The seeds of Grow Mindful WNY were established in 2015 when a local group of Western New York social workers and educators came together to imagine how they might share mindfulness with the youth of our community.
Mary Carol is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor through the Association for Play Therapy (a4pt.org). As a school social worker for 30 years in a local district, Mary Carol worked with children and families integrating mindfulness-based practices in her work with youth.
Having been part of the national movement in teaching mindfulness to students within the classroom setting, Mary Carol has worked with educators and teams to build program sustainability. She was instrumental in the development of a mindfulness initiative in her school district. As a partner and founder of Grow Mindful WNY, Mary Carol sees the great potential for sharing these practices in the larger community.
Mary Carol has completed extensive mindfulness training to nurture her own practice and to bring these practices to the children and youth she serves. Among others, she has trained with Mindful Schools, Tara Brach, Daniel Siegel, Jack Kornfield, Susan Kaiser Greenland, Christopher Willard and Linda Lantieri.
Whatever the season, Mary Carol spends much of her free time outdoors. Hiking, snowshoeing, biking and gardening are among her favorite ways to enjoy the natural world.
Margaret Root is a Licensed Master Social Worker who has worked in and alongside many schools throughout her career (urban, suburban & rural). Having worked as an art teacher, curriculum representative, K-8 social worker, and as a program facilitator on behalf of the NYS Office of Mental Health, she has always sought a broader cultural lens through which schools might evolve: from strictly focusing on academic ends and (gradually) toward becoming more holistic systems that recognize the priority of nurturing youth as holistic beings.
With the ever-growing research-base confirming the resilience benefits of mindfulness (that she has long known from personal experience), Margaret is an enthusiastic advocate for and teacher of mindfulness in schools. Margaret’s training and experience with mindfulness curricula includes Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Learning 2 Breathe, and Dynamic Mindfulness from the Niroga Institute (soon to be certified for teaching other trainers with Niroga’s endorsement).
Having worked with a wide range of student populations and school cultures over nearly 30 years, Margaret has the grounding to collaboratively adapt and tailor a mindfulness program to suit the particular needs of diverse groups. Her most recent assignment has been leading a semester-long mindfulness course on behalf of the junior class at Sacred Heart Academy in Amherst.
On a personal note, Margaret enjoys art-making, skiing, cooking, gardening, and reading broadly.