Ongiara Foundation Untitled Document

One student's story...

Karla Vandenbergh’s journey to Ongiara College of Acupuncture & Moxibustion began at age 6 when her family moved from Florida to Buffalo. A graduate of the University at Buffalo, she holds a BA with Honors degree in English Literature with a minor in Theatre and Dance. She is currently in her fifth year of teaching theater, fashion design, chorus, literature and self-awareness/conflict resolution to classes ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade at Tapestry Charter School in Buffalo, NY. She is also a Fine Arts teacher for the Salvation Army After-School Program and the Albright Knox Art Gallery. With over a decade’s experience of performance art and theatre, she has recently developed a solo show called Thundering Tara, inspired by traditional Buddhist chants.

Karla’s exploration of complementary and holistic health models arose from witnessing family members and loved ones struggling with physical and mental illnesses.   She has completed 5 years of a traditional apprenticeship with a master healer & Chinese Vajrayana lineage holder of the Five Petals of the Lotus Healing Art. This ancient healing lineage incorporates Tui Na and Emno (Chinese massage), acupressure, aromatherapy, osteopathic adjustments, acupuncture, and herbs. Karla has been particularly drawn to work with acupuncture and was inspired by the teachings of Lorie Dechar, master practitioner and Senior Faculty at Tri-State Acupuncture College and author of Five Spirits, who encouraged her to pursue studies at Ongiara College.

Ongiara College embodies much of the philosophy which drives Karla’s life.  Firmly grounded in the classics of acupuncture theory, the program at Ongiara encourages learning through experience, interaction, reflection and discovery in the natural world.  It takes its students on a “magical journey from the mysteries of Daoism…to the practice of acupuncture in the 21st Century”.  It demands more clinical hours than most other programs and, in the 3rd and 4th academic years, gives students the opportunity to work under supervision with the local community in the Ongiara College Clinic. Students will gain experience and exposure to the wide range of health conditions existing in the Fort Erie and Niagara region.  The Ongiara College Clinic will serve the many community groups and underprivileged citizens who live on both sides of the Niagara River.

Upon completion of her training at Ongiara College, Karla’s vision is to build a practice in the Buffalo area, committed to treating all who walk through her door.  No-one will be turned away because of inability to pay.  She also plans to hold free public education classes.  Her passions include the treatment of children, issues of integration, imbalances of the spine and mental illness. 

Karla has already been accepted onto the program at Ongiara College.  She hopes to begin her studies in September 2009 with the inaugural class at Ongiara.  Financial hardship is her only barrier. Will you help her realise her vision?

Thank you for your support!


Ongiara Foundation
187 Hodge Ave, Buffalo, New York, USA, 14222
641-715-3900 ext. 50634 |