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

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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#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.
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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).
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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.
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That said, I also am hoping to reach my goal: “When I grow up, I want to be 83, and a beach chair philosopher.”
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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.
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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).
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Moving forthward with hope and gratitude.
Jeni (Mattie’s mom / Mama Peace).
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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…  

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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
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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) 

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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
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Media Coverage

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

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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…-

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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.
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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 –>

=======
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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!”
-

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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. 

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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… 
 

2017 — Celebrating Mattie’s 27th Birthday!

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

 

Happy 27th Birthday,
Mattie J.T. Stepanek

(and Happy 12 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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2017 is a special year…
we are celebrating what would be
Mattie’s 27th birthday,
and the 12th 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
2017 Birthday Campaign
amazingly successful, with
gifts that support his peace mission,
and our 2017 theme: 

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“I am peace…
together, we are peace!” 

– Mattie J.T. Stepanek

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Thank you celebrating Mattie’s 27th birthday

all year long, and especially

throughout June and July!

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We invite you to become a
Birthday Champion (gifts of $27 or more)
and share a message on the website
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or become a
Birthday FRIEND (gifts up to $26).

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All gifts that celebrate
Mattie’s 27th birthday and
support his ongoing
peace mission are
100 percent tax deductible!


Just click here…

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

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All Birthday Champions are listed listed
 on our 2017 Peace Champions page (here…)

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Champions who donate $27 (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 (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!

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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

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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
2017 Peace Champions
including the

Birthday Campaign messages…

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

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e-Peace Update & 2017 Activity Preview!

Posted on: December 23rd, 2016 by jeni No Comments

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For global neighbors of all faiths, in all spaces of our world… 

December Prayer
by Mattie J.T Stepanek
penned December 1999 (Age 9)

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(Please click on image to enlarge) 

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December 2016 e-Peace Update

(e-mailed to members of
Mattie’s Peace Network & Mattie’s Peace Clubs)

Hello friends - -Another year is coming to a close, and the dawning year is sure to bring many changes. Change, even when necessary or inevitable (or desired or undesired), can be difficult, with unknowns being a source of hesitation or hardship for some, and hope or healing for others.

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I used to share this thought with my son Mattie:

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We can’t always choose what happens to us or around us, and we can’t choose our feelings — BUT — we can choose our attitudes, and we can choose our words and our actions, in any and every moment. 

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So whether a given moment involves celebration or suffering, or tragedy or triumph, or perhaps just the mundane day-to-day stuff that moves us from one minute to the next — we always have a choice in how we touch others and the future — through our thoughts and attitudes, which are expressed through our words and actions. 

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Mattie processed and included this thought in his  “Heartsongs” messages of purpose and peace. He understood that it is this truth — that even as natural and human disasters occur, and despite what others think or say or do, each individual person always has the choice to think and say and do and BE “good” — which is how a just peace can unfold.

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Mattie understood, and inspired us to realize  that even amid change, and concern, and hesitation, we can choose to believe that hope is real, and that peace is possible. And more importantly, we can choose to be a source of hope and peace — for ourselves, and for others, and for our world.

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This is the message that underlies the
mission of Mattie’s Foundation.  

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As most of you in  “Mattie’s Peace Network” know, Mattie’s Foundation is a very small, volunteer-based non-profit. And the 2015 and 2016 years have been difficult for us, as I (Mattie’s mom and Foundation Executive Director) have been dealing with challenges related to cancer and neuromuscular disease, and also significant complications related to my cancer treatments.

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The tough news is that the health challenges are ongoing and progressive. But the nifty news is that I am resilient, and I have a great support team, and I am adapting and figuring out how to “live around the complications and challenges.” This means I am choosing to set some big goals for 2017, and I will be focused on tending to things that really matter — family and friends, local and global neighbors, and fulfilling the mission of Mattie’s Foundation.

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During 2017, Mattie’s Foundation will be using a phrase from Mattie’s  “Peace Pledge” (on our bookmarks) as the theme that guides our programs and activities:

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“I am peace. Together, we are peace.”

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Throughout the year, we will be sharing both inspiration and information from Mattie’s messages of hope and peace and purpose. We will offer a variety of activities and programs created to support children and adults, families and educators, students and leaders, and folks of diverse races and religions and realities in better understanding what peace IS, and what peace is NOT. Our vision is that our materials and messages will both encourage and equip people in moving peace from a possibility, to a reality — at  individual  and community levels.

