Tim Ryan to Visit Miami Classrooms to Raise Awareness About Violence and How to Develop Safe Schools and Mental Health

Support Mindfulness-Based Programs in Your School to Improve Mental Health and Reduce Stress, Bullying & Violence.

Berger Singerman Law Firm, 1450 Brickell Avenue #1900, Miami FL

Monday, April 23, 2018,  5:30 until 7:30 p.m.

U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan to Visit Miami Classrooms to Raise Awareness About Violence and How to Develop Safe Schools and Mental Health

Tim Ryan with family

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News Release: U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan to Visit Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Monday, April 23, 2018,  5:30 until 7:30 p.m.


U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan speaking to voters


long-term economic recovery and growth across the U.S.;
getting people back to work through innovative and high-tech initiatives;
a transformational approach to mental health across America;
Safe Schools that foster learning and healthy students;
a just and mindful approach to criminal justice and immigration;
long-term public policy for our future and environment;
and other important issues impacting our families and our community.


Prior to Reception in his honor, Representative Ryan will visit South Florida inner-city public schools to talk about Safe Schools – Importance of Mental Health – Ending Bullying, Aggression and Violence – Improving Learning Environments – Fostering Happy, Healthy Students.



At the home of  SHARON and MITCHELL BERGER
(Founder of South Florida Berger Singerman law offices)

MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2018,  5:30 until 7:30 p.m.

For reception details and
to make your secure online donation,
please make your contribution here.

Please R.S.V.P. to:
to confirm your attendance.

Dr. Leonard Zimmerman and Valerie York-Zimmerman invite you to join us.
Together we can build “A Mindful Miami.”
Valerie York-Zimmerman
Web: MiamiMindfulness.com
Facebook:  MiamiMindfulnesstraining
e-mail: ijourney@att.net Tel.: (305) 668-3590

Continue reading “News Release: U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan to Visit Miami-Dade County Public Schools”

Mindful Principles of .b Under Study at Oxford (Myriadproject.org)

MYRIAD (MY Resilience In ADolescence)  compares good quality social & emotional learning to .b (“Stop and be!”) an engaging program based on MBSR & MBCT which includes striking visuals, videos, activities and classical mindfulness practices.

Study with 6,000 participants is underway at Oxford with funding from the Wellcome Trust. Outcomes substantiate the importance of .b for Teens currently being taught by Miami Mindfulness in collaboration with Coral Gables Congregational Church. – Valerie York-Zimmerman

Research and Science of Mindfulness

According to Mindfulness Research Monthly (Black, 2010), neuroscience research on the benefits of mindfulness has become more prolific. In recent years there has been a surge in NIH-funded research trials in the U.S. In 2008, even the U.S. Department of Defense began using mindfulness practice as part of its treatment for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to Black (2010), a meta-analytic review by Sawyer, Witt and Oh in 2010 found that mindfulness-based therapies had a dramatic effect on improving both depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness-Based Training for Adults

Research among the scientific community has grown exponentially with researchers from leading institutions around the world including – Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Oxford, Cambridge, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and others – leading the way. Numerous studies now show that mindfulness practice can have a profound impact on our emotional wellbeing, physical health, ability to cope with stress and challenges, relationships, and performance.

Brain scanning technologies reveal that not only does the activity of the brain change from moment to moment but the actual structure of the brain itself can change. New synaptic connections can form among brain cells and new brain cells can develop. Practice has been shown to lead to growth of key brain regions associated with emotional regulation, concentration and self-control, as well as reductions in grey-matter density, the area of the brain central to the stress response, fear and anxiety.

Mindfulness-Based Training for M-DCPS Teachers and Counselors

In the 2015-2016 school year a research study was conducted on a Professional Development Pilot Program for Miami-Dade County Public School Teachers and Administrators based on the Inner Journey ~ Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (IJ-MBSR) Program, the MBSR adaptation developed and taught by Valerie York-Zimmerman beginning in 2002.

As Founder of, Executive Director, and Senior Trainer for Mindful Kids Miami, from its inception through 2016, Valerie taught the 200 teachers and mental health school counselors from 100 schools who participated in the Pilot Program during the 2015-2016 school year. Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is the 3rd largest and one of the most diverse districts in the U.S.

The study was a research collaboration led by David J. Lee, Ph.D., University of Miami’s Department of Public Health Sciences, Judson Brewer, M.D., Ph.D., Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, and Tarek Chebbi, Ed.D., Chair, Research Review Committee of M-DCPS.

Study description and conclusions were included in a project supervised by Dr. David Lee in the UM – UMass REDCap System collaborative study entitled “Effectiveness of Mindfulness Training on the Well-Being of Educators.”  It was a UM Medical School IRB and Miami-Dade County Public Schools approved study, which objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of mindfulness training on teachers and administrators that participated in the 8-week  Inner Journey ~ Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (IJ-MBSR) Program training.  The “Effectiveness of Mindfulness Training on the Well-Being of Educators” study was embedded in the IJ-MBSR Program as a pilot program for Miami-Dade County Public Schools Professional Development and Evaluation.

These results suggest improvements in self-compassion and mindfulness, and decreased levels of anxiety in individuals that participated in the IJ-MBSR 8 week program. These findings are consistent with previous research on the benefits of mindfulness practice.

Other Research Studies on the IJ-MBSR Program for Adults

During the two years prior to the M-DCPS IJ-MBSR Pilot Program, research studies with adult participants in all of the Inner Journey~ Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (IJ-MBSR) Programs taught by Valerie York-Zimmerman were overseen and evaluated by Sharon Theroux, Ph.D., neuro-psychologist and founder of the South Florida Center for Mindfulness.  Pre- and Post- Surveys which included the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), Zung Anxiety Scale, and Self-Compassion Surveys were conducted.

