Inner Kids Collaborative Founding Members
Long-time Inner Kids collaborator AtentaMente is an organization that provides Spanish-language mindfulness classes. AtentaMente was born from the understanding that we can change all of society when we make a change towards well-being for individuals. AtentaMente contributes to the emotional well-being of people through the sharing of mental training techniques and social emotional learning. We are fighting for a world where children are compassionate, not because it’s what’s expected, but simply because they acknowledge that the common purpose of avoiding pain and suffering and the search for well-being unites us all together.
Layla Nazarian Baradaran
Layla Nazarian Baradaran is a first-generation Jewish Iranian American and graduated from USC School of Cinematic Arts in 2020. She was introduced to mindfulness through Mindful USC, which opened her eyes to the beauty and balance of practicing. She is drawn to Mindful Writing and is a current student of fellow founding member Amy Spies. Layla’s professional mission is merging the intersectionality of storytelling and advocacy and hopes to use her exposure to mindfulness as a tool in cultivating that crossroad. She began working with the Inner Kids Collaborate through her long-standing family friendship with founder Susan Kaiser Greenland and is grateful for the experience of learning first-hand through the community of such experienced and strong women. Layla co-runs IKC’s social media presence, alongside Nada Ghaneian, and is driven by the power of daily mindfulness in empowering children and families around the globe.
A former journalist, Kelly Barron began practicing mindfulness nearly 20 years ago as a way to cope with the deadline pressures of being a reporter. Now, Kelly is passionate about helping others live with greater ease, clarity and kindness through mindfulness meditation. Kelly has been an Inner Kids facilitator working within schools for the past seven years. Additionally, she teaches for UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center, as well as within corporations and for eMindful, a leading provider of online mindfulness programming for companies and individuals. Kelly received her certification in mindfulness facilitation from UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and is a Unified Mindfulness Level Two Coach. She’s also maintains a professional level certification in mindfulness from the International Mindfulness Teacher’s Association. When not teaching, Kelly continues to write. Her work has appeared in Mindful magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Forbes magazine and numerous other publications. You can reach Kelly at www.kellybarron.com
Laurie Cousins is a trauma-informed nonviolent parent educator, motivational speaker, and mindfulness teacher with extensive training through the mindful centers of UCLA & UCSD. Along with being a trained mindful self-compassion teacher, she is also a lead teacher for Susan Kaiser Greenland’s Inner Kids program and teaches students, educators, and mindful parenting in both private and public schools throughout the Los Angeles area. Being trained in somatic-based therapies, Laurie is passionate about helping people find recovery from addictive behaviors and trauma. She has a private practice in Studio City and online where she specializes in helping youth, parents, and families reduce stress, build resiliency, and cultivate compassionate connections. www.healingwithmindfulness.com
Paula is a retired educator and long-time meditator. She taught elementary school children in public and private settings for many years before becoming the head of an independent elementary school that mainstreamed deaf and hard-of-hearing students. During her long career, she trained and mentored many educators in preservice and in-service settings as a university lecturer and educational consultant. Years ago, Inner Kids founder Susan Kaiser Greenland did some of her pioneering mindfulness work with children and teachers at the school Paula headed.
Contemplative practices have been an important part of Paula’s daily routine for over 18 years. She has sat numerous silent retreats and studied mindfulness and concentration practices via Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s dedicated and advanced practitioner programs. In retirement, one of her greatest joys has been exploring ways to introduce mindfulness to her two little grandsons. She is an advocate of the Inner Kids model and enthusiastic about supporting children and their families in developing mind-body awareness and the skills needed to navigate the ups and downs of everyday life with kindness and compassion.
Angelike Dexter loves sharing mindfulness and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) tools and wisdom with students of all ages. Since graduating from Susan Kaiser Greenland’s Inner Kids Facilitator Training in 2013, Angelike has continuously taught mindful awareness to children, parents, teachers, and families through schools, camps, and community organizations.
Angelike is also a trained MSC teacher (since 2015) and a graduate of the inaugural MSC for teens, “Making Friends With Yourself,” teacher training in 2016, and regularly teaches MSC at USC (both on the undergrad campus and at The Keck School of Medicine) and at InsightLA, where she is a teacher, the co-facilitator of the Mindful Parent Sitting Group, a member of the Teacher Development Group, and a graduate of their Facilitators Training (in 2018). Her current passion is sharing mindful and compassionate parenting strategies with parents and families, especially through her Mindful Parenting classes at USC, The Keck School of Medicine, and InsightLA.
