Vanessa Weiner photo

Vanessa CL Weiner

Vanessa’s first experience with yoga was a gift certificate from her husband for classes together in 2002. What she didn’t know is that it would bring her back to the centered feeling she had during her childhood as a gymnast when her dad taught her to meditate. A new mom when she and her husband took that first class, Vanessa found herself repeatedly called back to the mat to re-connect with her center. A few years later when her kids needed their own tools to find balance and centering, it became clear to Vanessa that she needed to become a teacher. Since that time, Vanessa has felt fortunate to study with some of the leading teachers in this field, which has guided the formation of ResilientKids. Her certifications include:

  • Mindful Education Institute/Mindful Schools’ year-long certification: Mindfulness with Youth
  • all three levels of Jennifer Cohen’s Little Flower Yoga teacher training; a 135-hour Yoga Alliance-certified program
  • Amy Saltzman’s Still Quiet Place training in facilitating mindfulness for kids
  • Rolf Gates’ 200-hour vinyasa yoga teacher training
  • Pre- and post-natal yoga through Leslie Lytle at OmMama
  • as well as numerous workshops and conferences on this topic

Vanessa has seen the benefits first-hand of teaching the principles of yoga and meditation to her own children. When her daughter’s teacher expressed thanks in the final school progress report for teaching meditation at home, and how much it helped in the classroom, Vanessa knew she wanted to dedicate her teaching to reaching out to as many kids as possible so that everyone can experience the benefit – the kids, their families, their teachers, and the school communities as a whole. Incorporating these tools into each day, kids are more grounded and experience less stress. Vanessa has been teaching yoga and mindfulness to thousands of children ages 3 to 18 both during and after school since 2009. With this experience, and seeing clear evidence that kids are stressed, Vanessa developed ResilientKidsTM as a way to offer kids tools for coping with whatever life may bring. She is the first in the state to formally integrate a curriculum-based approach to yoga and mindfulness within the school day.

Natasha Brooks-SperdutiNatasha Brooks-Sperduti

In her first yoga class at age 11, Natasha experienced a deep peace in her body and mind. She spent the next 11 years knowing that despite life’s difficulties, peace was possible. When she returned to yoga at 23, she felt she was finally home. Today, Natasha finds the healing path of yoga to be a flexible and empowering way to improve and maintain her own physical and emotional well-being. She delights in bringing this tool, this gift, this deep wonderful wisdom to children and adults alike.

Natasha has been a student of yoga for over 11 years, and a teacher for 5. She has over 300 hours of YA approved Teacher Training with Eileen Muir, and Sara Davidson, in both Iyengar and Anusara styles of yoga, as well as being certified in levels 1 – 3 of Little Flower’s Yoga & Mindfulness for kids program. Natasha joined ResilientKids in their second year of working with schools, and is finding joy each day connecting with her students and the growing group of instructors.

Natasha is an artist. She approaches her art, her yoga and her life as a creative practice- an opportunity for recognizing essence, revealing truth, and making meaning.


Mary Beth Dziedzic

Mary Beth took her first yoga class in New York City back in 2002 and has been a devoted student ever since.  Yoga has taught Mary Beth how to find presence and peace, both on and off the mat, amidst all of life’s challenges.  As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher, Mary Beth is passionate about sharing the gifts of yoga and mindfulness with others in hopes that it too will help them find balance and peace in their lives.

Allyson Hansen PhotoAllyson Hansen
A sense of curiosity and discovery is at the heart of Allyson’s path through her yoga practice. With a background in classical ballet and classical dressage working with horses, she found a familiar sense of physical expression in yoga. However yoga introduced her to a place of stillness, fluidity, integration and internal reflection. She has been practicing yoga for eight years, teaching for four and is of course still learning. While pursuing her degree in Biology she discovered the Resilient Kids program and completed her training with The Mindful Life Schools. Allyson continues to be amazed by how seamlessly the foundations of a yoga practice translate to everyday life and all of its pursuits. She believes wholeheartedly in teaching children to develop a sense of integration and connectedness with themselves, each other and their environment. The process of sharing this practice with children is always an unexpected opportunity for learning and self-discovery. Allyson finds endless inspiration in the challenging process of learning to listen better each day in the classroom or as a parent.

Kate_Bio picKate Wicklund

Kate has been a special education teacher for the past fifteen years.  As a teacher and a mother of three, Kate has found yoga to be a source of inspiration and strength.  Kate is a 200 hour registered yoga teacher. In January 2012, Kate attended a yoga certification program through Karma Kids Yoga of New York City.  She attended this program with the end goal being a way in which to better educate her students and her own children in both academic and social realms. Kate believes that, through movement and breath, children can learn to handle the complex issues of daily life, such as dealing with bullies, and coping with the stresses of school and social life.

With these certifications, Kate is embarking on a mission to share her experiences with individuals of all ages and levels.  Currently Kate teaches yoga to both adults and children.  She seeks to share this mindfulness and appreciation for life with practitioners of all ages.  Kate is excited to set off on this new journey as a member of the ResilientKids team.

Jon Cappodona PicJon Cappadona

Jon received his M.A. in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut’s National Research Center for Gifted and Talented Education.  Looking for a change of scenery and pace of living, Jon ended up living and working in a contemplative residential community in Big Sur, CA for many years before returning to the East Coast.  He has studied at UMass Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness and is qualified to teach their MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) program.  Jon is passionate about sharing mindfulness techniques and empowering kids to find their best selves.

