CLC is a  501(c)3 Nonprofit Organization

 

Our Mission

Helping individuals live happier, healthier lives.

Our Vision

We strive to help youth and adults understand the science of mental health and provide them with healthier coping skills while contributing valuable research in the field of neuroscience.

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Our Directive Team

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Robyn Winters, Executive Director
Robyn@cl-center.org

Robyn is a trauma survivor and has been a mindfulness practitioner since 1999. She became a mindfulness instructor in 2004 to teach  others cognitive practices after she saw significant changes in her personal and professional life. She started a nonprofit to teach the practice to adults and children in high-trauma communities in 2010. Robyn is certified in Attachment and Trauma (AT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), First Aid Mental health and Associate Lecturer with Ki-Aikido International. She is trained in Mindful Schools, MindUp and In Focus curricula. She has a BS in Environmental Design and Minor in Art from the University of Missouri, Columbia and has a background in marketing, design, sales, project management, and teaching. Robyn is devoted to helping trauma survivors, contributing to valuable research in mindfulness and supporting individuals that aspire to teach the practice. She resides in the Denver area with her husband and two children.

 Amira Valle, M.A., Director of Youth & Adult Latinx Programs

Amira@cl-center.org

Amira is an  experienced educator, scientist, researcher and author. She is the founder and Director of Elephant Wise Institute, Lead Associate for Mindfulness Without Borders (MWB) in Mexico. She oversees program strategy, stakeholder relationships, and leads MWB’s professional development programs in healthcare, education and corporate settings in Mexico.  She is the 2021 Awardee of the Top 100 Leaders in Education with the Global Forum for Education and Learning (GFEL). Amira is the author of several books on Mindfulness, SEL, and neuroscience . She has been a meditation practitioner for 30 years and is trained in chemistry, psychobiology and contemplative neuroscience.  She holds a degree in Chemistry from the Faculty of Chemistry, UNAM, a degree in Education from the Montessori Teacher Training Institute, an MBA and several certifications in Mindfulness in Education. Fluent in Spanish and English, she is a talented speaker, passionate advocate for mindfulness in society and mother of two young adults.https://www.elephantwise.org/

https://www.mindfulnesswithoutborders.org/

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Robyn Burrows,  M.A.,
Director of Adolescent Behavioral Health Programs
Burrows@cl-center.org

Robyn comes to the Cognitive Learning Center after twelve years of mindfulness practice—specifically through the modality of yoga. She was initially attracted to the athletic component of movement-based mindfulness practices, but over time, has found yoga far more beneficial in helping her reduce anxiety and empathize with others. She has a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Pittsburgh and has been a middle school teacher for six years at a Denver Public School with a large population of at-risk students.  Robyn discovered her passion for aiding others when she served in Armenia with the Peace Corps for over two years. She completed her 200-hour yoga teacher certification through Floating Yoga School in Bend, OR, and Reiki Level 2 through Communitas in Denver, CO. Robyn hopes she can inspire others to establish a mind-body connection in order to ultimately lower stress, regulate emotions, and be more kind.

Laido Romero, Director of Parent, Caregiver,
& Workplace Trauma Programs

Laido@cl-center.org

Laido discovered the power of mindfulness through his own experience and practice of nearly 20 years.  His practice has enabled him to find healing and clarity in his life and pass on this experience to his family while incorporating techniques in all areas of his life.  Laido has owned and operated his own business since 1985 and has extensive experience in marketing, sales, management, supervisory positions, and human resources. He holds an Associate Degree in business from the University of Phoenix and is trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT),  Mindful Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Attachment and Trauma (AT), and Be Mindful instructor training. He has taught thousands of youth from ages 6-22 through schools, shelters, and behavioral health centers. He has a background of working with professionals in high-trauma communities to help individuals with occupational stress and secondary-trauma. Laido's goal is to have a positive impact on the planet and society. 

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Support Staff

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Adelita Rubio, Latinx Editor & Client Support 

Adelita@cl-center.org

Adelita is a Mexican-American originally from Los Angeles, California. Her family moved to Colorado in 1994 and considers herself a Colorado Native. She has a culinary degree from The Art Institute of Colorado and is currently working on becoming a Spanish- English Certified Medical Interpreter.  Helping translate for her immigrant parents as a child has given her a passion for helping others. She resides in the Thornton area with her husband and two daughters age 9 and 4.

