New Leadership Roles in Mattie’s Foundation

Posted on: October 18th, 2018 by jeni No Comments

Rosalynn Carter Institute’s
Laura J. Bauer New Executive Director
of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation 

 

Jeni Stepanek (CEO & Chief Peace Officer) and Laura Bauer (Executive Director) — excited about their new leadership roles with the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation.

After retiring on March 31, 2018 from a very successful 20-year career at the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) at Georgia Southwestern State University, Laura J. Bauer, MPA was named as the new Executive Director of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation. Laura has been involved with Foundation service in an official capacity since becoming a member of the Board of Directors during 2011, and has served as the Foundation Vice President since 2014.  Her new role as the Executive Director became official on October 1 when the Foundation began their new fiscal year.

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Laura was first introduced to Mattie J.T. Stepanek when she saw him talking about angels on an episode of Larry King Live.  She said she remembers being “intrigued by his intellect, maturity, and message,” so to learn more about him, she began following his other television appearances and reading his New York Times bestselling poetry books. She said she will never forget seeing Mattie’s joy when he finally met his hero, Former President Jimmy Carter, during a live segment of Good Morning America during December of 2001.

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Mattie J.T. Stepanek, Laura Bauer, Jeni Stepanek, and the Stepanek’s service dog – Micah – during the 2003 RCI Intergenerational Caregiving conference.

In July of 2003, Laura had the opportunity to work personally with Mattie when he served as a co-chair with Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter of the RCI’s Intergenerational Caregiving Expert Panel meeting in Washington, DC. “It was a pleasure to get to know Mattie,” Laura said. “He was every bit as real and inspirational in person as he was on tv, but I also got a chance to know him as a friend — and as a very funny young man who had a zest for life, and of course, peace.”

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After Mattie died just shy of his 14thbirthday the following year, Laura helped develop a caregiving scholarship in his name at the RCI, sponsored in part by Johnson & Johnson. Since 2004 when the scholarship was initiated, 60 caregivers — diverse in age and aspiration — have benefited from this non-traditional scholarship, which continues to this day. Laura recruited Mattie’s mom, Dr. Jeni Stepanek, to serve as the Chair of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Caregiving Scholarship Selection Committee in 2005. And in 2011,  Jeni recruited Laura to serve on the Board of Directors for the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation, and in 2014, Laura was elected to serve as Vice President.

Laura Bauer getting in a bit of work during a van ride to a Foundation collaboration activity during Spring, 2018.

Jeni jokes that once she heard Laura would be retiring from RCI, she “waited almost a full month, well, at least a couple of weeks after the retirement date” before asking her to consider taking the position of Executive Director for the Mattie’s Foundation. The Foundation is a very small volunteer-based non-profit, but with a global reach and growing  impact, especially with the increasing awareness and support for the Peace Day Campaign and annual celebrations. Jeni was in need of more consistent support and attention to the infrastructure of the organization, and “Laura seemed like a perfect fit, with the right expertise and experience and enthusiasm for our mission,” Jeni said.

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One of the main reasons that Laura decided to retire early from RCI was to devote more time to spreading Mattie’s message of hope and peace, so she quickly accepted the invitation to serve as a dedicated leader. “I am humbled and honored beyond belief at this opportunity,” said Laura. “I have looked to Jeni as an inspirational role model for years, and I am pinching myself that I now have the opportunity to work closely with her.”

Laura holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Public Administration from Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia and also holds a Certificate in Gerontology from GSW. Laura sits on the Board of Governors for the We Are Family Foundation in New York City (a collaborative program with Mattie’s Foundations) and is Chairperson of the Southwest Georgia Victims Assistance Alliance in Americus, Georgia. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Alpha Alpha, and the American Association of University Women. She and her dog, Katie, are a certified Pet Partner animal therapy team, and regularly volunteer at local elementary schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.

Laura Bauer, the new Executive Director for Mattie’s Foundation, has been an advocate of Mattie’s peace mission since 2003, a Foundation Director since 2011, and the organization’s Vice President since 2014. In this photo, Laura is helping to spread Mattie’s peace message during the 2015 Peace Day Celebration, with Jeni Stepanek (former Executive Director and new Foundation CEO) and Cynda Rushton (Foundation President)

Laura brings her experience and skills in grant writing, marketing, public relations, and program development to her new role with the Mattie’s  Foundation. She echoes what is stated on the Foundation website:

“Peace can be taught and learned by people of all ages and abilities, and all nationalities and faiths. Peace can be introduced and explored through both formal and informal lessons, and also nurtured through play and everyday activities and interactions. Peace can be practiced in schools and homes, offices and places of worship, playgrounds and businesses. Teaching peace is more than just a lesson plan or service project or doing good deeds — it is learning about a way of being.” — Jeni Stepanek, PhD

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“My goal as Executive Director is to build the Foundation’s infrastructure,” Laura stated, “so that we have the resources necessary to train and mentor individuals and groups who are vested in bringing peace to themselves and their communities.”

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In addition to grant writing, management, and other leadership skills, Laura Bauer also brings enthusiasm and music talent to Mattie’s Foundation, which she and her partner, Barry McConatha have shared during the annual Peace Day Celebrations.

Since 2010, the position of Foudnaiton Executive Director was filled by Jeni, who moved the organization from one that “began with a goal of simply building a Peace Garden in the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park, into a globally-recognized source of information and inspiration for making peace a believable and achievable reality. Today, we have programs and activities for people of all ages, and who live all around the world. And we have data that shows we are truly making a difference, and helping global neighbors understand peace as something that begins with tending to basic human needs, and with personals choices in attitudes and habits, and words and actions.”

Jeni is one of five Founding Directors of the organization, which was initiated by a group of neighbors in the months after Mattie’s passing.  She said is “very, very, very excited, and grateful, to have Laura on the team in a more official capacity, especially as we are moving forward with success and growing awareness of the Peace Day Campaign.” In addition to keeping her original title and role with the Foundation – “Chief Peace Officer” and permanent chair – Jeni will now serve as the Foundation CEO, overseeing and supporting all the activities of the Executive Director, the Board of Directors, and the volunteer Peace Guide and Peace Crew teams.

Laura summed up her feelings about her new job by saying, “When explaining his concept of Heartsongs, Mattie said, ‘It can be your feeling. Some people might even call it a conscience, even though that’s not really what it is. It’s your message — what you feel like you need to do.’ This job gives me the opportunity to realize my own Heartsong, and do what I need to do, and I am excited to get to work!”

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Barry McConatha (Foundation supporter and Laura’s partner),
Laura Bauer (new Foundation Executive Director), and
Jeni Stepanek (new Foundation CEO & Chief Peace Officer)
toasting to life, and peace — with gratitude — at the end of a
collaboration road trip activity during Spring, 2018.

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To learn more about Mattie’s Foundation
visit www.MattieOnline.com

To learn more about volunteer opportunities 
with Mattie’s Foundation or 
for the Peace Day Celebrations 
e-mail MattieOnline.com@gmail.com

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To offer a tax-deductible gift that 
supports the Foundation and 
Mattie’s vision and mission of peace,
please click HERE…  

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Return to News main page here… 

 

 

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COLLABORATION SPOTLIGHT

Posted on: October 1st, 2018 by jeni No Comments

 

Jackie Zamora & ZamDance

“I am acceptance…
We are a celebration of ability!”
     – Jackie Zamora 

 

Jackie Zamora, creator of ZamDance/ZamMovement, Inc during the 2017 Peace Day event in Rockville, Maryland.