Analysis of the data from all adult participants in the IJ-MBSR trainings resulted in significant improvements in each area: reduced anxiety, increased compassion, and improved mindfulness.

The Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) measures improvements associated with positive well-being something that is necessary to help reduce burnout. Higher scores in the “observing” facet are associated with good psychological adjustment. (Baer, 2008).  The five facets are:

1. Observe surroundings
2. Describe thoughts and emotions
3. Act with awareness
4. Be non-judgmental
5. Be non-reactive in day-to-day life

Mindfulness-Based Training for Children

The body of research on mindfulness training for children and teens continues to grow. There is now evidence to show the impact which mindfulness has on the prefrontal cortex and interconnections involved in attention, working memory, executive function, emotional and behavioral regulation, all of which are relevant to academic, psychological and social well-being and the success of youth today.

Several more prominent school-based interventions (Napoli, 2002; Napoli, 2004; Napoli, Rock Krech, and Holley, 2005; Flook et al. 2010;  Rechtschaffen and Cohen, 2010) focused on mindfulness training for elementary school students. Linda Lantieri’s work in New York City after 9/11 with children in crises culminated in interventions for students and teachers (Lantieri and Goleman, 2008). Willingham (2011) notes that teachers who use emotion regulation skills in their classrooms can improve the self-control capacities of their students.

In the 2011-2012 school year, Mindful Schools partnered with the University of California at Davis to conduct the largest randomized-controlled study to date on mindfulness involving 915 children and 47 teachers in 3 Oakland public elementary schools in a high crime area.  Substantive behavioral improvements were apparent after just six weeks of training.

Mindfulness teachers in the study had a strong mindfulness background, which is a key determinant of success when teaching mindfulness.

As Jon Kabat-Zinn stated in an article in Mindful, February 2014,

“The brain science has become very rigorous. A lot of credit obviously goes to Richie Davidson in his lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. Their work is unique and focuses on both basic science and translational research, which takes place in real-life settings such as Madison’s public schools.”

When Mindfulness Meets the Classroom (The Atlantic)


Read the original 2015 article at The Atlantic


Many educators are introducing meditation into the classroom as a means of improving kids’ attention and emotional regulation.

A five-minute walk from the rickety, raised track that carries the 5 train through the Bronx, the English teacher Argos Gonzalez balanced a rounded metal bowl on an outstretched palm. His class—a mix of black and Hispanic students in their late teens, most of whom live in one of the poorest districts in New York City—by now were used to the sight of this unusual object: a Tibetan meditation bell.“Today we’re going to talk about mindfulness of emotion,” Gonzalez said with a hint of a Venezuelan accent. “You guys remember what mindfulness is?” Met with quiet stares, Gonzalez gestured to one of the posters pasted at the back of the classroom, where the students a few weeks earlier had brainstormed terms describing the meaning of “mindfulness.” There were some tentative mumblings: “being focused,” “being aware of our surroundings.”Gonzalez nodded. “Right. But it’s also being aware of our feelings, our emotions, and how they impact us.”

Arturo A. Schomburg Satellite Academy is what is known in New York City as a transfer school, a small high school designed to re-engage students who have dropped out or fallen behind. This academy occupies two floors of a hulking, grey building that’s also home to two other public schools. For the most part, Gonzalez told me, the kids who come here genuinely want to graduate, but attendance is their biggest barrier to success. On the day I visited, one of Gonzalez’s students had just been released from jail; one recently had an abortion; one had watched a friend bleed to death from a gunshot wound the previous year. Between finding money to put food on the table and dealing with unstable family members, these students’ minds are often crowded with concerns more pressing than schoolwork.

Still holding the bowl, Gonzalez continued with the day’s lesson. “I’m going to say a couple of words to you. You’re not literally going to feel that emotion, but the word is going to trigger something, it’s going to make you think of something or feel something. Try to explore it.”

Read the original 2015 article at The Atlantic

Copyright © 2015 The Atlantic

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Mindfulness – U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan

Ryan says mindfulness practice gives him a feeling of calm that allows him to manage his day, especially necessary in an increasingly bitter Washington.

Rep. Tim Ryan
Rep. Tim Ryan

It’s 95 degrees, I have sweat in my eyes, and I’m squinting at four women in brightly colored Spandex tops and cropped pants. That’s when I spot the guy who suggested I try this yoga class. The congressman has flipped his dog.

He’s turned his downward dog almost inside out—back bent, belly up. The moment offers one answer to the central question of this story: How does Representative Tim Ryan truly live his mindfulness practice? As I stick with downward dog, he looks like he could hang out upside down all day, and the more I get to know him, it’s clear his steadiness is not limited to the yoga mat.

Ryan, 39, is not one of those bomb-throwing members of Congress, the type who generates sensational headlines on Hardball. No, he’s not that Ryan, the one who was on the Republican presidential ticket. He’s the Democrat.

The one who has quietly continued winning races in his Ohio district.

The one with “that mindfulness thing,†as one of his fellow members put it. Ryan’s book, A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit, reads a bit like what presidential candidates publish two years before they start to show up at the Iowa State Fair, full of broad statements like this one from the close: “It’s helping us all recapture the spirit of what it means to be an American. Join us.â€

By Christina Bellantoni;  Photographs by Mark Mahaney

Continue reading “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of MIndfulness” here… (PDF)