting with the organization as a volunteer bedside caregiver in 2005, Mary has also facilitated New Volunteer Trainings and served as Volunteer Program Coordinator.
Mary’s decades of mindfulness and compassion practices, along with personal experiences as a family caregiver, are the groundwaters of her teaching. Mary has also completed Buddhist Chaplaincy Training at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies and was trained at Stanford University to teach Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT™). She has dual CCT Instructor certification from Stanford University School of Medicine, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) and Compassion Institute (CI).
Roy, Zen Caregiving Project's Executive Director, has been an end-of-life caregiver and educator since 1997. He trained with Zen Hospice Project (ZHP) to become a volunteer and served at the bedside for six years at the Guest House facility before serving for seven years on San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital’s Palliative Care Ward. Roy served on the ZHP board of directors from 2002 until 2008. In 2008, he completed a yearlong end-of-life caregiver training at the Metta Institute in Sausalito, CA.
A dedicated practitioner in the Soto Zen tradition, Roy is a student at the San Francisco Zen Center. Roy is certified by the Stanford University School of Medicine, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), and the Compassion Institute as a Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT©) instructor.
Roy also guides wilderness-based rites of passage programs in partnership with EarthWaysLLC of Sebastopol, CA.
Sarah joined Zen Caregiving Project in 2022 and is the Chief of Staff. With more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector for both community and health services, Sarah brings a wealth of knowledge in cross-sector partnerships, fundraising, and sponsorships. She has been an adjunct professor teaching writing, journalism, and philanthropy courses at Whitworth University and Eastern Washington University.
Sarah is a writer having published articles in national journals and magazines on grief and loss as well as having co-written a chapter on child death in the United States for the graduate textbook, The World of Bereavement: Cultural Perspectives on Death in Families. She has also facilitated support groups in Eastern Washington through the MISS Foundation for the past 18 years bringing peer-to-peer support to families whose children have died.