 Questions in New York

When Jackie Zamora moved from the Dominican Republic to New York as a child, she faced many challenges. She had to quickly learn English as a second language so that she could communicate with teachers and peers. Her family had to find and juggle jobs and living spaces as they struggled financially. And growing up in a “tough neighborhood” and being respected as an immigrant left her seeking hope, and peace, and most of all – purpose.

 

Despite challenges, Jackie accepted that if she worked hard, she could find her space in the world, and make a positive difference for herself, for her family, and for others. She pursued higher education, and after earning her Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from Brooklyn College, she was ready to find a job that allowed her to help others in some way, and also to share the love that she had in her heart for diverse people and for life.

 

Then, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 happened.

 

“I found myself struggling again,” Jackie said. “There were no words. No words in English, or in Spanish, that could help me understand why and how people could hurt each other like that. I could not understand how our differences were something that could lead to hatred and violence, rather than connections and celebrations.”

 

She began meditating, seeking hope and strength through the silence of that prayerful practice. In 2004, she was still struggling with issues of “where do I belong”  and searching for answers to what she could or should be doing in life – logistically, spiritually, and career-wise. That search for peace somehow brought her to Maryland.

 

Jeni Stepanek and Jackie Zamora with Maurice Cahn (far right) who helped Jackie trademark the ZamDance name and organization, celebrating graduation day with a student at Botanero Restaurant.

Answers in Maryland

For nearly a decade after relocating, Jackie worked in different schools and programs helping youth with developmental disabilities. She worked as an aide in classrooms. She served as a one-on-one live-in and at-school support person for a child who needed her skills and guidance. And she responded enthusiastically when a music teacher asked her to help choreograph a music-and-dance performance piece for students with diverse special needs.

 

“My life was changed,” Jackie said of these experiences. “I saw that these kids – some with words and some without words – had an amazing ability to celebrate life, and express love and talent through music and dance! I found my passion, and it was rooted in my compassion for these children and teens.”

 

In September of 2013, Jackie Zamora moved that passion into a new program, and launched “ZamDance.”

 

ZamDance students take the routines and love and acceptance they learn in the classroom and share their enthusiasm and skill and leadership at community events, inspiring others to celebrate life.

Creating a Movement
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ZamDance is a high-impact dance fitness program for children and adults with development and intellectual differences. Through the power and beauty and rhythm and freeness of dance, “Ms. Jackie” helps build confidence in her students, while nurturing cooperation, leadership, and other important skills for community-engagement, all while providing physical exercise, improved balance and endurance, and other health benefits.

 

And most importantly, each session becomes a space and place where all individuals can collectively express themselves – freely through movement – and create community and celebrate acceptance for who and how they are as unique and purposeful people.

 

The dance sessions are structured – which enables students to learn routines and anticipate various movements, and also to take turns as segment or song leaders. However, each child or adult is supported in moving at their own pace – so that they are empowered to engage meaningfully in anything and everything from passive movement to choreographed calisthenics to intense aerobic activity. All of this – while having fun, in a party like atmosphere… yes – the classes even include disco lights and international music!

 

ZamDancers on stage at a community celebration — with dance as the common language of love and acceptance.

The ZamDance organization also has a non-profit component – ZamMovement, Inc. – which supports children and adults with special needs who have financial challenges that would prohibit them from participation. And it was during a 2017 fundraiser for this part of the program that two organizations endeavoring to bring hope and unity to diverse people and communities began working together – in a partnership for peace.

 

Partnership for Peace

 

Jackie Zamora had known about Mattie Stepanek for many years, and was inspired by his messages of hope and peace. She had also grown to be friends with the owners of Botanero Restaurant, the neighborhood tapas bar that opened in 2016, and that began supporting the annual Peace Day Celebrations hosted by the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation shortly thereafter.

 

So on a warm July day in 2017, Jackie chose to learn more about Mattie’s message by moving through the  event’s Peace Stations – a series of tents set up in the streets just outside of Botanero – each offering educational and recreational activities for youth and adults to explore Mattie’s message of “choices for peace.” She also wanted to support Mattie’s Foundation with a few Peace Day signature drinks during the concurrent “Guest Bartender” fundraiser inside Botanero.

 

Jeni Stepanek with Julio Febrer and Ken Skidmore, owners of Botanero Restaurant during a Peace Day event. Botanero hosts regular “Guest Bartending” events (including during the annual Peace Day Celebrations) which serve as community-building activities and also support local non-profits with proceeds from the “signature drinks.”

“I expected to have some fun in the street and toast to peace at the bar,” Jackie said. “And I did! What I didn’t expect was that I would connect with Mattie’s mom, Jeni Stepanek – aka Mama Peace – in a meaningful way, and that I would really grow in my ongoing quest for peace. A journey that has now evolved into a partnership across our organizations.”

 

A key element of Mattie’s message is that peace begins within each person when basic needs are met. This includes more-recognized needs – such as food, water, and shelter; and also sometimes-minimized needs – such as education, healthcare, and security; but also often-overlooked (or dismissed) needs – such as trust and hope and purpose and other truths that build community.

 

Mattie said that tending to basic human needs enables us to “be okay with who and how we are as a person” – despite differences in strengths and needs and traditions and preferences and other realities. He believed that once we are able to say “I am okay,” we can root ourselves in other “I am…” statements – that express personal and community purpose.

 

We move from peace within to peace with others as we shift our focus from “I am…” to “We are…” and consider and tend to the basic needs of our neighbors “around the block and around the world,” so that they, too, can be “okay.”

 

Jackie Zamora – sharing her “Heartsong” and purpose — “I am… acceptance!” during a Peace Day Celebration hosted by the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation.

Mattie reminded us that peace is not about being like others, or even always agreeing with others; instead, peace is about being with others – even amid differences – without judgement, and with purpose that nurtures kindness and compassion and community.

 

Jackie said that through participation in the Mattie’s Peace Day activities (both in 2017 and 2018), she realized that her personal “I am…” statement for peace within and with others is one of “acceptance.”

 

“In accepting and being okay who and how am, and then in not only accepting, but also supporting and celebrating who and how others are, I feel peace, and I offer peace,” Jackie said.

 

“I am… acceptance! We are… a celebration of ability!” Jackie added with a smile. “That is empowering, and purposeful!”

 

Moving Forward

 

Just two months after the 2017 Peace Day Celebration, Jeni Stepanek was raising a different signature drink glass in Botanero during another Guest Bartender event – this one for ZamDance/ZamDance Movement Inc. as the founder, Jackie Zamora, was celebrating the four year anniversary of her organization.

 

“I didn’t know anything about ZamDance before that day,” Jeni said. “But I love the owners of Botanero, and I respect and appreciate their ongoing commitment to support community non-profits with their ‘Guest Bartender’ events. So I am regular there, and I try not to miss any of these fun opportunities to connect with others, and to learn about and help other organizations.”

 

Jeni Stepanek signing the Celebrate Ability family tree after a ZamDance class.

Like Jackie at the July event, Jeni expected to have fun, and to toast to celebrating life at this September event. And, like Jackie, Jeni didn’t expect that the connection that was sparked during the summer would now grow quickly, and move forward into an amazing partnership.

 

“But as I watched Jackie and the ZamDance youth and young adults moving and dancing and smiling, I was blown-away by the level of enthusiasm of the performers,” Jeni said. “I realized this was something far more than a nifty dance program for people with disabilities. This was a movement of love, and acceptance, which are roots of purpose and peace. It was amazing to witness dance as a common language that connected students and teachers, and performers and audiences.”

