Mental Illness and Addiction are Public Health Problems (Not Crimes) Afflicting the Privileged and Underprivileged Alike

“Mental Illnesss is NOT a Crime”

“Mental illnesses are treated successfully at the same rates as diabetes. With treatment, even acute cases can be ameliorated. Treatment works; recovery is real… If you do it right, it actually saves money. It improves public safety. It gives people their lives back.” — Judge Steven Leifman


Creating Great Cities through Mindful Leadership and Comprehensive Systems

Mindful Cities Pilot

Civic leaders across America are aspiring to build flourishing communities. They have a vision for breaking down the silos to bring mindfulness training to leaders across all sectors in their cities. Engaged on the ground, cities like Flint, Michigan, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Boston, Massachusetts are countering rapid change and uncertainty, isolation, divisiveness, health problems, environmental degradation, and economic uncertainty with innovative social strategies rooted in mindfulness, compassion, and inclusivity. Why not Miami, Broward, and Palm Beach?

New approaches to social infrastructure, just like good physical infrastructure, are needed for communities and schools to thrive.

VIDEO: Mindful Cities in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with Sara Flitner, (1:06)
VIDEO: Mindful Cities in Flint, Michigan with Gerry Myers(0:52)


Mindful Community-Based Programs and Mental Health

“Every locality, of course, has behavioral health programs. Some have outstanding programs. But what makes Miami different says Dan Abreu of Policy Research Associates, a think tank focused on behavioral and mental health issues, is that “they are really moving toward having a continuum of services. In short, the county is trying to build a comprehensive system.”
~ Governing Magazine – The States and Localities

Miami has long had a more acute problem than most. About 9 % of Miami residents suffer from mental illness — approximately 3x higher than the national average. It also has a large homeless population, most of whom have mental health issues and substance abuse problems. Yet Miami has emerged as a national model for how to develop strategies to combat the criminalization of mental illness.


In loving memory and honor: Ferris Buck Urbanowski

Ferris Buck Urbanowski, RIP

In loving memory and honor of my first MBSR teacher Ferris Buck Urbanowski who passed away on March 29, 2019. An early student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, she was among the first practitioners of Mindfulness-Based Meditation in the U.S.  For years she worked with her friend Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn as the Director of Training, Center for Mindfulness, UMass Medical Center.  Ferris taught at many spiritual centers, universities, and professional institutions including Tufts, Harvard, Pepperdine, Omega Center, as well as in Canada, Wales and Denmark.

Fall 2019 Classes

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program

UPCOMING FALL 2019 MBSR PROGRAM Reduce the symptoms of physical, psychological or emotional distress.

  • Call 305-668-3590 to add your name to the Participants List. Space is limited.
  • Format: Eight 2-½ hour weekly classes, All-Day Retreat, audio files and Workbook.
  • Orientation: Thurs., Sept. 19, 2019, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  • Classes 1 – 8: Thurs., Sept. 26 – Nov. 14, 2019, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
  • All-Day Retreat: Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019.
  • Tuition: $600 (general public). Some scholarships are available for public school teachers.
  • Location: Meditation hall. Free parking.


MBSR Grads program (new)

  • Evening MBSR Grads Group begins again Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 6:00 — 8:00 pm.
  • If you are a graduate of MBSR, please sign up by sending your RSVP email to Valerie York-Zimmerman at


Let’s Prevent More Tragic Heartache

U.S. Representative Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, a 2020 candidate for president and advocate for mindfulness, said in his book, “A Mindful Nation”:

“For a very small investment, we can prevent tragic future costs and heartaches in our communities. How much will we save in preventing substance abuse? How much we will save in preventing suicides and mass shootings because children feel isolated and alone? My goal is to get us to focus more on mental health and well-being in the most important asset we have in America – well-functioning human beings.” 


Emphatic Call to Action! – Parents, Teachers, Child Experts, and Community Leaders

In a National Institutes of Health article entitled “The Role of Mindfulness in Reducing the Adverse Effects of Childhood Stress and Trauma,” we can see how childhood stress can impact our lives as well as generations to come.

Toxic stress can result from single, prolonged stressors (recurrent emotional abuse), multiple stressors that become toxic (living below the poverty line and having limited educational opportunity), and/or traumatic experiences of greater emotional intensity or severity.