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 training for adults who wish to enhance their personal well-being, and brings mindfulness training into 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 taught 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 others, and developed a Mindful Teachers’ Training Program (MTTP) to teach educators and others who work with children how to bring mindfulness techniques and practices into their classrooms. In the five years from the date of its founding in 2011 until their leaving the organization in 2016, MKM’s founders, Valerie York-Zimmerman and her husband, Leonard, infused MKM with their belief that providing mindfulness training to teachers of children in grades from pre-kindergarten through 12th, would allow the benefits of mindfulness to be brought to the children in their classrooms. Following the founders’ departure, responsibility for ensuring the welfare and continuing growth of MKM, and the continuity of its vision, was passed to existing officers who then assumed executive leadership of the organization.
Today, MKM is flourishing and has achieved a number of significant milestones, including having successfully completed a public school pilot teaching program, fruitfully concluding discussions with Miami-Dade County to provide training to public school teachers, and providing training for teachers in various private schools and for professionals in other private settings, including hospitals. MKM is also actively involved in research intended to analyze and quantify the impact of mindfulness teaching upon students in school settings. In addition, MKM is continually creating new partnerships and programs for the benefit of all who participate in them. MKM continues to offer a variety of mindfulness programs led by professional mindfulness teachers, including:
MKM remains dedicated to the achievement of its mission, and welcomes the assistance and support of educators and members of the local community and its environs.