 

It didn’t take long for Jackie and Jeni to begin meeting, and considering how their non-profit organizations could be mutually-supportive. Jeni attended a ZamDance class as an observer-participant, and was again amazed at the level of enthusiasm, and “beyond impressed by the level of endurance these students maintain” throughout an intense session of high-activity dance.

 

Students are enthusiastic throughout the ZamDance class, learning routines and interacting, and also having fun!

“Most of their teachers and aides are equally engaged with or alongside the students,” Jeni noted, “dancing and clapping and jumping and smiling” as they ensure that each student has the level of support that meets their needs for participation.

 

“And, wow,” Jeni added, “the students really know their stuff. When Ms. Jackie began a combination of moves that were from a different song routine, the class quickly corrected her and showed her the right moves – which led to a round high-fives and smiles!”

 

During July 2018, Jeni introduced Jackie and ZamDance as the closing act during the annual Mattie’s Peace Day Celebration. The moment the music began, dozens of students jumped into action, with dance routines that provided class-act entertainment for hundreds of event participants who had gathered in the streets outside of Botanero on one of the hottest days of the year. It wasn’t long before the crowd was clapping and moving alongside the ZamDancers, and creating a growing community of smiles – and peace and acceptance – through dance.

ZamDancers performing during a Peace Day Celebration in Rockville, Maryland.

And during the September 2018 ZamDance 5-year Anniversary Party two months later inside Botanero’s event room, after hours of dancing and toasting and celebrating life with families and community event-goers, Jackie introduced Jeni as her organization’s new Vice President.

 

Mattie’s message, and Jeni’s mission through Mattie’s Foundation, is all about purpose – which is essential for peace.

 

Jackie’s vision, and her mission through ZamDance, is all about acceptance – which is essential for peace.

 

“Purpose and acceptance,” Jackie said during her anniversary party remarks. “Mama Peace helps us understand choices for peace, so that we can celebrate community. ZamDance helps us connect with love through the language of dance, so that we can celebrate life. It doesn’t get any more real than this!”

 

Jeni and Jackie planning for the ZamDance 5-year anniversary party and Guest Bartender event with staff members at Botanero Restaurant.

 What Next?

Jackie and Jeni are both looking forward to working together as they grow their organizations and fulfill their missions.

 

“We each have some specific strengths, and we also have some specific needs,” Jeni said. “We will tap into each other’s strengths as we move our organizations forward in a collaborative way. And, we will reach out to the community – where there is an abundance of diverse strengths, and love and acceptance – both to fill in those gaps when we still have needs, and also to encourage everyone to simply gather together, and celebrate that peace is possible when we live and grow in community in this way.”

 

“I left New York with $50 in pocket, and with no clue about what I would or would not find in Maryland,” Jackie said. “For a decade, I searched for my purpose, for my place in the world, and for peace. When I created ZamDance five years ago, I began with one class, in one place, and a total of six students.

 

Jeni Stepanek and Jackie Zamora — both committed to purpose and acceptance — for peace.

“Today, I am rich with purpose. ZamDance offers 10 to 15 classes a week all over Maryland and DC. We now have about 100 regular students, and many more participants with the groups that invite me in for special events or short-term programs. My hope is to keep expanding. I want ZamDance to inspire a growing celebration of ability, and to create communities of love and acceptance nationwide, and one day, around the world!

 

Jackie paused, and meditated for a moment during the conversation for this interview.

 

“I left New York to seek peace. I left behind many good people, and have met many good people here, including Mama Peace. It is a privilege to know her, and I am so excited to know that we will be working together – with purpose that inspires acceptance,” Jackie said. After another pause, she added, “I left one home in search of peace, but now, I have a new home, in Maryland, where I celebrate and fulfill peace.”

 

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To learn more about Jackie Zamora
and ZamDance/ZamMovement, Inc.
visit www.ZamDance.com

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To learn more about Mattie J.T. Stepanek
and his namesake Foundation
visit www.MattieOnline.com

 

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Photos of the collaboration journey
between Mattie’s Foundation & ZamDance
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Mattie’s Peace Day Celebrations,
ZamDance classes and performances,
collaborative planning sessions at Botanero Restaurant,
and other celebrations of purpose and acceptance
and community and peace!

ENJOY!!!

01 2017 0716 Julio Jeni Ken Botanero 01 2017 0716 Julio Jeni Ken Botanero 02 2018 07 Jackie Z Acceptance 10 2018 07 Jackie Z Acceptance 20 2018 08 zamdance perform 22 FullSizeRender-13 25 2018 06 bota celebrate lanie 25 2018 08 zamdance perform 25 FullSizeRender-5 26 2018 08 JZ action a 26 2018 08 JZ action b 26 2018 08 jz jss celebrate abilities 27 2018 08 jss signing Celebrate Ability tree 30 2018 06 bota celebrate lanie 31 2018 08 JZ action a 32 2018 08 JZ action b 33 2018 07 JZ peace day 34 2018 07 zam peace day 35 2018 07 JZ peace day 38 2018 07 zam peace day 38 2018 07 zam peace day a 38 2018 07 zam peace day b 38 2018 07 zam peace day c 38 2018 07 zam peace day d 38 2018 07 zam peace day z 40 2018 08 jss signing Celebrate Ability tree 40 2018 0930 ZamDance party e 40 2018 0930 ZamDance party ee 40 2018 0930 ZamDance party f 40 2018 0930 ZamDance party g 40 2018 0930 ZamDance party h 40 2018 0930 ZamDance party j 40 2018 0930 ZamDance party k 40 2018 0930 ZamDance party l 40 2018 0930 ZamDance party m 48 2018 09 jz sylvia vivien someone mama 48 2018 0924 Bota Jeni Alice Jackie 49 2018 09 Bota flyer 50 2018 09 Zamdance flyer 50 2018 0930 ZamDance Bota team photo 50 2018 0930 ZamDance party f 51 2018 09 Bota flyer 55 IMG_1494 59 2018 08 Jss and Jz 60 2018 08 Jss and Jz 60 2018 0930 ZamDance Bota team photo 61 2018 0930 ZamDance hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering Bob – Family Man, Friend, & Foundation Founder

Posted on: September 6th, 2018 by jeni No Comments

Remembering Bob:

Family Man, Friend, & Foundation Founder

Thoughts from Jeni Stepanek (“Mattie’s mom”) 

 

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With a heavy heart, I share both gratitude — and a farewell — to an amazing family man (married for 76 years and father of 8 children and 22 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild), and friend (to myself and Mattie, and to countless people around the world whose life paths crossed with his), and to the man who really initiated the concept of a Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation back in 2004 and became one of the five founding Board members.
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Mattie and I moved to King Farm here in the northern end of Rockville, Maryland during 2002. This planned community was in its early years of development, and many individuals and families and businesses were all coming together as neighbors around the same time. One of the first “other new residents” we met was a man name Bob Balkam, who — with his wife Laurin — was moving into the condo building next to ours not long after we began settling in.
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Across his years here in King Farm — first in the condos and then in Ingleside at King Farm, the retirement residence here —  Bob had a reputation for being “the first person folks met when moving in.” He somehow was just ever-present, ever-smiling, and ever-offering a hand or a word or a thought or his heart, and so, everybody knew Bob.
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I am proud to say that Mattie had that distinction for Bob — and was the first in the community to connect with him, and to share those smiles and thoughts and times. Mattie would watch out of his bedroom window, ever-looking for new residents who were moving in, and then rush outside in his wheelchair to welcome them to the community.
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Bob and Mattie became quick friends (of course) — both being outgoing, people-loving folks, who enjoyed community activities and conversations and celebrating life with others. Most of the early connections between Mattie and Bob took place in the driveway area in front of our buildings. Then one fall day a few weeks later, I happened to run into Bob and he began telling me how much he enjoyed his time and talks with someone who was so much younger than him — about 70 years younger actually. He said that Mattie was like the “Mayor of King Farm” and he asked if Mattie had already visited the homes and businesses of every member of this growing community.
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I told Bob that because of his wheelchair and all the life support equipment, Mattie didn’t really get to go into other people’s homes and visit. And because of medical complications, he wasn’t able to spend a lot of time outside unless the weather was in a perfect way that was compatible with his health needs. Mattie was a mega-extrovert, but he was pretty limited in where he could get to know his neighbors.
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Without a hesitation, Bob looked at me and said, “Well, that’s just not going to happen.” 

