Grace Helms Kotre, MSW (pronouns: she/her) is the founder of Power to Be, LLC. She is certified in mindfulness instruction and holds degrees in community social work and child development. Her passion for facilitating inner transformation and social change through contemplative practice informs her life and her work.
Since 2015, Grace has offered mindfulness and social justice training to adults and youth in various settings including schools, community groups, non-profit organizations, businesses, civic clubs, parent groups, and professional conferences. Grace has additional training in the areas of mindful parenting, mindful communication, trauma-informed instruction, intergroup dialogue, and organizing for racial justice.
Prior to her work in mindfulness education, Grace served as a youth teacher and program leader with City Year Chicago, Outreach 360 in the Dominican Republic, and with the University of Michigan SERVE Project. She has worked on social justice issues with the Social Welfare Action Alliance, Program on Intergroup Relations at the University of Michigan, and for several years on staff with the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice. Grace currently teaches stress management and community social work at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
As a person who has been racialized white, Grace is continually in the work of deepening her consciousness of internalized white racial identity, white privilege, white supremacy, and racism. As a woman, Grace is regularly challenging internalized gender conditioning, patriarchy, and sexism. And in her many other social identities, Grace is exploring how privilege and oppression manifest on a daily basis.
Her ongoing teachers are inspirational leaders like Ruth King, Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, Beth Berila, adrienne marie brown, Rhonda Magee, bell hooks, Alice Walker, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Grace Lee Boggs, as well as friends, colleagues, and family who live their lives with passion, purpose, courage, and open-heartedness. Grace lives in Ann Arbor, MI, the native land of the Pottawatomie, Ottawa, and Chippewa, with her partner and two daughters. She loves a cup of decaf coffee and a walk outside pretty much anywhere.
POWER TO BE PAST & CURRENT CLIENTS:
Upper Peninsula Children's Coalition, Keynote Speaker
Coalition of Schools Educating Mindfully Conference, Presenter
Preschool Mindfulness Summit, Speaker
EMU EcoJustice & Activism Conference, Facilitator
Mindful Schools’ Mindful Summer Speaker Series, Presenter
Southeastern MI Stewardship Coalition PD, Presenter
Washtenaw Head Start & GSRP Annual Conference, Presenter
Pleasantview Elementary School, Eastpoint
Washtenaw Community College
Lakewood Elementary School, Ann Arbor
Lawton Elementary School, Ann Arbor
Clara B. Ford Academy, Dearborn Heights
Detroit Leadership Academy, Detroit
Honey Creek Community School, Ann Arbor
Hebrew Day School, Ann Arbor
First United Methodist Co-op Nursery, Ann Arbor
Gretchen's House Childcare Centers, Ann Arbor
Crim Fitness Foundation
Preferred Title Agency of Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor District Library
Ann Arbor Public Schools Community Rec & Ed
Peace Neighborhood Center
Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition, EMU
University of MI Health System Children’s Center
St. Joseph Mercy Hospital
St. Mary’s Student Parish
"I went in skeptical and by the end had found myself using several techniques in my personal life as well as work.”
– Professional, 8-Week Mindfulness Class participant
“I appreciated the versatility of the different exercises and choices that are available to complete
mindful activities (not offered in past workshops). Thank you.”
– Teacher, Workshop participant
“I loved Grace’s demeanor – calm, confident, and knowledgeable.”
– Teacher, Workshop participant
“This class helped me to calm down internally and to start to assess situations before reacting – with big and small things.”
– Professional, 12-Week Mindfulness-Based Equity Class participant
"Grace is a wonderful teacher. I have studied meditation for years and struggle with bringing it into our
family life. She gave us wonderful simple tools. I really loved this."
– Parent, Healthy Family Habits Workshop participant
"Through Grace’s support and trainings for our staff, we now feel comfortable encouraging
students to be mindful at [the Center], school, and home.”
– Community Center Staff, Training participant