Julie Shore picJulie Shore

Julie is an experienced and dedicated yoga practitioner with a passion for teaching. She began practicing yoga in elementary school and has first hand experience with the value of beginning a mindfulness practice at a young age. A California native, she has called Providence home since 2009, moving here after completing her BA at Bard College. She received her training from Eyes of the World Yoga Center and continues to deepen her studies as she builds her teaching practice. Yoga has been a source of strength and insight in Julie’s life. Her classes translate a technical knowledge of vinyasa asana, with underpinnings of yogic philosophy which point to developing mindfulness and compassionate awareness.

Jennifer Thomas
Jenn Thomas is a dedicated yogi – practicing and studying yoga for over twenty years, she is a longtime artist & teacher(painting & glass), a two time small business owner, and now, as a life coach and avid student of life she coaches others to meet the challenges of living. She has studied with many great thinkers, awesome artists, and passionate yogis, receiving a 200hr certification with Tom Gillette, becoming a leader for Off the Mat Into the World with Seane Corn, and is currrently engaged in 500hr training with Sarah Powers’ Insight Yoga Institute. This graduate level program comprised of advanced training with renowned western masters Jenn is developing and deepening practices that integrate Yoga, Buddhism and Spiritual Psychology. In her classes Jenn encourages a strong awareness in the flow of breath and movement, a deep attention to the body and its individual alignments, the practice ignites prana as it emboldens the balance of Yin & Yang energies and offers a loving exploration of the stillness and joy within. Jenn’s eloquent dance with language and poetry are woven into the fabric of each class and draw us deep into the heart of who we truly are with connections to the lives we lead and experiences we encounter every day. Being alive is beautiful.

Kyle McDonald_bioKyle McDonald

Kyle has been a devotee of Paramahansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi, for over 16 years and was initiated into Kriya Yoga in 2007.  She is a certified Yoga and Meditation Teacher with Yoga Alliance and continues to pursue her lifelong passion for Yogic study and philosophy through Ananda Sangha, CA, where she received her training. In addition to teaching Ananda style Yoga and Meditation, Kyle has a MFA in painting, and is an Artist in Residence at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Providence, RI.

Holly Loew photoHolly Loew

Holly Loew has worked as a therapist with children of all ages in various school settings. She has a master’s degree in social work, and specializes in working with children with social, emotional and behavioral challenges. Holly is drawn to the fun nature of working with children and is inspired by their resilience.  Holly hopes to help kids to strengthen and tap into this resilience, enabling them to cope with the stresses they face in their day to day life. Holly finds ways to apply her mindfulness to her own life, including running on a daily basis and a developing yoga practice. Holly has completed the Mindful Life Schools Training Program.

Marisa_picMarisa DeCollibus

Marisa started taking yoga classes her freshmen year of High School, and now as a student at the University of Rhode Island, she continues to investigate yoga and mindfulness practices. For her High School senior project, she worked with ResilientKids to bring a mindfulness workshop to North Kingstown elementary school teachers. This lead her to complete the Radiant Child Yoga Immersion Program over the 2013 summer as well as additional training with Resilient Kids. Hoping to study how social and emotional learning strategies can be integrated into schools, as well as education policy, Marisa will continue to grow her understanding of mindfulness as a ResilientKids instructor. Besides yoga, she loves the ocean and competes on the URI Sailing Team. In general, people rival the ocean as her greatest love. 


Erin Vinacco

Erin is an educator with over seven years of adult, community, and K-12 experience who has been practicing yoga and meditation for more than a decade.  As a student of yoga, she knew the benefits of mindfulness practice in her own life and after completing training in children’s yoga she immediately put those skills to use with her students with great results.  Since starting out as a teacher, she has gone on to teach elementary students in Costa Rica and adult immigrants learning English here in the US.  In every situation she has incorporated principals of mindfulness and yoga practices to improve focus, increase confidence and reduce stress both for herself and her students.  She completed her 200-hour Kripalu yoga teacher training as a way to combine her love for yoga and education.  She enjoys putting her creativity and playfulness to work teaching young students and is dedicated to continuing to work with diverse populations.  She recently completed a 40-hour training in Trauma Sensitive Yoga through the Trauma Center in Boston.  Erin is committed to educating and empowering youth from all backgrounds and of all abilities and is excited to bring yoga and mindfulness to more young people in Rhode Island.

Jennifer Spaziano Jennifer Spaziano

Jennifer firmly believes that movement, song and play keep her family sane and is honored to be part of ResilientKids to bring the joy of yoga to the community.  She is RYT 200 trained by Tom Gillette at Eyes of the World in Providence, RI, and of course her two daughters are her most demanding teachers of all.  Her one-car family lives on the West end of Providence, where she is active in building a local way of life.  She has been practicing yoga for over ten years and has been working with children since her first job at the Greater Boston YMCA many years before that.  Having studied psychology, as well as having introduced yoga to many family members and friends with depression, bipolar and anxiety, Jennifer has first hand experience of how the tools of Yoga can bring emotional balance to all ages.  Her style is supportive, loving and fun – always in awe of the natural wisdom of children, she seeks to build on their inherent yogi and yogini.  You can keep up with her musings on Yoga at