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“What?” I asked. “What’s not going to happen?”
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“Mattie is not going to spend most of his time looking out of the window,” Bob said. “Mattie is a young man with this powerful message that needs to be shared across generations and space. He’s a peacemaker and people-person. And he is a very, very funny kid as well to boot! We are going to make sure Mattie gets out and about in this community, and that he knows people, and that people know him. My condo unit is accessible. And so is every unit in this group of three buildings, and so are many buildings and spaces in this community.”
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And that was that. When Bob Balkam had an idea, or thought, or notion, or intention, or anything that moved his head and heart — there were no obstacles or challenges that he saw as insurmountable.
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And he was right. King Farm turned out to be quite accessible. Neighbors in other condo units joined Bob in opening their doors and inviting Mattie in for a meal or a chat or a game or just to pass time. And Mattie began spending more and more time connecting with people who worked or shopped or ate at the local Safeway and Fontina Grille and other community businesses.
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Mattie died less than two years later, just before his 14th birthday. But he spent a considerable amount of time getting to know his neighbors — around the block and around the world — from right here in King Farm. Bob’s home became one of Mattie’s most frequent places to visit, and the two of them spent hours talking about peace, and hope, and the amazing wonder our world and of humanity — if we choose to celebrate our world and humanity as a mosaic of gifts.
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Shortly after Mattie’s passing, Bob contacted me to say that the 27 acre park at the north end of King Farm was about to be developed, and to share that he had already approached the City and community council about naming the park in honor of Mattie.
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I told him that was a lovely idea, and a park would be a truly fitting tribute for someone who died at such a young age. But I also told him that I didn’t want to be a part of the early conversations or the citizen forum meetings that would lead to a decision for or against this idea.
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“People may want to name the park after someone or something else,” I said. “Or they may think it is not okay to have a park for children that honors another child who has died. I hope this honor happens, but I am okay with people saying ‘it is a nice idea, but no.’”
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For the second (but not the last) time, and again without a hesitation, Bob looked at me and said, “Well, that’s just not going to happen.” 
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And again, he was correct. Several months later, the Mayor and City Council voted unanimously not only to name the park in Mattie’s honor, but also to create a space that reflected Mattie’s messages of hope and peace and that encouraged local and global neighbors to “play after every storm!” as Mattie suggested.
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The next day, Bob gathered a small group of King Farm neighbors together in his living room, and the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation was created. With Bob’s guidance, the small volunteer-based non-profit would gather funds to support the creation of a Peace Garden area in the new park, that would include a life-size bronze of Mattie and his service dog, Micah, as well as an information sound-post where visitors learn more about Mattie and listen to him share some of his “Heartsongs” and messages.
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Once the park and garden were complete and dedicated, Bob continued to lead the Foundation into the next phases of our mission. It became his mission to ensure that Mattie’s messages and lessons — related to hope and peace and choice and community-building and tending to basic human needs — would always be available and accessible to people across time and space, and to people who were diverse in age and ability and aspiration and race and religion and so many other realities.
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Bob helped launch our Peace Club Youth programs, and our educational activities in schools near and far that helped children learn about Mattie’s writings and their capacity to become good citizens and leaders and neighbors. He helped plan our early Peace Gatherings and Peace Celebrations, and was an ongoing support when we began the initiative for a National Peace Day in Mattie’s honor. And he brought our Peace Certification Program to Ingleside at King Farm, inspiring the community to “do more than a project” that would earn them a certificate. Once the IKF residents completed their series of peace quilts, they continued gathering and making peace a priority and purposeful choice — with picnics and meetings and an annual Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peace Lecture.
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And yes, every time I thought of a potential challenge — to funding or timing or any logistic related to the park or our programs or our activities  or whatever — Bob would be ready with his standard, honest, encouraging, (and accurate) response: “Well, that’s just not going to happen.” And somehow, he was always correct.
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Bob passed away on July 26, 2018 — peacefully, and surrounded by family. At his memorial service, people shared reflections and stories about Bob — and just about every person who took the microphone began with, “Bob was the first person I met when I moved here…” and then continued with statements like, “Bob was a great story teller, but he was also a great listener…” and “Bob inspired me to [insert specific good deed or attitude here]…”
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Yes, that was, and is, Bob — a family man, a friend, a Foundation founder — and a philosopher whose essence will be a part of our minds and hearts and stories and intentions for a long time to come. I do not think it was “by chance” that when Bob entered this world back in 1921, that is was on February 14 — Valentine’s Day. Bob lived with love, and for love, and he loved living and people. He will be missed, by many, across time and space.
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And if anyone wonders if the “goodness” of Bob — all the tangible and intangible realities that were and are a part of his many good deeds and activities and conversations — will begin fading anytime soon, I will, without hesitation look them in the eye, and respond:
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“Well, that’s just not going to happen.”

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=

Among the choices for

memorial contributions in Bob’s honor,
his family included Mattie’s Foundation.
=
CLICK HERE to make your donation…
You may offer a personal message
in the COMMENT section.

We will post contributions and messages
in Bob’s honor on this page,
and also on our Champions page.  


From Clifford Balkam — $150
“My dad loved Mattie, and the Foundation.
I know he will be happy that it is continuing
to bring peace to people around the world.” 

-

From Judith Walser — $25
“In memory of Robert Balkam.” 

=

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————————-

(Above) Family members and residents of Ingleside at King Farm
gathered in August,2018 to celebrate the life of 
neighbor and friend — Bob Balkam.

————————

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- 

 

============================


(Above) — Members of the Balkam family enjoying time together

on the “Balkam Family Bench” and with Mattie’s statue
in the Peace Garden area of park Bob helped create.

 

=================

=


Links to tributes in the
King Farm Chronicle

celebrating the life and legacy of
Bob Balkam
-

September 2018 issue…
click here…  

-
September 2018 –
Bob Balkam tribute pages –
–> click here…

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-

Post Story Note:
Bob’s wife of 76 years,
Laurin, died peacefully

on October 5, 2018.
Like Bob, she will be remembered
fondly, for her love and smiles, and
constant support for family and friends.  

=

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Brick Inscriptions — 2018 into 2019

Posted on: May 17th, 2018 by jeni No Comments

-

Thank you to all of our 2018-2019 Gift Brick Sponsors!

You have a creative place in history,
and you are supporting our mission –
together, we are creating peace for our future.
-

Want to add your message and support
Mattie’s Foundation with a brick sponsorship?

