Our Story

Mindful Kids Miami, Inc. (MKM) is a tax-exempt, 501 (c)(3), non-profit corporation dedicated to making age-appropriate Mindfulness training available to school children in Miami-Dade County public and private schools. This is primarily accomplished by training educators and other child care providers to incorporate Mindfulness practices in the children’s daily activities.   MKM also provides a variety of Mindfulness classes and trainings for adults who wish to enhance their personal well-being, and offers Mindfulness training to hospitals, healthcare centers, and other institutional settings.

MKM’s Mindfulness programs are based upon and adhere to the principles and teachings of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Programs created at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic, which is part of the School’s Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society.  The Clinic, which was founded in 1979 by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, has achieved worldwide acclaim for its Mindfulness teaching and certification programs, and is networked to mindfulness-based facilities in 80 countries on six continents.  Dr. Kabat-Zinn’s pioneering concepts, initially directed to helping patients suffering from chronic pain and stress, have been well documented over the years as providing a wide range of health benefits, and are now an accepted part of mainstream medicine which is studied at the National Institute of Health (NIH) and major universities.

Research has demonstrated that children in today’s schools are experiencing escalating levels of stress which impedes their ability to learn, impairs brain development, and affects behavior.  Mindful Kids Miami was established in 2011 for the purpose of bringing mindfulness training and techniques into the schools of Miami-Dade County.  To that end, MKM instituted an MBSR program for educators and community members, and developed a Mindful Teachers’ Training Program (MTTP) to teach educators and other adults who work with children how to bring presence and mindfulness practices to the children the serve. From the inception of MKM in 2011 until 2016, MKM founders, Valerie York-Zimmerman and her husband, Leonard, directed MKM with their belief in providing mindfulness training to child educators as the most beneficial method of facilitating mindfulness practice to children and teens. MKM continues to support and highlight the evidence-based method of providing educator mindfulness training, so that presence and embodiment are emphasized while weaving mindfulness practices or ‘play’ throughout the students’ school day.

Today, MKM is flourishing and has achieved a number of significant milestones, including entering a third year of our groundbreaking professional development program for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the 4th largest school district in the nation. More than 600 teachers, counselors, and other school site educators have participated in our core mindfulness trainings: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and the Mindful Teachers’ Training Program (MTTP).  MKM has provided and continues to offer quality training for teachers in private schools and for professionals in other private settings, including hospitals and corporations. In January of 2017, MKM held its first and very successful First Annual Ambassador of Mindfulness Luncheon honoring Superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, and acknowledging passionate advocates of mindfulness in schools from our community.  MKM has also proudly increased our cadre of skillful and professional mindfulness teachers. Our organization is also actively involved in scientific research in collaboration with the University of Miami and University of Massachusetts Medical School, Center for Mindfulness.

MKM continues to create new partnerships and programs for the benefit of our community led by professional mindfulness teachers, including:

  • Achieve Miami
  • Breakthrough Miami
  • Centro Mater Child Care Center
  • Educate Tomorrow/Summer Scholars
  • Honey Shine Inc.
  • The Children Bereavement Center
  • The Early Learning Coalition
  • United Teachers of Dade
  • United Way
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Mission

We seek to bring the benefits of mindfulness to children from pre-K through the 12th grade in Miami-Dade County and throughout Florida. Mindful  Kids Miami helps educators, health providers and caregivers teach mindfulness skills to children and youth in schools and other settings.

Our Vision

To improve the lives of all children in the community by giving them access to mindfulness skills which reduce stress and anxiety, develop attention and focus, promote emotional regulation and impulse control, teach empathy and compassion, and create a sense of well-being.