A Chance to Start Fresh


December 29, 2020


“Every new moment is a new opportunity to catch yourself, come back to the here and now, and settle your body.”


Dear Friends –

During Covid19, it’s really easy to fall into the boredom of routine and autopilot when the scenery of our lives doesn’t change. I recently saw a post where someone stated that doing everything, every day at home felt like the movie Groundhog Day. This is where mindfulness practices can really help us feel the freshness of each new moment.

Many of us might be setting a new intention for the new year, but mindfulness practice involves setting a new intention in each new moment. Whenever we realize that we have been on autopilot or not living up to our highest aspirations, that very moment holds a new possibility. As author Resmaa Menakem suggests, “Every new moment is a new opportunity to catch yourself, come back to the here and now, and settle your body.” Sometimes just noticing we are on autopilot or dysregulated is enough. Other times, we need to really set that new intention of how we want to show up for ourselves, for our loved ones, for our community and for our planet.

I am so glad to have a toolbox of practices to help me return to the present moment, and I’m grateful to have a way to share these with you. Here is a video of one practice using sound that might help you when you find yourself in need of grounding in the present moment. Even though it is colder now, it might be a great thing to try outside—just to get out of the house and change the scenery!

“Only in the reality of the present can we love, can we awaken, can we find peace and understanding and connection with ourselves and the world”

Wishing you and those you love joy-filled holidays and health, safety, connection, and peace as we enter the new year,

Stephanie Romero, Ed.D.
Founder & Executive Director
Awaken Pittsburgh


Looking for a unique gift that will last a lifetime? You might consider giving the gift of mindfulness to someone else this holiday season.? Purchase someone you love a spot in one of our upcoming online introductory programs from our website here.

Mindful Connections for Wellness – Online
We have modified our 20-hour program to allow us to practice together remotely. There is a suggested price, but also a pay-what-you-are-able option to attend this course. Please register for this class.

Option #1: Begins in January and is offered Wednesday evenings. Join the class here!

Option #2: Begins in February and will run on Saturday mornings. Join the class here!

And for those that are delivering mindfulness practices to others:

Mindful Connections for Trauma Sensitive Practices
This is a training for folks who are offering mindfulness practices to others and who have already attended our Mindful Connections introductory course (or equivalent). Find out more and register here.



Thank You for Your Support

Thank you to everyone all the folks who donated during our Give Big Pittsburgh Campaign! We raised a total of $3,480!

The Staunton Farm Foundation has continued to support our work and now has given us a generous capacity building grant to support our exploration of new ways to provide services and support to the communities most in need.


Awaken Pittsburgh needs additional support to continue to provide programming to those who cannot afford it, which allows us to continue connecting mindfully to those most in need. Please donate and support our work.



Fall 2020 Programming Highlights

  • Fall of 2020 saw us continuing to work with teachers and students of Brashear High School thanks to the ongoing support of the Thomas Brown Alton Foundation and the Birmingham Foundation. During this time of heightened stress for both educators and students, we are so happy to be working with these amazing and resilient folks!
  • Environmental Charter School has again joined Awaken Pittsburgh to provide Mindful Connections for Educators to a new group of their staff in 2020—we are delighted to offer them our new Mindful Connections for Bias Awareness in 2021.
  • We continued to work with UPMC Children’s Hospital and the Office of Child Development to provide Mindful Connections for Helping Professionals to family support staff this fall. We are excited to pilot our Mindful Connections for Supporting Families with the Hilltop Family Care Connection Staff and Families in 2021 thanks to the support of the Birmingham Foundation.
  • We Piloted our new curriculum, Mindful Connections for Trauma Sensitive Practices with a group of meditation instructors, thanks to a grant from Shambhala International. Thanks to their feedback, the course is now ready to be offered to the communities where we work.


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