CLICK HERE…  

-

These bricks will be installed
during Spring 2019.
(1800 Piccard Drive, Rockville, MD 20850)
We will post the installation date when determined.
-
Photos of the installation and bricks will be
posted below the inscriptions on this page.

-

— 

(All inscriptions will be centered on brick,
and uniform in size/spacing).

-

SPONSOR

-

INSCRIPTION

 -

Jay Paulus
Wheeling, WV 

Marianne &
Jay Paulus
Wheeling, WV 

 

Tommy & Joan McGurrell
Dublin, Ireland
-

Thanks, Mattie
Joan & Tommy
Dublin Ireland

Jeni Stepanek
& Mattie
Rockville, MD

-

Uncle Mattie
loves
Declan 

 

For Ken & Julio
from Jeni
Rockville, MD

TBD

 

Leslie Bullock
Medford, Oregon 

For Peace
Leslie P.
Bullock 

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=================

2018-2019 Gift Brick Photo Album

will be posted soon after installation… 

-
Thank you to all of our 2018-2019 Gift Brick Sponsors!

=================

-

Return to Gift Brick Sponsorship main page

=

Return to Mattie’s Foundation main page

 

 

 

2018 Peace Day Celebration — PHOTOS POSTED

Posted on: May 7th, 2018 by jeni No Comments

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-

Saturday, July 14, 2018

King Farm Village Green & local shops
800 Pleasant Drive, Rockville, MD 20850

-
(activity tents, games, moon bounce,
entertainment, and more – street area)
-
(food & beverage — Botanero,
Fontina Grille, & Coffee Republic)

Peace activity tents & entertainment
 1-4 pm… (FREE)
Cake cutting & Peace Day proclamation
begins 2 pm… (FREE)
“Guest Bartending” and restaurant peace chats
continues til 7 pm…
with a classical guitar performance
in Botanero (around 5 pm) 

-

Join us for music & dancing, games & activities,
moon bounce & face painting, crafts & tie dye,
food & fun & and a festive celebration as we
Make Peace the News!
-

Facebook Event Info Link –> click here…  

 =-

Entertainment Featuring:

Mix 107.3′s Jimmy Alexander
Jack Diamond, Producer Blair & crew…

Listen and laugh as these local DJs from the
Jack Diamond Morning Show keep the
party moving with music & conversation

The Black & Tan Band

Enjoy Irish/Celtic music performed by
local judges and courthouse officials,
including King Farm neighbor — Michael Algeo
(the band will also be among our “Guest Bartenders”)

ZamDance

Be inspired by Jackie Zamora and dance along
with members of her dance group –
which celebrates youth and adults with
physical and developmental disabilities

Jump In & Dance

Get in the groove with John Chu and his dance group
as they lead folks of all ages in a dance celebration
to the tune of “Up Town Funk”

Kick’s Karate Rockville Demo Team

Watch local youth and adults share their talent,
respect, and self-control through martial arts

Artivate — Community Mosaic Creation

“We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts…”
Participate in a community creation hosted by
the Artivate organization with
Corien Quiroga, Jim Modrick, & Cliff Moy,
and be a part of a mosaic that will be displayed
around the world in coming years!
-

Tie Dye Peace Shirt Creations

How do you visualize peace?
What colors and swirls bring together
diverse elements in a collaborative way?
Join Carol Scott and her family and
create your own keepsake shirt!
(Small donation requested for shirts)

 

Community Conversations & Cake

Spend a few minutes with cake and conversation
in our Community Conversation tents!
Representatives from local police & fire departments,
education systems and non-profits,
elected and campaigning leaders and more,
will all be on hand to talk with children & adults
about everything from kindness and respect
to how to BEGIN peace in our
homes, schools, and communities
to tending to basic human needs and
making a positive difference in our world.
=

Guest Bartending — with local leaders!

Get to know your local leaders (elected and campaigning)
as the pour one of the Peace Day signature drinks
(Sunrise Sangria & Sunset Cerveza
– Mattie’s fav time & color!)…
There will also be Tie Dye Peace Punch for the kids!
(Be sure to enjoy some great food and/or other beverages
at Botanero, Fontina Grille, or Coffee Republic)

-

Peace Station Tents…
Information & Inspiration through
crafts and games and festive fun…  

Begin in our Peace Garden Tent
where you can learn more about
Mattie, his Three Choices for Peace message,
and the National Peace Day Campaign…
then create a “Name Tag with Purpose” 
and move through the other Peace Tents…
where Peace Guides will help children & adults
explore different elements of Mattie’s peace message
through crafts and conversations and fun…
-
The 2018 Peace Station Tents include
Seek, Make, Bring, Choose, & Celebrate Peace… 
each filled with activities and keepsakes…
Also on hand… face painting, moon bounce,
a fire truck, police car, and the
Mix 107.3 Van & Crew — with music & fun!

-

 =-

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE

—————————————–——————————

2018 Peace Day Event Map (not drawn to scale; some tent locations may change)

2018 Peace Day Guides, Crew, Sponsors, Supporters, & Talent

 

——-———

——=============

—===============-

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Media Coverage

Mix 107.3 Jack Diamond Morning Show
Rockville 11 TV
EWTN
NBC4
CNN
ABC National Online
King Farm Chronicle
Rockville Reports 

-

Community Leaders & Special Guests

INVITED:

Representatives from the White House
Representatives from the Senate & Congress

Representatives from
state, county, & local government
Other leaders and special guests including
representatives police, fire, and education services 

-

CONFIRMED PARTICIPATION
in our “Community Conversations”
and/or “Guest Bartending” activities:

 Rockville Mayor Bridget Newton

 Members of the Rockville City Council
Virginia Onley, Mark Pierzchala 

 State Senator Cheryl C. Kagan

 Maryland Delegate Marc Korman

 Montgomery Council Rep. Sidney Katz

 King Farm Citizens Assembly Reps
Martin Green (Pres), Barry Jackson, Nancy Paul

 Maryland Circuit Court
Judge (retired) Michael Algeo

 Members of the local judicial system

 MoCo Police Dept Autism Ambassador
Jake Edwards

 Montgomery County Police Dept
Dan Helton, Doug Tressler, Casandra Tressler

 City of Rockville Police Dept
Corporal Rick Halverson & Corporal Ken Matney 

 City of Gaithersburg Police Dept
Officer Dan Lane 

 International Association of Fire Firefighters
Fire truck & reps from Rockville, MoCo & PG Fire
Gene Malone & Jimmy Danyko (Greenburgh/Yonkers)
JJ Jackson & Robin Gray (Mississauga)
Teresa Crisman (PGFD), Shelley Rusk (IAFF Bubbette) 

 Local educators and community leaders
Maria Blaeuer (Education Rep Canditate)
Christine McComas (Grace’s Law)
Cheri Dowling (PPMD)
Christina Preston (Educator)  
Mary Spencer (Education & Peace Corps) 
Jenn Lynn (UpCounty Resrouces)
Jackie Zamora (ZamDance) 

 VIP Guests from the We Are Family Foundation
Mark & Rose Barondess
3DD  Global Teen Leader – Hector (Brazil)

