Instructor Bios

Carol Hendershot

Certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Instructor
Co-Founder, Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness

Carol has been teaching the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Course in the Greater Grand Rapids Area since 2008 and has led hundreds of students through the program. Her certification is from the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School where she has completed extensive professional training. Carol also founded and directed Expressions of Grace Yoga from 2003 through 2012 and has been a certified yoga teacher for more than fourteen years. Prior to her mindfulness career, Carol spent 20 years in business, with her last position as co-owner and vice president of a West Michigan wholesale clothing company.

Carol began her journey into mindfulness more than 35 years ago to help with her own stress and anxiety. She has since become a passionate advocate for mindfulness as an extremely effective means of improving health and well-being.

Her classes emphasize safety and self-honoring as she guides students to build resilience and strengthen their mindfulness skills.

Carol Hendershot and April Kaiserlian co-Founders of the Grand Rapids Center For Mindfulness regularly bring nationally recognized teachers to the Greater Grand Rapids Area to educate the community on the many benefits of mindfulness.


April Kaiserlian, LMSW

Co-Founder, Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness

Mindfulness & Self-Compassion Instructor

April received her MSW from Grand Valley State University. After practicing in the nonprofit sector for many years, she discovered Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction when she realized that her own health and family life were being compromised by growing stress. As the practice of mindfulness began to powerfully transform her life, she shifted her professional focus to teaching mindfulness-based programs.

April completed her professional mindfulness training and supervision under the direction of the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School as well as professional training with the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. She has also completed an 18-month certificate program in mindfulness-based psychotherapy with the Hakomi Institute and maintains a private psychotherapy practice offering experiential, emotion-centered therapy.

The knowledge April has gained through her trainings, along with yearly, week-long silent retreats and monthly mindfulness mentoring have created a strong foundation for her practice. She enjoys meeting her students with humor and grace in the midst of the struggles and joys of everyday life.


Lori Schermers RD

Eat for Life: Mindful Eating Instructor
Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness

Lori Schermers is a registered dietitian and certified wellness coach who has worked with hundreds of people over the last 30 years—helping them live healthier and happier by paying attention to their own bodies. She’s an intuitive eater who likes to cook and enjoys a variety of foods. She believes strongly in the benefits that yoga and mindfulness bring to her own and others’ wellness. And she likes to move in nature. Lori brings experience, knowledge, thoughtfulness and compassion to her passion for wellness—helping people eat well, eat mindfully, and be healthy at any size.

Lori once struggled with unhealthy ideas about herself—and about food. Ideas that ultimately lead to a pattern of disordered eating. It started in her teens and was fed by a steady diet of distorted images and ideas about what women should be like. And it was fueled by thoughts that certain foods were good or bad and that there was a perfect diet and exercise regimen that would bring her happiness.

Of course, none of that was true.

What was true for her—and is true for most people Lori has worked with—is that while solid information is necessary, it’s not enough.
As a dietitian dedicated to mindful eating, her goal is to help people change their thinking around food. To shift the conversation away from restrictive diets —which don’t work in the long term—and move toward a more holistic idea about wellness—one that inspires deep and lasting change.

Today Lori’s mission is to take the wisdom she has gained over the last 30 or so years and help people understand and heal their relationships with food and with themselves, so they can live their best lives—at any weight.

Katy Chapman

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Instructor 
Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness

A longtime meditation practitioner, Katy began incorporating mindfulness when she found the MBSR Course. She enjoys merging the practices of mindfulness and meditation in order to live more vibrantly, open to both the joys and challenges of life.

Katy has an extensive background in sales & business, primarily in the women’s health arena. She is also a Youth Ministry teacher at her church. She has a passion for helping others realize a greater awareness of themselves.

Katy is happy to be sharing the beneficial teachings of mindfulness with individuals and her community.



