Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Pema Chodron

About Us

The Mindful Youth Institute is located in beautiful Pueblo, Colorado!

Board of Directors

Julia Keller – Executive Director

Julia has 20 years of experience working with children who have learning disabilities as both an educator and a researcher. She has been the Principal Investigator on four school-based intervention studies looking at the impact of mindfulness training on the development of attention, working memory, emotion regulation, and academic progress in elementary students. She also designed and administered a study looking at the effect of mindfulness training on increasing creativity in adults. She is passionate about helping young people find ways to be more mindful, joyful, creative, compassionate, generous, and productive at school and at home.  She is an expert on stress management for kids; for more information go to her website:  Julia received a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of New Mexico.  Contact Julia at julia at

Patrick Keller – President

Patrick has fifteen years of experience working in K-12 public schools—as an English teacher, a library/media specialist, and a journalism instructor. Patrick also has two years of experience as a professor, instructing undergraduate and graduate students in pedagogy, systems thinking, educational technology, designing of training, educational psychology, assessment, information literacy, and the production and utilization of teaching materials. Patrick completed his Ph.D. in Organization, Information, and Learning Sciences from the University of New Mexico with emphases in distance education, instructional design, information literacy, and gamification in education. Contact Patrick at patrick at

Joe Simons – Director of Technological Research and Development

Joe Simons has been working with youth for over 15 years in developing their life skills and helping them practice ways to become their best selves.  He has also worked in various information technology companies developing his skill set and incorporating state-of-the-art practices into companies of all sizes.
He holds his Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology from Western Governor’s University, has an honorary doctorate in Metaphysics from the Universal Life Church, and is also an Ordained Minister.  With multiple certifications in meditation and mindfulness practice as well as his own daily practice, he is very well versed in the amalgamation of technology and the mind.

Emily Lewis

Emily holds a Masters of Science in Mindfulness-Based Interventions from the School of Psychology at University College Dublin. While completing her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2015, she discovered extensive research suggesting that mindfulness can be therapeutic tool for symptomatic disorders and began cultivating a daily meditation practice.

Emily’s passion is people! As an accredited mindfulness teacher she has designed and delivered Mindfulness-Based Interventions for diverse populations including youth, community centers, corporate businesses, and Psychologists. She also teaches the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program which is the ‘gold standard’ in mindfulness training.

Emily’s work is rooted in compassion and in the passionate conviction that each human being has the capacity to reach their full potential. Her goal is to make mindfulness accessible and is certain that technology is a brilliant tool for the job! She believes that teaching mindfulness to youth is essential for the prevention and management of mental health difficulties and a step towards building a healthier society. Emily is a member of and adheres to the standards set down by the Mindfulness Teachers Association of Ireland.

Check out my website: Mindfulness with Emily

Advisory Board

David Witherington

David is an Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico. His research focuses on the study of emotional and cognitive development in infants and preschoolers, as well as on the study of perceptual-motor development in infancy. David received his Ph.D. in developmental science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1998 and subsequently completed a 4 year postdoctoral position at the University of Virginia before arriving at the University of New Mexico in 2002.

Andrew Safer

Andrew Safer

Andrew Safer is a mindfulness-awareness meditation instructor, trainer, workshop facilitator, author, and presenter on the applicability of mindfulness to everyday life. He became an authorized meditation instructor through Shambhala International in Halifax in 1993, and has been a practitioner since 1968.

He conducts mindfulness training for mental health and addictions, and for the workplace. Specialized programs focus on Anxiety & Stress, Depression, Suicidal Thoughts, and Addictions, as well as Workplace Mindfulness.

Andrew is a member of the Faculty of the Atlantic Contemplative Centre in Halifax. His book, Anxiety, Stress & Mindfulness: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Wellness, was published by 2nd Tier Publishing in May 2018.