Carin Winter – CEO, Founder & President

Carin Winter founded Mission Be, Mindful Education in 2014 and had brought their program to hundreds of schools in New York and California, trained thousands of educators and impacted over 100,000 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, MenloCollege, St. Joseph’s College and Long Island University.

Sarah Cruse, Mission Be, Mindful Educator & West Coast Outreach and Training Director, is a Certified Sound, Voice and Music Healer from the California Institute of Integral Studies.  She has worked as a Behavioral Therapist with the Los Angeles School District and as an Educational Specialist with the Foster Care department of Los Angeles Trade Tech College.  She had the fortune of partnering with the Reverence Project in Watts CA, a non-profit organization that was modeled after the Truth and Reconciliation work of South Africa’s Apartheid.  There, she served as a Truth and Restorative Justice Advocate, leading workshops and conversations around forgiveness and accessing our inherent gifts.  Sarah has worked as a Curriculum Developer and Workshop Facilitator for the Transformational Art Therapy (TAT) Center in Santa Monica CA, and Currently as a Special Curriculum Educator for the Santa Cruz School District.

Sarah has over 10 years of experience as a Singer/Songwriter, Poet, Performing Artist and Public Speaker.  She believes in the power of sound, voice and freedom of expression.  It is her desire to participate in the discovery, awakening and sharing of the individual and communal gift.  She is grateful for the opportunity to be a Mindful Educator for Mission Be as and to be able to share the gifts of Mindful Education.

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.

Lakiba Pittman, Mission Be, Senior Mindful Educator, is an educator, business consultant and creative artist with decades of leadership experience in corporate America/high tech, academia, and non-profit management.  She is currently the Director for the Office of Diversity and an Adjunct Professor teaching Race & Ethnicity at Notre Dame de Namur University and also a Senior Adjunct Professor at Menlo College teaching Diversity in the Workplace & Culture in Media.


Lakiba is certified by Stanford University’s Center for Compassion & Altruism Research & Education (CCARE) to teach Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT). Working with CCARE, the Compassion Institute and Compassion Corps, Lakiba is developing and delivering public classes and culturally relevant compassion training throughout the Bay Area. Her most recent classes include offering CCT to parents of Hunter’s Point STEM students at San Francisco State and at the Barbara A. Mouton Multicultural Wellness Center in E. Palo Alto, CA. Lakiba is also teaching Mindfulness at Los Altos High School and will be teaching at Mountain View High School in 2018 with the program Mission Be.

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 of 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.

Sabrina Scelza, Mission Be, Mindful Educator, holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in I/O Psychology. After school she began working at a boutique learning and development firm, co-producing an online program in communication for business executives. Sabrina has worked closely with business executives in assisting them communicating emotional expression.

For the past two years, Sabrina has been doing outreach for Mission Be on Long Island, while training to become a mindfulness educator. She is excited to fulfill her passion in helping the youth of today be the best that they can be! She also continues to work in the holistic medicine field at a health and wellness center where she helps patients to bring awareness to the mind-body connection.

Paula Odabasi, Mission Be, Mindful Educator, received her Master’s Degree of Education at Rutgers, and taught intermediate school both in New Jersey and California for 7 years prior to becoming a mother. Paula was blessed to stay at home with her children for 10 years, but kept current in the classroom by volunteering in her children’s classes. Paula also taught yoga, dance, and writing classes for summer camps and extracurricular activities and volunteered as a Girl Scout leader for several years. She often used mindfulness exercises in her classroom, and is excited about the opportunity to empower today’s youth with the ability to self-help in a world filled with distraction. She believes wholeheartedly in the curriculum of Mission Be and is grateful to be a part of the MIssion Be community.

Paula’s mindfulness practice began when she was younger and she took mindful walks in nature. She believes in the healing power of nature, breath, and mindfulness, and has seen its effects both in her life and in her childrens’ lives. Paula plans to continue her mindfulness journey by completing a yoga teacher certification in 2020.
In her free time, Paula loves walking her two rescued dogs, playing with her children and many pets, writing poetry, reading, baking gluten-free goodies, and gardening.

Eboni Hinnant, Mission Be, Mindful Educator, is a fashion model, educator, and self-published author in NYC. She began her journey in mindfulness in 2014 and studied its impact on learning in early childhood while obtaining her minor in Early Childhood Education and major in International Studies from the University at Buffalo (2017). She then went on to be a lead teacher at Success Academy Charter Schools and took to bringing meditation to her fourth grade classroom at the time and next, her second grade classroom (Summer 2017 – Fall 2019). Eboni has practiced meditation daily since 2016 and has been expanding her practice to her community and those who follow her on various social media platforms.

Eboni also has an intermediate yoga practice which allows her to show appreciation to the power of the breath and how it allows us to learn more about our minds, our movements, and our connections to the world around us. She has walked the runway for multiple designers in NYC and has done promotional photoshoots with various companies and clothing brands; aligning herself with organizations that share the same goal in empowering others, mindfulness, and purpose.

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.

Ashley Mulligan , Mission Be, Mindful Educator, comes from a large, loving family on Long Island and is the youngest of 7 siblings that have taught her to be adaptable, empathetic and strong. She is the proud aunt of 14 nieces and nephews and learns so much from them!

Ashley graduated from Dowling College with a Bachelor’s degree in Special and General Education and a Masters degree in Literacy Education. She is New York State certified in early childhood and elementary education. Ashley is also a licensed cosmetologist, practicing on the side with family and friends.

After receiving her masters degree, Ashley took an opportune job offer teaching English at a Private International Kindergarten and Toddler School in Frankfurt, Germany. While living and working in central Germany, she seized every spare moment to travel far and wide as frequently as her schedule allowed. Apart from being the Head Teacher at school. Ashley was fortunate to make valuable connections with many people through becoming a childcare provider for several families from various cultures and backgrounds broadening her understanding of people and their culture. Although she adored her time teaching abroad, Ashley decided to move to California where she explored mindfulness by working in a holistic wellness/chiropractic office, facilitating a wellness program and attending daily yoga classes on Sunset Cliffs.

Katie Hoernig, Mission Be, Mindful Educator, is a mother of two and a certified Physical Education and Health teacher. She is also a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer.

Her ultimate goal is to help students learn the skills and knowledge to live a healthy lifestyle. Katie has worked with students of all ages, from pre-school to college and loves being able to connect with them and show them her passion for yoga and fitness. Katie is elated to join the Mission Be team and guide students to experience the many amazing benefits of mindfulness and yoga.

Julie Ruggiero, Mission Be, Mindful Educator, 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 Master’s 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 firsthand 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.

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 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.