 Playwright, Activist & Improv Artist
Robert Galinsky 

 Children’s Author & Educator
Timothy Bellavia & WAATSI Dolls

-

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 =-

2018 Peace Day Celebration
is a FREE event for all people
-
(sponsorships available)

Donations are encouraged
to support the peace mission of the
Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation
-
Our Peace Shop (1-4 pm)
will have wristbands, books, t-shirts,
personalized gifts bricks for
Mattie’s Park & more available
-
Peace Stations & Entertainment (1-4 pm)
will have hands-on activities, crafts, games,
& converstation tips for children and adults
to engage in understanding peace as a choice
-
Local Restaurants (1-7 pm)
to donate 15% proceeds
to Mattie’s Foundation from 1-7 pm
Please eat & drink generously!
And enjoy a chat with the “Guest Bartenders”
– local leaders (elected & campaigning & VIPs)

Botanero  Small Plates/Tapas & Signature Drinks
(Sunrise Sangria, Sunset Cerveza, Tie Dye Peace Punch)

Fontina Grille  Pasta, Pizza, Salads… & Signature Drinks
(Sunrise Sangria, Sunset Cerveza, Tie Dye Peace Punch)
-
Coffee Republic –  Muffins, cookies…  & Signature Drinks
(
several Peace Tea beverage options)

-

 =-

 THANK YOU TO OUR
2018 SPONSORS
& SUPPORTERS
—- 

(CLICK HERE to learn more
about the benefits

of becoming a
2018 Peace Day
sponsor  or supporter)

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2018 EVENT SPONSORS

DONATIONS & IN-KIND SUPPORT

==========================

 

 

 

 

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2018 PEACE GUIDES
& VOLUNTEERS

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2018 Peace Day Planning Team

2018 Peace Crew

2018 Peace Guides

2018 Peace Day Sponsors

2018 Peace Day Supporters

2018 Community Leaders

2018 Peace Day Entertainment

<– click on image to left…

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===================

NOTE:
Pleasant Drive and the access road in front of
Botanero and Fontina restaurants
will be closed to accommodate
moon bounce and peace activity tents.
-
Please park in surrounding lots & streets.

===================

-

 =-

E-mail HeartsongBooks@gmail.com
if you would like to be an event
Peace Guide Volunteer, Supporter, or Sponsor

-

The Peace Day event in King Farm celebrates
the City of Rockville, Maryland’s commitment
to an annual day dedicated to peace.
This activity is part of a larger effort to secure both
Peace Day proclamations at state and national levels. 

Learn more about the 
National Peace Day Campaign here…

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 =-

About Mattie and this event…

Mattie J.T. Stepanek created seven NY Times Bestselling books of Heartsongs poetry and Just Peace essays before dying due to neuromuscular disease just before his 14th birthday. He was an award-winning peace advocate and a frequent guest on shows like Oprah, Larry King Live, and Good Morning America.
-
Since his death in 2004, the City of Rockville, Maryland (where Mattie lived during his final years) has proclaimed his birthday as a “Peace Day,” encouraging local citizens to embrace peace through education and celebration, and rooted in information and inspiration provided in Mattie’s messages and materials.
-
His namesake Foundation has been campaigng for a National Peace Day since 2014, with the support of thousands of citizens, celebrities, and politicians — including a former president, senators, congressmen, mayors and other representatives.
-
In 2017, the City of Rockville voted to make Peace Day in honor Mattie’s birthday an annual event “in perpetua” — and serve as role models for making a day to “begin peace” a priority. In 2018, the leaders in Montgomery County and the Governor of Maryland also chose to proclaim Peace Day.
-
The annual celebration of Peace Day  and the mission to bring a day for peace to this country has been featured in both television and print media at local and national levels.
-
One person can make a difference… together, we can create change. Join us now, and help “Make Peace the News!”

-
Learn more about Mattie here…-
-
Learn more about the 
National Peace Day Campaign here…

-
Honor Mattie’s birthday with a gift
to his peace mission here…  

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EVENT PHOTO ALBUM

2018 0714 Peace Day 2018 0714 Peace Day MD proc 2018 0714 Peace Day SLIDER NEW_ 2018 Peace Day Event Map (not drawn to scale; some tent locations may change) 36064399_10214954377606584_1227145158026330112_n alt artivate DSCN4539 DSCN4541 DSCN4552 DSCN4553 DSCN4560 DSCN4563 DSCN4568 DSCN4569 DSCN4572 DSCN4573 DSCN4575 DSCN4576 DSCN4581 DSCN4583 DSCN4584 DSCN4588 DSCN4590 DSCN4591 DSCN4593 DSCN4596 DSCN4597 DSCN4598 DSCN4600 DSCN4601 DSCN4609 DSCN4610 DSCN4613 DSCN4614 DSCN4615 DSCN4619 DSCN4620 DSCN4621 DSCN4622 DSCN4623 DSCN4624 DSCN4625 DSCN4626 DSCN4627 DSCN4630 DSCN4633 DSCN4640 DSCN4641 DSCN4642 DSCN4644 DSCN4645 DSCN4646 DSCN4649 DSCN4655 DSCN4656 DSCN4658 DSCN4662 DSCN4667 DSCN4671 DSCN4673 DSCN4675 DSCN4677 DSCN4682 DSCN4685 DSCN4687 DSCN4695 DSCN4698 DSCN4702 DSCN4704 DSCN4706 DSCN4712 DSCN4719 DSCN4720 DSCN4722 DSCN4724 DSCN4725 DSCN4727 DSCN4734 DSCN4736 DSCN4738 DSCN4739 DSCN4741 DSCN4743 DSCN4744 DSCN4745 DSCN4746 DSCN4747 DSCN4749 DSCN4753 DSCN4755 DSCN4756 DSCN4757 DSCN4758 DSCN4761 DSCN4771 DSCN4999 IMG_1092 IMG_1114 IMG_2144 IMG_2419 IMG_7351 IMG_8656 IMG_8657 IMG_8658 IMG_8659 IMG_8752 IMG_8754 king farm logo alt Logo_Jump_In_and_dance marlow-guitar-logo mix1073 logo Peace Event Peace Event_1 Peace Event_10 Peace Event_11 Peace Event_12 Peace Event_22 Peace Event_26 Peace Event_32 Peace Event_33 Peace Event_34 Peace Event_35 Peace Event_36 Peace Event_37 Peace Event_4 Peace Event_40 Peace Event_41 Peace Event_5 Peace Event_6 Peace Event_7 Peace Event_8 Peace Event_9 2018 Peace Day Guides, Crew, Sponsors, Supporters, & Talent thrively rocket w_names ucr-logo-final

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Peace Day Event

Sponsorships Available

-
Let us celebrate YOU on our website,
in our print materials,
and in our media opportunities…
support peace with your sponsorship

-

Click here
to learn more…  

 

=================

2018 SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE

Let us celebrate YOU on our website,
in our print materials,
and in our media opportunities…
support peace with your sponsorship
-

PEACE EVENT SPONSOR
Mattie’s Peace Day 2018 Sponsor
– 1 available –

Learn more…
-

 PEACE PROGRAM SPONSORS
Program Tent & Stages
– 3 available –
Heartsongs (entertainment)
Dance for Peace (dancing!)
Garden (cake & conversation)

Learn more… 

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 PEACE STATION SPONSORS
Peace Activity Tents
– 7 available –
Seek Peace, Make Peace, Bring Peace,
Mosaic, Play for Peace, Kids & Kindness, &
Community Conversation Tents

Learn more… 

MATTIE’S BIRTHDAY/PEACE CHAMPIONS
– unlimited number –

Learn more…

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Return to Peace Events main page here… 

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Return to News main page here...