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Andy Malinski,

Editor, Curriculum Development & Instructor

Andy@cl-center.org

Andy Malinski is a certified mindfulness practitioner, a husband, a dad, a son, a brother, a writer, an editor, and a constant dreamer and meditator, having participated in contemplative practice for years.  He is often found being inspired by writers of adolescent fiction, being moved by music, or creating meals for his family and loved ones in his kitchen.  He loves creating relationships with others, inspiring through stories of his own (complete with wacky voices).  Wordsmithing has always been a passion for him, being awarded as an Outstanding Young Author by the state of New Hampshire when he was only in 2nd and 4th grades and the author of a self-published memoir, The Last Great Innocent, about navigating life with anxiety  He has been an editor, writer, and speaker for the Colorado Doulas Association, advocating for dads to be a strong, involved voice in the birth world.

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Lynsey Christiansonson, Sales Representative

and Women Inspiring Women (WIW) Mentor

Lynsey@cl-center.org

 

Lynsey has been teaching and caring for young children for 19 years. She has a B.S of Psychology in Human Development and is a licensed teacher in the state of Colorado. She also has ECE and ABA credentials and is Director qualified. Lynsey has survived severe trauma and abuse; and suffered many years with PTSD. She is a single mother of three amazing children. Lynsey’s passion is to make sure children have the curriculum they need to be successful in the classroom and to overcome trauma. That is one reason why Lynsey decided to closely partner with CLC. Lynsey also desires to help women overcome trauma and have successful futures for themselves and their children by using techniques offered through CLC. Lynsey is thriving now and continuing to be more successful day by day using the skills she was thought through our program. Lynsey is looking forward to working with induvial, both children and women who have been through trauma.

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Tameka Barrett

Women Inspiring Women (WIW) Mentor

Tameka@cl-center.org

Tameka Barrett was adopted at 3 months old. She has 6 children from 23 to 13. She has overcome all forms of abuse, from the age of 6 or 7 until 2019 until she decided to stop the cycle and take her life back. She has suffered the loss of her mother to murder and the incarceration of her oldest child who was accused and later cleared of her mother's murder. Her son is still incarcerated for his role in the crimes. Tameka witnessed the murder of a fiance. She spiraled into an addiction to cope with her PTSD and had to give 4 of her children up for adoption due to substance abuse. Tameka is now in recovery and rebuilding her relationship with those children. She is a survivor and she wants to help other victims of trauma and abuse to overcome what they have endured and are enduring to have hope and faith that they can be survivors too. 

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Our Instructors

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Amy Au, Writer's Workshop for Trauma Instructor
Amy@cl-center.org

Amy believes the space where mindfulness and narrative therapy intersect is the secret in addressing secondary trauma. After 20 years with Cru, 17 of which were in Asia,  she settled in Denver in 2013, seeking to help professionals working with traumatized populations receive the self-care they need to labor social justice movements for a lifetime. Over the past few years, she’s worked with several non-profits in the Denver area conducting secondary trauma assessments, teaching about the power of knowing our own stories and how it’s led us to the word we do, and educating about trauma exposures responses. With a teaching degree from TCU, 2 levels of certificate training in narrative therapy for trauma care from The Allender Center in Seattle and her own coaching practice, Untold to Rewritten, Amy is excited to join the work of the CLC to empower helpers to continue to heal themselves. She is passionate about all things related to story, whether it’s working on her first book, watching Oscar nominated movies or reading Tolkien out loud to her kids. She and her husband of 20 years reside in Littleton with their two children. 

 

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Julian Royce, M.A. LPCC, Instructor

Julian@cl-center.org

Julian earned a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in mindfulness-based approaches to counseling as well as a Master of Arts in Religious & Buddhist Studies. He has developed and taught courses on mindfulness for addicts, students and teenagers, run a successful tutoring and life coaching company, taught yoga and workshops on connection, relating and mindfulness. He has worked with individuals, couples, and groups over the last 4 years as a coach and therapist. A life-long student of meditation, he has a background in Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist teachings, yoga and philosophy using these in his work as a therapist and coach. Julian has been a student of the meditation master Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche since meeting him in 2005 in Both Gaya, India. He has personally studied with many other meditation masters as well as the wonderful faculty at Naropa University. He is a certified haha yoga instructor, a certified Life, and Relationship coach, certified OM teacher (Coaching Program and Mastery Level 1 and 2), as well as Integral Circling and authentic relating.