In her personal meditation practice she has been particularly fortunate over the last few years to study with the Tibetan teacher Dza Kilung Rinpoche, head of the Kilung Monastery and author of “The Relaxed Mind.” A former attorney, Angelike truly enjoys her current life as a mindfulness/compassion teacher.
Ellis is grateful for the opportunity to blend her love of teaching young children with her passion for sharing mindfulness with kids, parents, and educators.
Ellis has worked in early childhood education for two decades. She developed the Pre-K program at Echo Horizon School in Culver City, California, where she is also the school’s Mindfulness Mentor. She takes great joy in being present for her young students, supporting their growth, and marveling at their capacity to be profound in ways that are unique to four and five year olds.
As the school’s Mindfulness Mentor, she shares the benefits of mindfulness by supporting its integration into student learning and by teaching it to faculty and parents. Ellis completed the year-long Training in Mindfulness Facilitation through UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center; trained with Susan Kaiser Greenland, a pioneer in adapting mindfulness practices for children; and is concluding Mindful Schools’ year-long Mindful Teacher Certification program. She has had a personal mindfulness practice for fifteen years and looks forward to silent meditation retreats during the summer months (even if they are from home this year!)
Nada has a Master’s degree from New York University in Early Childhood Education and Special Education and a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from San Diego State University. She has 18 years of experience as a child development professional. She is currently working on launching a program she and her colleagues have created to support children in their mindful awareness practices through yoga, mindfulness and art.
Nada’s mindfulness practice with children started at UCLA Early Care and Education, where she worked with infants, toddlers and preschoolers for 8 years. Nada is currently blending her mindfulness practices and yoga teachings in the various settings she is working in. She is a teacher of young children at a cooperative preschool in Palos Verdes, an Outdoor Classroom Coordinator at Cerritos College Child Development Center and a volunteer teacher at Peace 4 Kids, a non-profit organization for children in foster care. Nada is the current President of the Association of Child Development Specialist in Los Angeles, a professional organization for those who foster the adaptive development of children through creative programming, preventive intervention, and public advocacy.
Nada’s first expereinces with mindful awareness practices for children were with Susan Kaiser Greenland. She is now filled with joy and gratitude to be one of the founding teachers of the Inner Kids Collaborative.
Diana Urrea González
A psychologist that likes to look for distinct tools to support children in their difficulties, Diana studied Psychology at the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Occidente and has been dedicated to working with children and young people, in many ways – from being an English teacher up to accompanying children in individual processes. She has worked in camps in Mexico and Wisconsin in the US promoting communication, unity, and teamwork. She is also a Psychomotor educator in training, to accompany children’s play and steer their emotional development through the pleasure of acting and thinking. She has 9 years of experience in contemplative practices, such as the cultivation of attention. She is an avid cyclist who loves escaping to the beach. The Inner Kids Collaborative is so happy to welcome Diana through Inner Kids’ long-standing collaboration and friendship with AtentaMente.
Susan Kaiser Greenland
Susan is an internationally recognized leader in teaching mindfulness and meditation to children, teens, parents, and professionals. Through her books and the Inner Kids program, she played a foundational role in making mindfulness practices developmentally appropriate for young people and helped to pioneer activity-based mindfulness. Visit her website to learn more. www.susankaisergreenland.com
Eliko has been in education for over 29 years as an early childhood classroom teacher. She’s taught in public and independent schools in Tokyo, New York City, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles. Eliko focuses greatly on social emotional learning skills in her teaching, incorporating mindfulness activities in a variety of ways to give children access from many entry points. Her students learn skills to build awareness and kindness towards self and others. She is a Mindful Schools Certified Mindfulness Instructor, a Unified Mindfulness Level 2 Coach, and is finishing up her year long training in Cultivating Emotional Balance Teacher Training with Eve Ekman Ph.D and Ryan Redman. Eliko lives in Los Angeles with her son, enjoys swimming, hiking, and building her IMPROV skills.
Kelly Petrie has over 20 years of experience educating adults & children of all ages & diverse needs. She is the founder of Maitri Center for Mindful Living, LLC in Oregon WI, a space that is solely devoted to the cultivation of insight, awareness, and compassion through a wide range of contemplative practices serving people from all walks of life.
She holds an MA degree in contemplative education from Naropa University where she is adjunct faculty with the Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education. She received extensive training in how to teach mindfulness to children & teens from Susan Kaiser Greenland and Dr. Patricia Broderick. Kelly is a 500-hour Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher, an instructor and board member with YogAutism, Inc., and a practice leader with Tergar International meditation community.
