Carin Winter – CEO, Founder & President

Carin Winter founded Mission Be, Mindful Education in 2013 and had brought their program to hundreds of schools in New York and California, trained thousands of educators and impacted over 148,000 students. Carin is a Licensed Master Social Worker, completing graduate school with the highest honors, Summa Cum Laude from Adelphi University. She has extensive clinical experience working with youth in schools, foster care and the juvenile justice system.

Carin founded and maintained Healing Arts of the South Shore, a private counseling and healing practice for over a decade, as well as Embrace Yoga Studio in NY for eight years. She also spent ten years as a school social worker in New York specializing in substance abuse. Carin co-chaired the Islip Drug Education and Awareness Task Force for 10 years combating substance abuse and the heroin epidemic on Long Island.

Since 2015, she has been a committee leader with the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Social Movement in Sandy Hook, CT. She is also an advisory member to GIFT, the Global Investment Foundation for Tomorrow and a member of the advisory board at Global Mana. She is a speaker for Safe and Sound Schools founded in Sandy Hook, CT.

Carin has presented at: The White House, The Palo Alto VA Hospital, Singularity, Facebook, Tiger 21, Americorp, CIIS, The NY Open Center, The Omega Institute, Wisdom 2.0, the Assemblage, Santa Clara University, Menlo College, St. Joseph’s College and Long Island University. She has also served as a substitute teacher and guest lecturer at Stanford University.

Julie Ruggiero, Mission Be, Senior Mindful Educator & East Coast Coordinator

Born and raised in Long Island, New York, comes from a large family that continues to grow in size. After working many years within the fashion and entertainment industry, she decided to follow her true path of helping others. Julie received her Masters Degree in Social Welfare from Stony Brook University. While in school she realized her passion and motivation to work with children and adolescents, helping them lead stronger and healthier lives.

She has always been an avid yoga and mindfulness enthusiast and knows first-hand the power and positive effects that these practices hold. Julie’s ultimate goal is to share these mind body techniques so they can utilize these practices throughout their lives. She is very excited to have joined the Mission Be Community and can’t wait to spread positivity throughout the schools and communities.

In her spare time Julie has been creating a volunteer based organization, offering social support for young adults. She also loves spending time with her family and friends, gardening, singing, and cooking. She truly believes that staying present, mindful and kind to one another are the most important key values in life. Her wish is to inspire others, much in the same way she has been inspired by the people that have helped shape her life.

Arielle Klopsis, Mission Be, Mindful Educator

Arielle is a student at Hofstra University on her way to getting her PhD in Clinical Psychology. She has a master’s from the CUNY Graduate Center in Cognitive Neuroscience and is fascinated by the brain/body connection. Arielle has been using mindfulness in her daily life for almost 10 years and has been using it in her therapy practice with clients at the Hofstra clinics. She has worked at Mission Be as a mindfulness educator since 2019 and has enjoyed teaching a variety of grades and even translating lessons into Spanish for the bilingual students. Arielle has a way of making people feel comfortable and seen just as they are and believes that focusing on your mental health is such an important part of learning and growing.

Natasha Cruz, Mission Be, Mindful Educator

Is a John Jay College of Criminal Justice alumna. She has graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Forensic Psychology. She is familiar with comprehending individual behavior, in terms of its biological, cognitive, social, and emotional components and their interaction, and its effect on the broader community.

In addition, Natasha is planning on earning her Masters in Mental Health Counseling. She believes there is nothing more important than being there for others. Moreover, as a first-generation college student, and daughter of Dominican immigrants, Natasha believes in empathy and always lending a helping hand. Therefore, she is excited to help bring mindfulness into the Hispanic/Latinx community with the leadership of Mission Be.

Stephanie Tolino, Mission Be, Senior Mindful Educator

Received her Masters degree in School Counseling and her Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology. Upon receiving the Masters in Education in 2013, Stephanie completed the Mindful Educator training and began educating students in Long Island school districts. She has taught in Islip, Fire Island, West Islip, Herricks, as well as the Bronx.

Since joining the Mission Be team, Stephanie has become a certified yoga teacher and a holistic health coach. She regularly visits office buildings and yoga studios, teaching yoga and mindful meditation. In the early mornings, you can find Stephanie at home teaching one-on-one virtual English lessons to students in China.

Some of Stephanie’s personal interests include singing, playing the guitar, and cooking vegan food. Stephanie is passionate about Mission Be, its curriculum, and its impact. She sees through student feedback and participation in both the need and desire for this work. Not only does it benefit the children, but Stephanie says it also serves as her own personal reminder and daily inspiration to live mindfully.

Elizabeth Kieffer, Mission Be, Senior Mindful Educator

Is a practicing life coach, counselor, and mother, with a deep desire to make a positive impact in this world. She was intent on bringing joy, comfort, and healing to all those around her since she can remember.

