About Us

Mary Carol Dearing, LCSW-R

 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 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, LMSW


Margaret Root is a Licensed Master Social Worker currently working at Community Concern in Hamburg, NY, where she regularly integrates mindfulness in her therapeutic work with clients. 

Formally, Margaret worked as a regional liaison between the NYS Office of Mental Health and schools seeking to link students with mental health services to ameliorate challenges and difficulties.  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.  Recently, Margaret has been leading a semester-long mindfulness course  on behalf of the junior class at Sacred Heart Academy in Amherst.

Margaret’s training and experience with  mindfulness curricula includes Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Learning 2 Breathe, and Dynamic Mindfulness through the Niroga Institute.


On a personal note, Margaret enjoys art-making, skiing, cooking, gardening, and reading broadly. 

Dave Bauer, MS


 Several areas that Dave has dedicated his professional work include teaching environmental science, training others in creative nature play and mindfulness, and life coaching. He has a Master of Science degree in Education, and certifications in Creativity & Change Leadership, and Nature Play. 

Dave's mindfulness practice originated some 20 years ago with the training he received through the Himalayan Institute. He credits Rolf Sovik, current President and Spiritual Director, as being influential in his training. 

Among the benefits Dave experiences in his practice are clarity in living a healthy lifestyle and a growing capacity in living with attitudes of kindness, generosity and service.

  Recently, Dave has been leading a semester-long mindfulness course  for high school juniors at Sacred Heart Academy in Amherst.

Dave is currently working with local organizations helping them mobilize projects in which children, their families and community members foster creative nature play. His work with young children and teens fosters joy and satisfaction in seeing others grow in their awareness of living more fully. 

Dave loves the outdoors, hiking, biking and cross-country skiing.

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.