About Awaken Pittsburgh

About Us

Live fully. Mindfulness in action. Putting powerful tools into the hands and minds of those most in need. These are the goals of Awaken Pittsburgh.

Awaken Pittsburgh is a secular organization that draws on the wisdom of mindfulness and meditation to serve the public. Our programs are specially designed for students, educators, social services and mental health professionals, corporations, and any person or organization seeking to reduce stress and gain clarity and focus in their daily lives.

Mission, Vision, and What Guides Us

Live fully. Mindfulness in action. Putting powerful tools into the hands and minds of those most in need. These are the goals of Awaken Pittsburgh.


To foster well-being, empathy, and compassion for all by teaching and encouraging mindfulness and meditation practices.


An equitable and just society where diverse peoples live in harmony with each other and their environments.

Guiding Principles

We are committed to:

  • Providing leadership in mindfulness education in our region
  • Offering services that uncover the basic goodness, innate kindness, resilience, and dignity in individuals, organizations, and communities
  • Communicating the strength of mindfulness in ways that honor its spiritual roots
  • Engaging in business practices that maintain the highest ethical standards and are grounded in mindfulness, generosity, humor, and joy
  • Diversity, inclusion, and working to build healthy and just communities within an anti-racism framework
  • Fostering collaboration that responds compassionately to challenges and invites diverse voices to participate in awakened change
  • Promoting social justice, non-aggression, environmental awareness, individual self-care, and collective healing
  • Creating enlightened communities that are gentle, inquisitive, warm, and fearless
Our Story

In the Beginning

In 2015, educator and meditation practitioner Dr. Stephanie Romero, Ed.D. founded Awaken Pittsburgh after experiencing two profound awakenings.

The first was in 2013, when Stephanie learned that her teacher, Dr. Adam Lobel, had participated in a peace conference in Chicago where mindfulness and meditative practices were taught to help prevent violence and extract young people from lives of violence.

From Chicago Streets to Pittsburgh Schools

The news that mindfulness could help at-risk youth had a profound impact on Stephanie, who was then developing a dissertation proposal in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. It affirmed the importance of incorporating her own personal practice of mindfulness into her professional life as a scholar, teacher, colleague, and educator. It moved her to revise her dissertation to focus on the topic of mindfulness in education.

We-PEACE Comes into Being

Stephanie’s second awakening grew out of a 3-day conference she attended in May 2014 entitled “Being Brave: Is Enlightened Society Possible?” Stephanie returned to Pittsburgh and worked with another educator, Michelle King, at the Pittsburgh Shambhala Center, to create We-PEACE (Western Pennsylvania Educators for Awareness, Compassion and Empathy). For four years, We-PEACE hosted monthly meetings for interested educators, administrators, and support staff to bring the transformational power of mindfulness to education systems in Western Pennsylvania.

Awaken Pittsburgh is the perfect convergence of people, places and methodologies for the world we live in today.