Alongside her family she began meditation at the age of nine and continued to explore and practice many meditation techniques and philosophies over the next 40 years. She attended Stony Brook University for her Performing Arts but was soon inspired by her calling to help others. She pursued a life coaching certification, learning valuable resources in the study of breath, the brain, belief management, active and compassionate listening skills, and a great deal more.

After the birth of her son, her attention and focus grew for children and their early development. She attended Kindermusik University and upon receiving her certification, started a business as music educator for children ages 1-7. The following 9 years she volunteered as a Sunday school teacher at her church and was also later appointed as the children’s music director for over 7 years. In 2017 and 2018 she was the Music teacher at Hazleton prep preschool.

In her free time Elizabeth enjoys gardening, baking, singing or just sitting quietly in nature with her dog Shakespeare. She still likes to give back to the community by helping in a nearby soup kitchen and food pantry delivering food to families in need.

Madeleine Pizey , Mission Be, Senior Mindful Educator & West Coast Coordinator

Is a meditation and yoga teacher, mindfulness consultant, and student for life. Her ultimate goal in life- to help people have more clarity. Her deepest desire is to truly help others find ways and tools to make a significant impact on their self-acceptance and find freedom within this busy world in which we live.

Madeleine’s passion for self-study brought her to Southeast Asia, where she began to practice Ashtanga yoga daily. This eventually took her to India, where she completed 200 hours of training with Vijay Amor. When Madeleine returned to the States, she continued to study and complete numerous yoga and meditation teacher training’s (over 900 hours) from Level One Journey Into Power teacher training with Baron Baptiste to completing 500 hours of training through the Teacher Study Project with Coeli Marsh. Madeleine studied yoga, meditation, and mindfulness with her mentors Coeli Marsh and Masaaki Okamura, and is deeply grateful to have the opportunity to study and learn from all her teachers. Alongside her training, Madeleine was pursuing a master’s degree in Mindfulness at Lesley University, where she has embarked on silent retreats and has significantly deepened her meditation and mindfulness practice. She has taught mindfulness in school systems, to homeless shelters, and corporations.

Marnie Herlands, Mission Be, Mindful Educator

Received her Master’s degree in Art Therapy/Counseling and her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts/Photography. Marnie continued on to become an ATR-BC and licensed creative arts therapist in New York. She has continued to pursue her passion of aiding individuals in building adaptive coping skills utilizing the art process as a forum for healing and self-expression. Over the past three years, Marnie became drawn to and witnessed the benefits of yoga and a range of expressive modalities, as well as mindfulness meditation. She is inspired by both the practice and teaching yoga and hopes to spread the powerful benefits of mind-body practices to others.

Marnie has worked with many ages ranging from children and adolescents to senior adults and finds that people are all connected in their innate capacity to love and be loved, and in their desire to be seen and heard. Marnie is so excited to join the Mission Be team and to guide individuals in experiencing the benefits of mindfulness. Marnie has also facilitated individual art therapy sessions and groups for over five years. Most recently, she leads virtual community art classes and co-facilitates an art therapy/caregiver support groups for individuals living with memory impairment and their families.

Some of Marnie’s personal interests include photography, reading, yoga, art, traveling, her love for dogs and taking relaxing walks in nature. Marnie is motivated to live more mindfully in all aspects of her life, as she is beginning this new journey as a Mission Be, Mindful Educator.

Jacqlyn Melita, Mission Be, Mindful Educator

Is a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher and the only certified in FitYoga on the east coast in the United States. She traveled to the Island of Malta in the Mediterranean for her training and has brought back her techniques and experiences to share with the world. She is obtaining her MEd in School Counseling as she pursues her passion with Mindfulness. She is obsessed with her rescue Pitbull, Chance, believes meditation is life changing and loves spending her time off with her family.

Kathryn Carney-Falkman, Mission Be, Mindful Educator

I have been a dedicated early childhood educator for 27 years with a degree in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in psychology. For ten years I had the privilege of working as a preschool teacher and a summer camp supervisor for elementary school aged children for the Town of Islip.

I also worked in their after-school enrichment program for kindergarten to fifth grade students at the Brentwood Recreation Center as a counselor. I find great joy and inspiration in working with children of all ages. After the birth of my own three daughters, I chose to continue my work from home successfully running my own home daycare for the past 17 years during this time. I also worked with local cooperative preschools serving on their boards, teaching mommy and me classes, and working as a substitute teacher. I have also been a Girl Scout Leader since 2011.

My personal mission has always been to facilitate a safe space for children to grow through meaningful experiences. Together we explore our natural environment, art, literature, dramatic play, music, and movement. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my husband and daughters, camping, hiking, paddleboarding and cooking. I look forward to continuing my work with children.