Conservatory Director Emeritus, New Conservatory Theater Center
Dr. Rina Shah
Head of Well Being Learning Programs and Strategy at Google
Tracy Smith, Psy.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, The Wright Institute
Justin Michael Williams
Artist, Writer and Mental Health Advocate
Strategist, UnitedHealth Group
MLP is always open to volunteers!
If interested, please email Theresa Cabral atTheresa@mindfullifeproject.org
Lots of Gratitude!
Founder & Director
JG is a graduate of Saint Mary's College in Moraga, where he received his B.S. in Psychology and was a 4-year scholarship player on the baseball team. After graduating from SMC, he felt a deep desire to work with children. At Age 22, he was hired to work as a Site Coordinator for Sports4Kids (now Playworks) at Laurel Elementary in Oakland and then Coronado Elementary in Richmond. In these early years, he built a strong connection eith the communities he served, and was focused on equity and creating a safe, fun, and engaging playground. After seeing immediate results on the playground and in seeing the affect it had on the school climate, he enrolled in the WCCUSD intern-credential program through Cal State University East Bay.
He received his Bilingual Teaching credential, and was highly motivated to bring the fun back into learning. His work in and out of the classroom was driven by the need to have high expectations for his students, and guide them into being leaders around the community. He built an invaluable relationship with the students, families and community. During this time he started to implement culturally relevant pedagogy, with an emphasis on the social-emotional aspect of the students.
In the last 8 years, he has led Mindful Life Project into being the biggest direct service mindfulness non-profit in the country. Mindful Life Project is highly regarded for its innovative direct service programs that specifically have been created to support students who have been exposed to high levels of adverse childhood experiences. He received his Mindfulness Certification by Mindful Schools in 2013.
JG brings a passion for providing youth deeply impactful services and programs that support student and educators mental and emotional well-being so that students can thrive socially and academically both at school and beyond. He is driven to work from a strong equity, social justice, and holistic lens in all the work he does. He is honored to have opportunities to work with schools, students and families. In creating Mindful Life Project he had the vision to provide programs in the lowest income and under-served schools, so that all students feel valued, empowered and given equitable educational opportunities. He is joined by an amazing and dynamic team that serves over 10,000 students in 9 Cities across the Bay Area and leads trainings and supports for schools across the nation.
Director of Human Resources & Culture
I found mindfulness, and rediscovered my meditation practice, after the birth of my son 6 years ago. Mindfulness absolutely provides the tools I need to navigate all of life's ups & downs. Having worked in education for many years and seeing first hand how impactful mindfulness can be for our youth makes me proud to be a part of MLP and support our staff in bringing this gift to our school partners. Being a mom of 3 doesn't leave me a lot of spare time, but I love cooking, my cat and playing on the floor with my kiddos.
Director of Finance & Data
Mindfulness has provided me with the tools to bring myself back to the present in moments when my mind wanders into the past or the future. I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2007 and have worked for & with youth from 2004 up until now. Although, I am no longer working directly with youth, my hope is to work for them by helping MLP thrive so that we can continue to provide the social emotional tools that will help them thrive and be successful in life.
Director of Development & Marketing
Mindfulness has impacted my life in that it's a resource that continuously helps me navigate my thoughts and emotions through the many situations we as people encounter in daily life in a way that is healthy for both myself and those I interact with. It allows me to see things from different perspectives and create thoughtful responses to everyone I engage with throughout my days. In addition to practicing mindfulness, I also enjoy being out in nature and recently picked up running again. At home, I enjoy reading psychological thrillers, learning about the plants in my garden and playing with my bunny James.
Director of Programs & Partnerships
I've found mindfulness to be a way of experiencing life at its fullest-connecting with myself, the trees, the sounds, the challenges, the joys and the incredible people all around me. My hope is to increase access to mindfulness in under-resourced communities, bringing social justice to the health and wellness field. All kids deserve the power and peace that mindfulness can ignite. When I'm not at Mindful Life Project, I'm usually out in nature, eating, and exploring creative endeavors.
Mindfulness is most helpful for me when I'm feeling overwhelmed or stressed. I simply slow down, take a deep breath, relax my body, and focus on one task at a time so that I'm giving it my full attention. I am a former teacher of 11 years, my wife is a 5th Grade teacher, I have two kids in college, and enjoy art and music.
Hello beautiful communities,
Mindfulness has impacted my life in many beautiful ways. It has offered me many tools and practices that support my well-being through life's challenges and celebrations. Being present with what is and naming what I am grateful for, big or small, is truly a gift. I think these tools can be valuable and beneficial to all no matter what life has to offer them. I hope that I can teach and remind our youth of the profound power and inner beauty that they each hold.
Lizbeth Gonzalez Garcia
Bio Coming Soon!