Kelly has a special passion for bringing contemplative wisdom to the needs of individuals and families who experience autism in their lives. Her longtime personal practice in meditation, yoga & contemplative arts serves as the inspirational ground for her teaching.
Amy is a professional writer, writing teacher, and mindfulness teacher. She has always strived to tackle a fresh challenge, problem-solve, make the undoable possible, the un-heard listened to heard through self-expression.
Her writing credits in film, television, digital, transmedia, and videogames span fiction and non-fiction (also see https://www.amyspies.com/about). Amy mentors military veterans through the Writer’s Guild, and judges screenplays for the Writers Guild and PEN International Literary Association.
Her contemplative teacher training includes Mindfulness, Mindful-Based Stress Reduction, and Mindful Self-Compassion. Amy teaches a Mindful Writing curriculum she created for individuals and groups world-wide. Her intention is to help people connect with and express their authentic voices. Participants online-and-off include professional writers, writing students at universities including UCLA and USC, mindfulness practitioners, InsightLA, global human rights and communications organizations, and underserved individuals including those who have experienced homelessness, neuro-diverse issues, poverty, or have been incarcerated in the juvenile justice system.
Currently, she is finishing her first novel, developing Mindful Writing courses, evolving ongoing television projects, and writing a graphic novel. Amy studied literature, film, and psychology as a Harvard University undergraduate. She has continued social work/psychology graduate studies and has served on Harvard School of Public Health’s Executive Leadership Council.
Tania studied Philosophy at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana y Letras Hispánicas en la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She began her studies more than 15 years ago in techniques of attention and other contemplative practices. She has over10 years sharing these techniques with children and adolescents in diverse spaces. She loves to work with kids of all ages in science, technology, digital culture and other electronic media. She enjoys the rain, rainbows and the company of cats. The Inner Kids Collaborative is so happy to welcome Tania through Inner Kids’ long-standing collaboration and friendship with AtentaMente.
Deb Walsh has always been interested in helping children and families. In 2004 she founded a centralized regional website for busy parents, within the San Diego area: SanDiegoParent.com. Years later, upon moving to the Los Angeles area, she began her mindfulness journey by attending the UCLA MARC program.
Deb then studied under Susan Kaiser Greenland, author of The Mindful Child and Mindful Games and a leader in teaching mindfulness to children, teens, and families. Deb is a graduate of Susan’s 2012 Inner Kids Facilitator Training Course. It was during this time of working with Susan that Deb cultivated an activity-approach to mindfulness by mixing in both movement and music.
To encourage movement in her teaching, Deb received her certificate to teach children’s yoga from Jodi Komitor of Next Generation Yoga and has incorporated mindful movements into all of her trainings. Deb has taught teacher trainings for mindfulness instruction and also Intro. Classes at high schools in the greater San Diego area. She also conducts private sessions with children & families in both Scottsdale, AZ and San Diego, CA. You can reach Deb via her website: www.moment-mix.com
AtentaMente nace de la necesidad de tener un impacto en la sociedad a través de la transformación individual hacia el bienestar. Contribuimos al bienestar emocional de las personas a través de compartir técnicas de entrenamiento mental y aprendizaje socioemocional. Luchamos por un mundo donde los niños sean empáticos, pero no simplemente porque es lo correcto, sino porque reconocen que el propósito común de evitar el dolor y el sufrimiento, y la búsqueda del bienestar los une con los demás. En Atentamente A.C. contribuimos al bienestar socioemocional de México y el mundo de habla hispana. ¡Dona aquí!
Diana Urrea González
Psicóloga que le gusta buscar distintas herramientas para apoyar a niños en dificultad. Estudió Psicología en el Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Occidente y se ha dedicado a trabajar con niños y jóvenes, desde maestra de inglés, hasta el acompañamiento a niños en procesos individuales. Ha trabajado en campamentos en México y Wisconsin, Estados Unidos, promoviendo la comunicación, la unión y el trabajo en equipo. También es Psicomotricista en entrenamiento, para acompañar el juego de los niños y encaminar su desarrollo emocional a través del placer de actuar y pensar. Tiene nueve años de experiencia en prácticas contemplativas, como el cultivo de la atención. Es ciclista aferrada que le encanta escaparse a la playa.
Estudió Filosofía en la Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana y Letras Hispánicas en la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Desde hace más de 15 años comenzó sus estudios en técnicas de atención y otras prácticas contemplativas. Lleva 10 años compartiendo estas técnicas con niños y adolescentes en diversos espacios. Le encanta trabajar con niños de todas las edades, la ciencia, la tecnología, la cultura digital y los medios electrónicos. Disfruta la lluvia, los arcoíris y la compañía de los gatos