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Kisty Stephens, M.A., Instructor

Kisty@cl-center.org

Kisty has a BS from Metropolitan University in Counseling & Mental Health, a Certified Addiction Certification III in Colorado, Kisty also studied Public Administration at the University of Denver as well as Leadership in Social Work at San Diego State. She is a published author, powerful motivational speaker, and successful entrepreneur. She has multiple coaching certifications including Mindfulness and Heal Your Life.  Kisty's unique life experiences shine through in all she does! She has taught women all over the world the art of successful living and has empowered thousands through her workshops. She has rolled her talents into creating and founding the SEEDS Project, Wings & Things Salon, Fearless Females Business School for Women and her Ebook "Bold Moves". Her 15 plus years as a Social Worker combined with her decades as a successful businesswoman and entrepreneur make her a powerful, compassionate force on stage and off. 

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Mark Brand, Workplace Trauma Instructor

Mark@cl-center.org

...

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Sharon Tessier,M.A.

Director of Women's Leadership & Certification Training

Sharon@cl-center.org

Sharon has been a mover and a shaker in her community and in her personal life. She earned her Master’s degree in Holistic Health Education and she has 3 years postgraduate studies in psychology with an emphasis on transformational leadership. She is an internationally certified wellness coach. She is currently working on her PhD. She worked at Metropolitan State University of Denver for 15 years in the integrative healthcare program where she taught mindfulness, psychoneuroendoimmunology, advanced wellness coaching, paradigms of holism, and complementary and alternative medical therapies. Additionally, she won a local election in 2013 and is serving on the Broomfield City Council where she focuses on relationship building within her community and across Colorado as well as focuses on policymaking in the following areas: affordable housing, youth advocacy, and public health. Her biggest accomplishments are her two children and a wonderful husband of 20 years.

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Valerie Langston Brettillo, M.Div.,

Programs Editor and Director of Spiritual Leadership

Valerie@cl-center.org

A natural people-person, Valerie strives to inspire others into their own processes of discovery and self-care through grounded and safe learning environments via story, personal experience, and expressive arts, such as music and dance. She has a Master of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology, where she also served as adjunct faculty of Sacred Dance and Embodied Ministries. She is a certified instructor of Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance for senior populations, and has a Green Belt in NIA Techniques, which combines dance, martial arts and mindfulness to create holistic fitness practices for the many aspects of our lives - body, mind, and emotions. Through her experience of teaching multi-age sessions, she has a passion to companion participants in journeys of sensation-awareness and movement proven to increase happiness, health, and wholeness. Classes with Valerie have been described as “sprinkled with laughter, wrapped in encouragement, peppered with enticing challenges, and rich in droplets of wisdom from many world cultures”. She resides in Thornton, CO with her husband and two daughters.

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Adolescent Peer Review Board

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Ranjani Koushik

Adolescent Peer Review President

Ranjani is a high school Junior in Colorado, and extremely passionate about sustainability and the environment. So much so, that runs a nonprofit called TryGreener that has decreased plastic consumption in many Denver schools. Ranjani assist CLC with the design of the Adolescent curriculum to make sure the material is relatable and age-appropriate. She is and entrepreneur and  the creator of an App which tracks when Covid-19 Shots are available. She believes that being mindful of nature and of your community is the responsible way to care for the environment.

Adrina Cook ,

Adolescent Peer Review Advisor

Adrina is a 13-year-old who has lived her entire life in Colorado. Her hobbies include reading fiction, (whilst making gas leak-like screams, naturally) browsing YouTube, cuddling with her cats, writing book reviews, or listening to podcasts. Though she insists otherwise, she is more creative than she lets on and aspires to become a novelist. Adrina has a firm belief that everyone should receive proper schooling and suitable living conditions and have access to help when people need it. She hopes that by joining CLC she'll help make an impactful difference in the world, however small and insignificant it seems.

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Hezekiah (Hezze) Ferrel-dolfi

Adolescent Peer Review Advisor

Hezze is a 16-year-old musician that plays trombone and piano. He likes to skateboard, make music, play video games, hang out with friends, and attend Jazz festivals. He is passionate about making music and hands-on mechanical tinkering and learning how things work. He has performed at the Nutcracker Ballet at the Buell Theater in Denver. Hezze feels that it is important for Spanish speaking kids to get lessons in their language because it helps them learn the material if they are not fluent in English. If they do not have access to this then they get behind and it makes school hard for them. Therefore, it is important to support Spanish speaking kids, not just with basic subjects, but also in things like health classes.

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Mya (Bryn) Herrick

Adolescent Peer Review President

Mya(Bryn) is a 14 year artist. Their hobbies include painting, drawing, and skating around. In her free time you can probably catch them listening to music and painting. She is very passionate about seeing a big change in the world and how we treat and handle each other. They believe that everyone should have the opportunity and resources to heal and work on oneself. they hopes that by joining CLC she can not only work on themselves but to help others worth on themselves.

