What IS Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is noticing what is happening now, without judgement.
It is a powerful tool that has been shown to decrease stress,
and increase concentration, impulse control, emotional regulation and empathy.
Our program curriculum, based on best-practices and evidence-based research in the fields of child psychology and trauma informed care, teaches mindfulness and “heartfulness” practices. Mindfulness practices are a moment-by- moment awareness of thoughts, emotions and sensations. “Heartfulness” practices nurture kindness and compassion for self and others. We do this through teaching skills like mindful breathing, mindful listening (to ourselves and to each other) mindful movement, and taking notice of our thoughts and emotions without judgment.
You can't “absorb info” in fight, flight or freeze states. In order to be able to absorb information at a deep level, our nervous system needs to be in a focused and receptive state.
Youth need a “nervous system” tool kit. Mindfulness helps develop self-regulation, the ability to notice the condition of our nervous system and “shift gears” if needed.
Mindfulness allows the pre-frontal cortex to come back online. Without these tools, other more conceptual tools (communication skills, conflict resolution) become less effective, because the nervous system is not in “the right gear” to use them.
Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
What Is: Mindfulness (WIM) brings mindfulness education to children and adults in Philadelphia.
We offer tools, grounded in trauma-informed care and neuroscience, to empower participants to apply 'awareness with compassion' to self and others.
Mindfulness is an avenue towards
emotional regulation, empathy, and embodiment.
WIM is committed to the accessibility of wellness & healing.
We hold social justice as a foundational value, and offer mindfulness as a tool to navigate systems of inequity.
We envision a mindfulness community that tends to
self-awareness, compassion and empathy, in order for participants to feel free and whole.
Meet the WIM Team
Beth Jellinek is Executive Director and Co-founder of What Is: Mindfulness. Beth’s personal practice of mindfulness and witness to the power of its implementation with her therapy clients, along with a deep commitment to social and racial justice and trauma-informed care for those impacted by systemic disparities, coalesced to launch What Is: Mindfulness in 2016.
Beth has years of experience working in Philadelphia schools in a variety of capacities - as a program coordinator and therapist leading grief groups and implementing a Grief Awareness Program for students, as a researcher gathering data on health parameters, and as a K-5 teacher.
Beth is passionate about connecting to youth and creating healing spaces for their resilience to shine. Mindfulness education is a synthesis of her work in education and mental health.
As a licensed professional counselor, Beth has worked in a wide range of settings - community mental health, university counseling, and at a grief center. Beth currently works with clients in her private practice at Threshold Wellness. She received her M.Phil.Ed in Professional Counseling and M.S.Ed in Psychological Services from the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education, an M.Ed in Elementary Education from Arcadia University, and a B.A in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Shesheena A. Bray is Boston native who has taken up roots in Philadelphia. Shesheena came to Philadelphia to attend Temple University in 2003, where she completed her undergraduate studies in African American Studies and Political Science. During her time at Temple, she became actively involved in various grassroots political organizations. Shesheena dedicated over a decade to deepening her understanding of her community’s needs and actively working to create sustainable solutions to issues of police terrorism; mass incarceration; political prisoners; and culturally relevant education.
In 2014, Shesheena realized her service to Black and Brown communities was best actualized through her passion: mental and emotional wellness. Honing her focus and training, Shesheena earned her M.S.Ed in mental health counseling from The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. In 2017, Shesheena started Going Inward Wellness, LLC: a mental health practice committed to supporting clients on their journey inward toward self actualization. Shesheena believes the most rewarding journey is inward.
Shesheena has also held professional appointments at Harcum College; The University of Pennsylvania Upward Bound Program; The Future Project; People’s Emergency Center; and ICA Philadelphia.
Pamela was born and raised in Newport, RI. She arrived in Philadelphia to attend graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work. Through her 30 years of practice, she has worked in a variety of settings including community mental health, running groups in a women’s prison and a homeless shelter, directing a sexual assault unit at Temple University Counseling Center, and organizing and teaching activists contemplative practices.
She is currently in private practice where she sees individuals, couples and families.
Much of her work and volunteer interests have centered on issues of social justice. She is the founder of the Philadelphia Black Women’s Health Project and co-founder of Playback for Change, a local improv theatre company focused on race, gender and class, which is a member of Playback International. She has
taught Playback in many countries including South Africa, Singapore and Taiwan.
Pamela has been a meditator for over 15 years. She co-leads a monthly People of Color sit in Mt. Airy and serves on the board of Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA. She is excited and honored to join Beth and Shesheena to augment her skills in teaching meditation to children in Philadelphia Public Schools.
What people are saying about WIM:
"Thank you for your time and energy. The students and I really appreciate mindfulness concepts and enjoyed learning how to apply these concepts to our everyday life." ~ 5th grade teacher, Rhoads Elementary School
"I have to tell you that my weekly mindfulness classes have been a life line for me. I see a huge difference in my calmness and peace. I have been carrying it through my week. I also wanted to share that my morning message was on being generous. I wanted to follow up with the whole school after this week's class.
Thank you so much!!!"
~ Anna Jenkins, Principal at Adaire
"I will use this tool in the way to teach how to be in community by traditional folklore drumming as mindfulness"
~ Christian, Teaching artist
"I loved the group dynamic. There was an intimacy that I never felt in other Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction courses or subsequent group meditation sessions. Also in contrast with MBSR, I felt Beth and Julia provided a more connected content—it was well-developed and thoughtful to begin with, but they also delivered it in a way that was responsive to the group. They let the program and conversation flow and, without being authoritative, they weren't afraid to answer questions about mindfulness. It was a restorative experience. Beth and Julia are a perfect compliment to one another. The content was informed and creative and they delivered it with grace and patience."
~ Kate, Immersion participant
"Thank you so very much for the past 8 weeks! The students, their parents, and I are all going to sorely miss our sessions with you!! It has been a truly amazing learning experience for the students and for me! I can definitely see the growth in the children."
~ 1st grade teacher, Adaire Elementary School
"I'm so grateful for the opportunity provided by Beth and Julia- to learn more about myself in deep and complex ways, with support and guidance, free from judgement and the trappings of my own insecurities. The mindfulness class that I attended empowered me to listen and make time for the the voices and energy operating deep inside. It was a gift I could not have given myself. Thank you Beth and Julia! You are true healers!"
~ Katya, Immersion participant
"The students were so grateful for the mindfulness class. They learned a lot about the research supporting the impact of mindfulness, but were most impressed with the experiential piece of your program."
~ Dr. Christina Lecker, professor at Temple University
"Thank you for giving us a window into the world of mindfulness. The workshop was well-paced and full of valuable insights. The opportunity for us to practice mindfulness and reflect on the process was most welcome. We feel it will be so useful to bring to the kids. Can't wait to have you join us at Rhoads!"
~ ArtWell teaching artists
"The teen leaders loved the workshop! The girls felt it was so meaningful and continued to talk about it in the following weeks. We want to have you back for more!"
~ Alisha Berry, Executive Director at Camp Sojourner
Russell Byers Charter School
James Rhoads Elementary School
Samuel Powel Elementary School
Adaire Elementary School
Wissahickon Charter School
Hope Partnership Middle School
Philly Tree People