 

 

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Celebrating the Best of Nature, and Humanity: 2017 Solar Eclipse Notes

Posted on: August 21st, 2017 by jeni No Comments

Celebrating the Best of Nature…
and Humanity:
2017 Solar Eclipse Notes

 -

Nature is a miracle, and an every day gift to be treasured. Today — nature gave us an amazing demonstration of this miracle. Not only was the solar eclipse an incredible natural phenomenon to witness, but the event also highlighted kindness and sharing — and peace — among neighbors, who were all focused on witnessing something ever-so-nifty, and who chose to do so “in community” with others — both known and unknown before today.
 -
Here is how my afternoon went…
After not being able to secure any “safe to watch the eclipse- glasses,” Christopher Dobbins and I each donned multiple pairs of sunglasses (see amusing photos in the album below), hoping to at least get a glimpse of this once in a lifetime event. Uhm… nope. Didn’t really work for us.
 -
After a few (unsuccessful) moments of observation from our backyard, I headed across the street to the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park, where I could experience this event in the Peace Garden. That would make it special, even if I couldn’t really “see” it unfold. Within seconds, global neighbors (from Taiwan and China and Thailand — who had each just met each other for the first time) were saying, “Here, look through these — it is very different!.” They were sharing three pairs of eclipse-watching safety glasses secured from the Smithsonian Museum, and offering to share with every other global neighbor who chose Mattie’s Park as their place to observe this spectacular event.
 -
Wow! And thank you!
They were correct — watching the eclipse occur through the special glasses was just a beautiful gift of nature to witness, with safety and with clarity. For more than an hour, we all took turns, watching the eclipse for a minute or so — in awe — then passing the glasses to another neighbor, who would do the same, until a few minutes later, when it would be our turn again. The sharing was not structured or pre-planned, but it was organized and naturally occurring — simply by caring about others’ needs and wants, and ensuring they were balanced with personal needs and wants. And as the time passed, we all experienced — fully — the beauty of the eclipse with just a handful of special safety glasses in hand.
 -
Together, we watched the moon passing between the earth and the sun — in our area, blocking out 82 percent of the light. Together, we ooooh’d and aaaaah’d and cheered and shared the glasses. And as time passed, we engaged in conversation, and got to know a bit more about each other, and how we all ended up in this place, at this time.
 -
So I also say — Wow! And thank you!
As the global headlines of the week remind us, and sadden us, as we witness repeated acts of deliberate violence, and the injuring and killing of innocent children and adults as they celebrated life, this simple act of people sharing their resources with others — with other neighbors, yet not previously known or connected in time and space — was a reminder that, like nature, humanity is a treasured gift. And #PeaceIsPossible if we make peace, and important acts like kindness and respect, our choice.
 -
Today, I got to know a few new “neighbors from around the block and around the world.” Mattie Stepanek would be so happy. I look forward to future interactions as well. These are the truths that make life so wonderful. We are a global family. And that, is a gift — of nature and humanity at its best.
 -
Thank you, to Alex and Sue and Gigi and John and all the other new friends — my gifts of the 2017 Solar Eclipse. I am already looking forward to future gatherings with my newest friends, and global neighbors.
 -
#ChoosePeace.
#SolarEclipse.
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Message from Mattie’s Mom

Posted on: August 1st, 2017 by jeni No Comments

Message from Mattie’s Mom:
On Jeni’s Thriving Heartsong

 

Thank you to all for sharing your lovely and inspirational thoughts in response to this month’s Washingtonian Magazine article about Mattie and me. In many ways, the piece is beautiful. But I do want to re-assure everyone that I am still defying all medical odds, and moving through each day with purpose and gratitude and a celebration of life.
-
I am working and playing and living and praying. Yes, I have many medical challenges and they can be life-threatening, and I rely on much medical support every day – from the ventilator and oxygen to the wheelchair and IV fluids to a pacemaker and more… but despite it all, I look good (yay) and I am doing quite well (super yay).
-
None of us knows how much time we really have on earth. I guess, like Mattie (and many others who have statistical odds stacked heavily against them due to multiple life-threatening conditions), I am keenly aware of the sacred gift of each moment. So – by choice – I endeavor to give depth to each of those moments, which somehow helps me focus less on length of living.
-
That said, I also am hoping to reach my goal: “When I grow up, I want to be 83, and a beach chair philosopher.”
-
I am ever-grateful for ongoing prayers, which I believe has much to do with how well I am doing at this time – despite everything I have been through and continue to go through medically and emotionally.
-
Today, and each tomorrow, I encourage each of you to take a deep breath, and with purpose, exhale with the words “wow!” (about something or someone in your life) and “thank you!” (about you and your gift of life, and the gift you can choose to be for others).
-
Moving forthward with hope and gratitude.
Jeni (Mattie’s mom / Mama Peace).
-
PS — this article should have had a word like “resilience” or “purpose” or “gratitude” or “forthward” or “hope” in the title, and a bit more balance in the text which seemed to highlight the burdens more than the blessings… missed opportunity by the editors, even though the overall piece offers inspiration.

 -

Link to Washingtonian Magazine article
(August 2017 issue)

“Jeni Stepanek’s Last Heartsong”
by Justin Heckert –> click here…  

Return to News main page

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2017 Peace Day Party — EVENT PHOTOS POSTED !!!

Posted on: May 19th, 2017 by jeni No Comments

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2017 Peace Day Party

Sunday, July 16, 2017
From 3 to 8 pm
-

Indoor/Outdoor Party

Botanero Restaurant,
Fontina Restaurant,
Coffee Republic,
& the KF Village Green
800 Pleasant Drive, Rockville, MD 20850
(4 blocks south of Mattie’s Park) 

-

Entertainment Featuring:

Mix 107.3′s Jimmy Alexander

Listen and laugh as this local DJ from the
Jack Diamond Morning Show keeps the
party moving with music & conversation

The Black & Tan Band

Enjoy Irish/Celtic music performed by
local judges and courthouse officials,
including King Farm neighbor — Michael Algeo

Omékongo Dibinga

Be inspired by this local “UPstander” and
peace activist who is an award-winning rapper

Kick’s Karate Rockville Demo Team

Watch local youth and adults share their talent,
respect, and self-control through martial arts
- -

-

-

Media Coverage

Washingtonian Magazine
Mix 107.3 Jack Diamond Morning Show
Rockville 11 TV
NBC4
FOX5  

-

Local Politicians Invited (include…)

Senator Ben Cardin
Senator Chris Van Hollen
Governor Larry Hogan
Congressman Jamie Raskin
State Senator Cheryl Kagan
Rockville Mayor Bridget Newton
Rockville City Council Members
Maryland Delegate Marc Korman
Maryland Delegate Aruna Miller
County Executive Ike Leggett
Montgomery County Council Members
Montgomery Council Rep. Sidney Katz
Montgomery County Rep. Hans Reimer
Montgomery County Rep. Al Carr
Montgomery Council Rep Marc Elrich
Representatives from The White House
and other special guests…  

 

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Click on image to enlarge…-

-
Celebrating Mattie’s
Birthday 
Peace Day
with Mattie’s Foundation,
the City of Rockville and
King Farm Neighbors as we
“Make Peace the News!” 