Hello beautiful communities,
I am passionate about mindfulness, especially in school settings, because practicing mindfulness has benefits that surpass the academic world. Students and families can enrich their health by managing stress and improving their cognitive ability. Even short sessions of mindfulness have long term impactful effects. I am a wife and a mother, two amazing boys. I enjoy going on bike rides with my family or just hanging out playing board games.
Mindfulness has drastically changed how I deal with stressful situations. Since involving the practices more in my weekly routine, I've found myself to be a more focused and happier individual. With these new skills, I've gotten the chance to further enjoy life through a new lens of control. Outside of my practice, I'm usually taking ankles on the basketball court, playing with my dog Hobbes or handing out losses in Madden.
I receive the world through a lens of Hip Hop culture, this culture inspires me to serve my community and if you ask me, Hip Hop is a mindfulness practice. MLP allows me the opportunity to serve, practice and educate all at once. When I'm not writing and/or recording, I'm exercising or exploring other creative avenues for deeper self expression.
Growing up in Richmond, CA, an environment where gun violence & poverty are the norm, it was very difficult to even think of the idea of practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness was not even introduced into my life until I was an adult. Since practicing mindfulness, I have learned to be in the present moment and catch myself before getting triggered enough to have a negative or explosive reaction. I have been blessed to have had a foundation of prayer and meditation which facilitates my mindfulness practice. Mindfulness has also provided tools that I can use on a daily basis, not just for when I am about to explode. These tools have helped me reduce my anxiety & stress. I am also able to appreciate and practice gratitude and heartfulness everyday, thanks to my mindfulness practice. Some hobbies I have outside of my practice are dancing, hiking, doing my makeup, watching comedies & journaling.
Mindfulness has shaped my way of being & opened me up to a whole set of tools that I wasn't aware of before. As a Richmond native, I find it empowering to grow self-awareness alongside my community. It does take constant effort to stay present, so when I need to let go, I dance it out! After years of practice I’ve found a flow that works for me and I hope that sharing that real life experience with my students can help guide them to what mindfulness means for them. I am grateful for this kind of work because it reminds me that all is well.
Si se puede y si se pudo!
Mindfulness is a profound practice that has the ability to transform people from the inside out. It allows us to become aware of all aspects of life and live more intentionally. This practice has transformed my life and I'm excited to share it with our youth & community. When I'm not with MLP, I enjoy spending time in Mother Nature, cooking, practicing yoga and studying consciousness.
Although the practice of being mindful is new to me, it has already begun to transform my life in a beautiful way. I notice that I pause & respond before reacting to things that would normally trigger me much easier. Embracing mindfulness has also inspired me to seek my next level of higher education in the field! I truly believe that mindfulness is both a life changing & life saving practice! I am super grateful to have it in my life.
Mindfulness has impacted my life greatly and has allowed me to grow with my relationships, my community, my family and within myself. Mindfulness allows me to improve my quality of life and how my life impacts others. Some hobbies outside of mindfulness include all things active, in particular basketball and ping pong! and of course fun fun fun.
Hello, my name is Cristal :) and mindfulness has truly been such a blessing and a bright light in my darkest times. Mindfulness has given me the gift to be in the present moment, to be grateful for my 5 senses, loving to oneself and anyone I encounter, also learning how to see not only my emotions but others too with no judgement. Healing oneself is the foundation to helping heal a community. In my free time, I enjoy taking walks in nature from journaling or capturing that moment, cooking, dancing, sitting in silence, spending quality time with family and friends.
Patricia Garcia Renderos
Mindfulness was taught to me as having the power to harness my own emotions in any given situation and to act from a place of grace & compassion. This tool has changed my life and has created more space for connection, healing, community, and self. Mindfulness allows me to show as the best version of myself because it allows me to tune into my intuition and resilience that lies deep in my lineage. Most importantly, it has made me center joy, as an educator, a mother, a Plantita worker, and as a partner. My hope is that marginalized people are able to use mindfulness as a tool to transform themselves and the beautiful communities they come from.
Mindfulness has impacted my life in a tremendous way. As I get older and the days get busier, I turn to mindfulness to center myself and go at my own pace with the flow of life. Looking in the mirror can invoke both the negative & competitive spirit within myself. But, when I look within my being, I can go inward and realize that the only thing that matters in life is the present moment and what I choose to do with it. That is mindfulness to me. As far as hobbies outside of mindfulness, I like to write music, spend time with family & loved ones and dedicate time to being present in nature.
Mindfulness has given me the tools to show up more fully in all areas of my life. As a Parent & leader, I can hold space with awareness and compassion. As an artist, I'm more curious, more playful and more connected with my spirit, instead of my critic. When I'm not facilitating art & mindfulness, I'm usually creating it with my playback theatre troupe or with my community shadow theater project.