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Izabella Brettillo

Adolescent Peer Review Advisor

lIsabella “Izzy” Brettillo is an extroverted 11th Grader who aspires to learn about new cultures and diversity. She is an artist that enjoys a big picture concept, while also being gifted at finding the details critical to a process of construction. Izzy is a political activist with a passion for helping minorities and LGBT communities. She was a co-leader of organizing a student- lead protest for a walkout at Rocky Top Middle School to take a stance against school shootings and gun violence. She is musically inclined and was the lead vocalist of Jungle Cacti, a local Middle School rock band in the Denver area.  It is Izzy's dream to be part of creating something wonderful to make the world a better place.

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Sheila Barrett (Green),

Adolescent Peer Review Advisor

Sheila is a 14-year-old from Kansas City, Missouri, who has suffered the loss of 3 very important people in her life, her grandmother, her father, and her stepfather whom she shared the same birthday with. Despite her loss, she still has a beautiful smile like sunshine, a sense of humor and likes to pull pranks, and make jewelry. Sheila is an entrepreneur and is starting a business designing her own line of products (lip gloss, body lava, and body scrub, necklace bracelets, and key chains). She has not lost her love of life and purpose. As a peer in this program, Sheila hopes to learn skills that will help with her own PTSD and empower her to inspire other young individuals that are suffering from trauma.   

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Ileana Hills

Adolescent Peer Review Advisor

Ileana is a 17-year-old who loves to learn, draw, and build things. She can be found clutching a sketchbook, listening to her music playlist, or buried nose deep in a fantasy novel. She finds the world around her very important and is an activist for environmentalism, mental health, and social justice. She likes to act and put herself in a character's shoes and is therefore at home in the theater department of her high school. She is also active in the theater tech crew and loves the hands-on experience of designing, engineering, and building stage sets. Singing is also something she enjoys, and she has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York with her choir. She sees art everywhere, in her friends, in the way people talk, in song, in movement, and in all the little things both ugly and beautiful.

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Walden Hills

Adolescent Peer Review Advisor

Walden is an 15 year-old animal-loving web designer with a background in coding, gaming, and graphic design. He has been doing computer designing since the age of 7 when he created his first computer game. When he's not gaming, he likes handing out at the skatepark with friends. Walden is passionate about social responsibility and sustainability in the world and spends his time striving to support coexistence, inclusion, and social justice. Walden believes the first step to any change is awareness and that the world would be a better place if everyone understood a little more about why they behave the way that they do.

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Veronica Osorio-Pérez,

Adolescent Peer Review Advisor

Veronica is a Puerto Rican high school senior, possessing a passion for social justice and reform for the proletariat, poc community, lgbtq+ community and the environment. She believes the only way to fix the problems plaguing our community is to dismantle the systems that hold it up and that through activism and advocating to your community we can get closer to this goal. She finds importance in educating her community in social justice without the fear mongering, guilt-tripping, and jargon that other educators use to gather support. She wants education to become more accessible to all classes. In her personal life, Veronica enjoys reading, gaming, fashion and chess.   

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Our Board

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Sharon Tessier, M.A.,  Board Member

Sharon has been a mover and a shaker in her community and in her personal life. She earned her Master’s degree in Holistic Health Education and she has 3 years postgraduate studies in psychology with an emphasis on transformational leadership. She is an internationally certified wellness coach. She is currently working on her PhD. She worked at Metropolitan State University of Denver for 15 years in the integrative healthcare program where she taught mindfulness, psychoneuroendoimmunology, advanced wellness coaching, paradigms of holism, and complementary and alternative medical therapies. Additionally, she won a local election in 2013 and is serving on the Broomfield City Council where she focuses on relationship building within her community and across Colorado as well as focuses on policymaking in the following areas: affordable housing, youth advocacy, and public health. Her biggest accomplishments are her two children and a wonderful husband of 20 years.

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Robyn Winters, Chairman of the Board

Robyn@cl-center.org

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David Hills, Board Member

David has a background in teaching mindfulness and meditation via his 24 years of experience with Ki-Aikido.  He has served on the board of directors of Midland Ki Federation for over 10 years. His academic background is in Asian Philosophy and is currently finishing his masters in Computer Science at Georgia Tech. He has served as a professional data warehouse technical lead at AT&T for over 30 years.  It is David’s belief that the root of long-term health for communities, countries, and cultures depends on the education of social-emotional well-being for all.