-
Indoor Parties
3 to 8 pm

Mattie’s Foundation Treasurer
(Chris Dobbins) will serve as
“guest bartender” at
Botanero Restaurant.
-
Signature drinks for the event:
Sunrise Sangria & Sunset Cerveza
(for the adults) and
Tie-Dye Peace Punch
(for both kids & adults).
-
These signature drinks are
celebrating Mattie’s and
his mom, Jeni’s, favorite colors
and symbols for hope & peace.
-
Botanero Restaurant
will be
donating 15 percent of all
food and drink sales from 3 to 8 pm
to Mattie’s Foundation
to support the peace mission.
-
-

Fontina Grille
will also be celebrating
Peace Day and donating
15 percent of all 3 to 8 pm
food/drink sale proceeds to
Mattie’s Foundation.

-

Coffee Republic
will be offering three
“Peace Tea” beverage options
to celebrate the Peace Day Party,
and donating 15 percent of all
food/drink sales from 3-8 pm
to Mattie’s Foundation.

-
Outdoor Party — 3 to 6 pm

 Join us on the KF Village Green
just across from
Botanero & Fontina & Coffee Republic
for FREE entertainment and peace activities,
including a moon bounce and face painting
and cake and conversation
with local leaders, politicians and
families, & neighbors of all ages,
hosted by Mattie’s Foundation,
the City of Rockville, MD and
the King Farm Citizen’s Assembly.
-
Pleasant Drive and the access road in front of
Botanero and Fontina restaurants
will be closed to accommodate
moon bounces and peace activity tents.

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Outdoor Party 

is FREE

-

Donations Encouraged

 

Program & Event
Highlights
click on image
to the right –>

=======
=====-

Botanero & Fontina & Coffee Republic
will be donating

15% of event drink/food sales to
benefit the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation…
Please generously enjoy the signature & special drinks
& the great tapas and menu items!
-
Peace t-shirts, wristbands, inspiration cards
and more “Peace Shop” items will be available
on the King Farm Village Green.
-

We are anticipating media coverage.
Please join us, and together, we will
“Make Peace the News!”
-

-

 

Volunteer,

Sponsor,

&

Distinguished
Guests

Lists


<— click on the image to the left 

 —-

E-mail HeartsongBooks@gmail.com
if you would like to be an event
Peace Guide Volunteer.

-

Learn more about the
National Peace Day Campaign here…


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About Mattie and this event…

Mattie J.T. Stepanek created seven NY Times Bestselling books of Heartsongs poetry and Just Peace essays before dying due to neuromuscular disease just before his 14th birthday. He was an award-winning peace advocate and a frequent guest on shows like Oprah, Larry King Live, and Good Morning America. Since his death in 2004, the City of Rockville, Maryland (where Mattie lived during his final years) has proclaimed his birthday as a “Peace Day,” encouraging local citizens to embrace peace through education and celebration, and rooted in information and inspiration provided in Mattie’s messages and materials. His namesake Foundation has been campaigng for a National Peace Day since 2014, with the support of thousands of citizens, celebrities, and politicians — including a former president, senators, congressmen, mayors and other representatives. This party and the mission to bring a day for peace to this country will be featured in an upcomong feature article in the Washingtonian Magazine.
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Learn more about Mattie here…-
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Learn more about the 
National Peace Day Campaign here…  

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Honor Mattie’s birthday with a gift
to his peace mission here…  

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EVENT PHOTO ALBUM

ROWS 1 through 47.5 –
Photos by Event Photographer — Tom Robertson

ROWS 47.5 through end – 
Photos posted on Facebook
 by Peace Guides & Peace Day Party participants

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Return to Peace Events main page here… 

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Return to News main page here..

 

 

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Catch up on our latest news items…

Posted on: April 5th, 2017 by jeni No Comments

Visit our News page here… 

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Stay up to date on
activities and information
that involve Mattie’s Foundation. 

-

Current news items include:

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– Nelson Mandela to be honored with Mattie Peacemaker Award
during We Are Family Foundation Gala, April 28, in New York City

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– 30 new Global Teen Leaders take Mattie’s peace vision “forthward”
following the annual Three Dot Dash “Just Peace Summit”

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– Mattie’s mom honored by DC Children’s Hospital
for decades of advocacy work on behalf of children & families

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– and much much more…

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Visit our News page here… 

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Visit our Archived News page here… 
 

2018 — Celebrating Mattie’s 28th Birthday!

Posted on: January 9th, 2017 by jeni No Comments

 

Happy 28th Birthday,
Mattie J.T. Stepanek

(and Happy 13 Year Anniversary
for Mattie’s Foundation!) 

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NOTE: Yes — the annual birthday campaign is year round!
You will be celebrated on this page all year,
from January through December!

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We HIGHLIGHT the campaign during the months of
Mattie’s anniversary (June 22)
and his birthday (July 17),
but we post supporters year-round!  

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2018 is a special year…
we are celebrating what would be
Mattie’s 28th birthday,
and the 13th anniversary of the
Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation! 
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Last year, more than $5,000 was raised for
Mattie’s Foundation during his
26th Birthday Campaign with 150+ gifts
from Birthday Peace Champions!
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Because of these Champions,
we are able to continue sharing
many of our activities and programs
at no cost to global participants.

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Let’s make the
2018 Birthday Campaign
amazingly successful, with
gifts that support his peace mission,
and our 2018 theme: 

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“Peace is possible…
choose peace!” 

– Mattie J.T. Stepanek

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———–-

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Thank you celebrating Mattie’s 28th birthday

all year long, and especially

throughout June and July!

—-

We invite you to become a
Birthday Champion (gifts of $28 or more)
and share a message on the website
-
or become a
Birthday FRIEND (gifts up to $27).

=
All gifts that celebrate
Mattie’s 28th birthday and
support his ongoing
peace mission are
100 percent tax deductible!


Just click here…

-==

These gifts honor
Mattie’s life and legacy
and support his Foundation.

-

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All Birthday Champions are listed listed
 on our 2018 Peace Champions page (here…)

– 

Champions who donate $28 (or more)
to honor Mattie’s 27th birthday may also
offer a brief birthday/peace message
to be posted along with
 your name/family/business
on the Peace Champions page
(click here…) 

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Gifts of $25 or $100 (or more)
entitle the sponsor to enroll at no extra cost in
Mattie’s Peace Club or VIP Membership program.
Please make a note in the COMMENT section
of your donation, and we will be in touch!

 –

You may share gifts as individuals,
as families and groups,
as businesses and organizations.

It’s never too early or too late to join:

CLICK HERE TO DONATE

—-

You may also mail donations to:

Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation
402 King Farm Blvd. #125
Rockville, MD 20850

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Click here to see the
2018 Peace Champions
including the

Birthday Campaign messages…

 —-

Click here to see all of
our Peace Champions
across the years…

-

 

Return to News page

October Spotlight

In-Kind Support

Celebrating our "in kind" sponsors and advocates -- who support Mattie's Foundation with services and materials. Thank you ezStorage, Montgomery Printing, Parcel Plus, and Potomac Valley Brick! Read more...

Nourishment Support

Celebrating our "nourishment" sponsors and advocates -- who support Mattie's Foundation with food and services. Thank you Botanero Restaurant, Fontina Grille, Safeway, Coffee Republic, and Red Hot & Blue! Read more...

Community Support

Celebrating our "community" sponsors and advocates -- who support Mattie's Foundation with commitment and participation. Thank you City of Rockville, King Farm Citizen's Assembly, Kick's Karate & Mix 107.3! Read more...

Champion Support

Celebrating our "Foundation Champions" -- sponsors and volunteers of all ages who support Mattie's Foundation through donations, brick sponsorships, participation in our activities and events. Thank you!!! Read more...

- Mattie J.T. Stepanek