Coach Terrence, an agent of social transformation, is peacock proud to join the Mindful Life Project family! Beyond lecturing at Los Medanos College in the Drama Department is a golden opportunity to build the community through mindfulness practice. Mindful breathing and focusing on the present moment, without judgment, has contributed to a better quality of life. Coach Terrence hopes to be a beacon of light, encouragement, and hope to all. He is grateful for his loving wife and two beautiful and handsome boys: Breslan (8 years old) and Brycen (6 years old).
Sawadee ka! Through the ups & downs of this life, practicing mindfulness keeps me grounded. Now I navigate through my emotions with more awareness and loving kindness. Mindfulness feels like a superpower of the brain and heart, and I am deeply grateful it exists. I wish to serve our youth the best I can, and help them to be compassionate to themselves & others. Outside of Mindful Life Project, I like to spend time with loved ones, theater, music and swimming.
Julio "Somos" Magana
Bio coming soon!
Bio Coming Soon!
Mindfulness is an act of love. It helps me stay centered and deeply connected to myself and to others. I am so blessed to be able to teach scholars how to practice mindfulness. Aside from teaching Mindfulness, I am also a certified Health & Lifestyle Coach. I am passionate about helping others tap into their power so they can truly thrive. In my free time, you might catch me outside, dancing, swimming or hanging out with my two beautiful daughters.
Angelo Monsalve Restrepo
Mindfulness has changed my life. It has changed the way I approach my emotional landscape and has allowed me to be much more accepting of the myriad of emotions that show up. Mindfulness has also taught me to be much more discerning of my thoughts. You're not your thoughts either. You must be vigilant with your mind. I find ways to incorporate my mindfulness practice into everyday life; Whether it be from eating a meal ( I love to cook), to taking a walk in nature ( I love Hiking). I work on being present with whatever it is I'm doing in the moment; to soak in the beauty this world has to offer us and practice non-judgement throughout! I've also exercised being much kinder to others and myself. In one simple word, empathy. You never know what someone else is carrying. Mindfulness is not just a practice to me. It's a way of life.
I grew up in the mountains of upstate, NY, where winding rivers and maple trees first taught me about the power of attention. In college, I became serious about meditation and realized how profoundly mindfulness could alter my course through challenging times. I went on to write a creative non-fiction thesis that wove personal narrative with research on mindfulness as a tool for social change. Outside of MLP, I love to dance, make art and cook long, complicated dinners.
Mindfulness has opened the doors to navigate with my emotions, instead of rejecting them. It made me see that the emotion of sadness is as much as an emotion of joy. Seeing my life through a mindfulness lens has undoubtedly helped me bring more awareness to myself and others. When I am not teaching mindfulness to my students, I enjoy spending time with my loved ones, out in nature, staying physically active, volunteering and baking.
Mindfulness supports the acknowledgment and acceptance of my existence, while giving me the space to progress with empathy and love. I truly believe mindfulness is an extremely important, and beneficial practice. This will be my third year with Mindful Life Project. I am beyond grateful to have this opportunity with students, to share tools that help them navigate through life. My likes and hobbies include hiking. mountain biking, traveling, art, chess, and crossword puzzles. I'm a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock!
Mindfulness has impacted my life in so many beautiful ways. Having a daily mindfulness practice has helped me rewire my brain to view life through a lens of gratitude, hope, peace and optimism. Even when life gets challenging, falling back on my mindfulness practice always brings clarity and a positive outlook to any challenge I'm facing.
Mindfulness has taught me how to notice and be aware when my mind drifts to thoughts of the past or future, and it has also taught me different skills that help bring myself back to the present moment, opposed to being caught up in my own thoughts. Aside from practicing mindfulness everyday, I enjoy reading, writing, hiking, mindful walks with my dog and spending quality time with family and friends. Before I became a mindfulness coach, I was a 5th grade teacher in Monterey County and I was living in Watsonville, CA, my hometown. Now, I reside in the Bay Area and I go around planting the seed of Mindfulness to anyone and everyone that I encounter.
Mindfulness has been deeply important to me in my life journey and has served as a continuous teacher. After years of living in the Middle East working with refugee communities and witnessing the profound impacts of conflict and trauma on the body, mind & spirit, I came to understand mindfulness as a path of healing, re-connection, and liberation. For me, mindfulness is a transformational practice of self-inquiry that has supported me in questioning the systems around me and my own conditioning. Mindfulness has supported me in becoming more intentional in how I go through the world, as well as in showing up as a more compassionate person to myself and all beings. Nature nourishes my soul, and on the weekends you can find me hiking, backpacking, swimming, surfing, or teaching & practicing Yoga. I speak Arabic & Spanish (at least attempt to) and love to connect to new people through language.
