SHINESM (Support Honor Inspire Nurture Evolve) is the signature program of the Center for Mindful Awareness SM.  This program consists of a carefully structured ten-week series of workshops, firmly anchored in current cognitive neuroscience. SHINESM program participants meet weekly to learn and practice informal mindful awareness skills, and engage in mindful listening, speaking and reflecting. (Timing is flexible based on organizational and participant needs.) Activities are integrated to bring the benefits of mindfulness into daily life. The program builds resilience so people can respond more effectively to the unique challenges they face.

How is SHINESM different? At the CMA, we truly believe that mindfulness practices can benefit every individual, every family, and every community. For many of our program participants, SHINESM is the only place where they truly feel safe, heard, and loved.

“SHINESM has become a part of me. I think of it, even if I don’t get here. It brings you down from a rush-rush place, and settles you down. It’s so much at peace when I’m in that meditation.”

– Participant in an ElderSHINESM group at a subsidized housing complex in East Baltimore, 2009

CMA staff model, mentor and supervise key members of host organizations, in order to train them to implement a SHINESM program. The goal of working with partner agencies is ultimately to embed mindful awareness practices into their programs and throughout their culture. We provide professional development for staff as well as resources for clients. The end result is a happier, healthier, and more effective organization overall.

Since 2000, SHINESM has provided hundreds of workshops to more than three thousand at-risk individuals, who would not otherwise have access to these life-changing practices, and the staff who support them. The Center has provided SHINESM programs to:

  • Low-income urban families
  • Families who are homeless
  • Teen parents
  • Women with mental illness, in recovery, and returning from incarceration
  • Low-income elders in subsidized housing
  • Women living in transitional housing
  • Urban youth
  • Teachers and paraprofessionals in inner-city schools
  • Hospice residents
  • Cancer patients
  • Families of children with disabilities

The vast majority of SHINESM participants report improved moods, increased ability to regulate their emotions, and decreased anxiety. In a Johns Hopkins School of Nursing Study participants in our ElderSHINESM program had reduced blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol after eight weeks, compared to a control social support group.

 “When you find your breath and follow it, you begin to relax. I had peace in here today. I haven’t had peace in a week.”

–  ElderSHINESM participant, 2011