Cheryl Blackington

Certified .b Instructor
Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness

Cheryl has been teaching mindful stress reduction primarily to the greater Grand Rapids area youth for the last six years. She began her personal training with a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class through the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness, and from there she trained with the Mindfulness in Schools programs based out of London.

Since then she has participated in a variety of training sessions: Mindful Schools, Koru for the college ages, and Making Friends with Yourself (a mindful self compassion class for teens). Cheryl has taught evening classes through the Center for Mindfulness, Mindful schools classes in area elementary schools, and Koru college classes in our area colleges.

Cheryl is a parent and now a grandparent and has delved into mindful parenting with her own family and has taught Mindful parenting as well. She sees these mindfulness skills as essential life skills that continue to enhance her life as she continues her own practice and personal growth. She brings her own daily personal practice, her learnings and deepenings from attending silent retreats, and further knowledge gained by a great deal of reading on mindfulness related matters to her classes. Phone: 616-581-9127
Email: Website:

Patti Ward, M.Ed.

Mindfulness Instructor K – 12
Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness

Patti has been teaching the Mindful Schools Curriculum since the spring of 2013. She has taught K – 12th graders in both private and public school settings. She has had a personal mindfulness practice that formally began with an amazing instructor, April Hadley, and an MBSR course. She has been practicing mindfulness for many years and will confirm that it has changed her life in immeasurable ways. She has participated in a yearlong course with the Mindful Schools group based in California, and is now a Certified Mindful Schools Instructor. She is currently participating with Koru Mindfulness in a yearlong teacher training for teaching mindfulness to emerging adults (18 – 19 years old).

With over 35 years of experience in the field of education and a M. Ed. in the area of Learning Disabilities, she has loved every aspect of her career. Whether it was as a special education teacher, a teacher consultant, a curriculum director, a professional learning consultant, title I director, adjunct instructor at Aquinas, CMU, or GVSU, educational consultant for Kent ISD or a supervisor for special education interns for GVSU, each role has taught her so much about the stressful and yet amazing educational system.

Bringing Mindfulness into the K – 12 setting and beyond has become a passion, a passion of giving back to this meaningful endeavor called ‘education’. A place where expectations are set high for both students and teachers and a place where resources are few, a place where stress is thriving. Mindfulness in education is an evidenced based practice that has the potential to bring focus and calm to our often-overwhelmed students and teachers. Let the adventure begin!

Brenda Schroeder, LMSW

Certified Tai Chi and Qigong Instructor, Licensed Social Worker
Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness

Brenda has been a School Social Worker and Behavioral Consultant for over 30 years, servicing students from pre-school to post-secondary. Her passion is to help students identify their unique strengths and interests, and then use those strengths to build up or work around areas of challenge. Four years ago, Brenda left public education to service students in an alternative high school setting that was designed to address barriers and needs that traditional schools could not. Even with a mission to meet students where they are at, accept them unconditionally with open arms and with compassion, many barriers have continued to interfere with progress for too many of the students. Brenda is hopeful that this is where Mindfulness instruction and practice may hold some promise in addressing the challenges of emotional regulation and attention control, as well as managing stressful and traumatic experiences and overwhelming feelings of fear and anxiety.

Brenda has been a practitioner of Qigong and Tai Chi for almost 23 years and has guided many adults and children in developing their own practice in their quest to cultivate balance, strength, flexibility and well-being. Although she is a long time on-and-off-again meditator, it was the MBSR class with April that deepened and expanded her practice. For Brenda, the practice moved from a thing she does at a particular time and in a particular place, to a way of being, (at least striving toward a way of being). The alignment of Tai Chi and Mindfulness then evolved further when a partnership with Patti Ward, Mindful Schools Instructor, developed around providing “mindful movement” for the student classes. Although certainly not the “quick fix” we all long for, Brenda has found that exposing kids and adults to the practice of mindfulness and Tai Chi and nurturing an on-going practice has been promising in terms of addressing some of the challenges we all face.