Mindfulness has helped me learn to live in the present moment, instead of worrying about the future or past. It allows me to be more intentional and present in my relationships, be more connected to my truest self, and to experience deeper and fuller joy. I'm inspired to share this practice with youth, who I honor & value as the great leaders & change-makers of our time and who deserve to feel the benefits of a mindfulness practice. In my free time, I prefer to be running on a trail, but I also enjoy camping & backpacking, playing soccer, baking sweets, reading, relaxing with my dog, and listening to records with my partner.
Child Advocate & Parent
Bio Coming Soon!
Geoff offers an accumulation of wisdom from 30 years of combined experience working in start-ups and Global 1000 companies. His tenure in high-tech marketing, branding, communications, and content strategy, has built a track record as a true trusted advisor.Most recently retiring from 13 years at SAP, a global enterprise software company, served as chief of staff to two CMO’s, one head of a market unit sales and one corporate president. Geoff’s last role at SAP was head of global content helping the company innovate its digital footprint thru effective content strategy, technology and creative talent. Geoff was one of the sponsoring executives and original advocates for the SAP Global Mindfulness Practice, now one of the largest corporate mindfulness programs in the world.
One of his other proudest accomplishments was founding co-chairperson of what is now known as Partners in Education, the community education foundation for the Palo Alto School District.
Geoff lives in San Francisco with his husband, Dan. They have five children and one grandchild who are scattered about the west coast. He’s an avid swimmer and self-prescribed yogi.
Meditation Specialist & Yoga Instructor
Inspired by her own success meditating, Hailey Lott is committed to sharing the practice with as many people as she can reach. Through meditation, movement, visualization, and sound, Hailey supports her community in expanding their current mindset in order to make the most of this human experience. She is Co-Host of The Mind Games Podcast, Self Love Sound Practitioner, Peak Performance Meditation Specialist, functional mobility yoga instructor, native Californian, and a passionate life enthusiast.
MD, Kaiser Permanante
Teresa was born and raised in Mexico City and then attended medical school at University of California, San Diego where she earned her medical degree in 2007.
She went into the medical profession because she enjoyed understanding the pathophysiology of disease. Her goal is the well being of all my patients, and to strive to do her best all the time and to treat everyone equally and with respect.
She chose to practice at the Kaiser Richmond Medical Center because of the chance to work with amazing doctors who are not only knowledgeable, but kind and helpful. She also enjoys serving the Richmond and surrounding communities.
When she is not caring for patients, her interests are nutrition, yoga, running and spiritual growth, as well as learning to be a good parent.
Conservatory Director Emeritus,
New Conservatory Theater Center
Andrew Nance is the Founder, Program Manager, and Lead Facilitator for Mindful Arts San Francisco (MASF),which brings mindfulness instruction to over a thousand students weekly. For almost two decades he was the Conservatory Director of San Francisco's New Conservatory Theatre Center (NCTC), providing educational theater experiences for thousands of Bay Area youth. His mindfulness training comes from Mindful Schools, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Omega and Esalen. He is the author of the book, PUPPY MIND. His second book, Mindful Arts: Practitioners Playbook for the Classroom and Beyond, will be available next fall. He attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where he earned his B.F.A. in Theater. He is on the board because of the transformative work Mindful Life Project is doing for the young people of the East Bay
Dr. Rina Shah
Bio Coming Soon!
Head of Well Being Learning Programs and Strategy at Google
Ruchika is the Head of Well Being Learning Programs and Strategy at Google. She leads a powerful community of 350+ Googlers across 100+ office locations to bring secular and science based Mindfulness and Compassion Learning programs to Googlers globally. In her 14 years at Google, she has been an advocate of meeting people where they are on their path to ongoing development, optimal well-being and sustainable high performance. Her daily meditation and yoga practice is grounded in increasing clarity in mind, purity in heart and sincerity in action. Outside of Google, Ruchika is an advisor to non-profit organizations and social ventures that bring well-being through mindfulness and compassion to underserved communities. She lives in the bay area with her two wonderful children and a loving husband.
Tracy Smith, Psy.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist,
The Wright Institute
Justin Michael Williams
Artist, Writer & Mental Health Advocate
Bio Coming Soon!
Josh Wright is a Senior Strategist at UnitedHealth Group (UHG), responsible for marketing the company’s key products to its largest clients. Prior to joining UHG, Josh founded Grant Consultancy, a grant writing and consulting firm focused on innovative workforce development initiatives for underserved populations in the Bay Area and across the country. In this capacity, Josh worked with a broad range of clients, including non-profit and community-based organizations, educational institutions, workforce and economic development agencies, labor unions, school districts, counties and employers. Josh began his career in Enterprise Risk Management at MSCI Barra, an investment analytics firm. He holds a degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Josh strongly believes in Mindful Life Project’s mission and vision where all students are able to participate and excel both socially and academically. As a Berkeley native, Josh is passionate about the Bay Area and is excited to spread the word about Mindful Life Project across the region.