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  • Early in 2017, I will be sharing information about a new key Foundation volunteer who will be serving as our “Chief Operations Officer.” She has already secured a free monthly half-page of space in our local “Washington Parent” magazine — so we can update local families and educators and other leaders on our latest activities. As we endeavor to “Make Peace the News” – we hope to secure space (or time) in other publications and media outlets (please let us know if you can help with that). Just imagine a Peace Corner in every newspaper and magazine and website, or a Peace Pause or Peace Spotlight each week on every radio or tv news show!
  • During January and February, we will continue working hard on our National “Peace Day” Campaign effort (something that requires presidential legislation), and we will be posting messages in celebration of Black History Month. We will get back on track with our regular e-Peace Updates (for members of Mattie’s Peace Network and Mattie’s Peace Clubs), and with my “Messages from Mama Peace” (for youth, families, educators and other leaders and advisors). We will also be coordinating our spring “personalized gift brick” drive for the newest bricks and message inscriptions that will be placed in Mattie’s Peace Garden during the spring.-
  • During March, April (National Poetry Month), and May, we will be advertising, processing, and posting all the submissions (artwork, photos, and other materials) for the 2017 Mattie’s Peace Tree activity. We hope to have hundreds (or thousands) of local and global neighbors participating in this free annual international activity with the motto – “many people, many places — one purpose: peace!” And, we hope to have some amazing prizes to offer to participants in our Peace Treeactivity (prizes will be based on participation, and awarded through random drawings).
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  • During June, July, and August, we will highlight our ongoing #Change4Peace activities, which are featured both on our website and celebrated with crafts and games and more in the “Peace Station” tents during our summer peace event. For our 2017 event, we will again collaborate with the City of Rockville, Maryland on an annual “party with a purpose” – which will include the Foundation’s July 4 Peace Gathering and the City’s Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration – all in the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park & Peace Garden. Also, while Mattie’s Birthday Campaign is a year-round activity, we will highlight this essential funding effort during the months of Mattie’s anniversary (June) and his birthday (July).
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  • During September and October, we will highlight the latest updates to our Teacher Tips & Lesson Plans pages, and to our Peace Tips & Poetry Links pages (both on Mattie’s website). These pages celebrate the work of families and educators (and students and classes and schools and community and spiritual organizations) who are seeking or have earned free Peace Activity Certificates from our Foundation, and also participants (past and present) in our Peace Certification Program – who are certified either individually or as a community, or who have participated in one of our Pathways to Peace Train-the-Trainer Workshops.-
  • During November and December, we will focus on “thanks” and “giving” — with messages of the importance of gratitude, for you and from you, and with reflections on giving — of ourselves, and for each other, and for our world. And, I hope to be sending out a most amazing “end of year review” e-Peace Update – highlighting and celebrating all the amazing activities and programs that unfolded and made 2017 a “good” year — for local and global neighbors — even amid change.-

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These are just a few highlights of our vision for the coming year. Much will be the same — rooted in our familiar programs and activities, but much will also be new as we create and offer additional or updated materials and resources and activities. Yes, change is difficult. But, change is how we grow forthward. During 2017, we at Mattie’s Foundation hope to support YOU — in attitude and action — so that you can embrace change, with peace, and for good.
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Finally, one thing that will not change in 2017 is our commitment to offering most of our activities and programs at no cost (or minimal cost) to participants. This is possible because of YOUR generous support. Whether you give financially as a Peace Champion or a Birthday Champion or a Club Memberor Sponsor, or whether you support us with in-kind donations of space or food or printing or other resources that make our activities and events possible — YOU are an essential part of our mission, and we celebrate you, with gratitude!

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Supporting Mattie’s Foundation matters.
You can never give too soon or too late
or too little or too much.
-

CLICK HERE to share your 
your TAX DEDUCTIBLE gift.
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We will celebrate you on our 
Peace Champions page (here…) 

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Visit our website to learn more about our Current News items, and all of our ongoing and upcoming Activities and Events.

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And we love to hear from you! Please share messages (and photos and artwork) and feedback — and let us know if we can share your thoughts on our What You Are Saying website pages.

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Thank you!

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Hope and peace to all,

Jeni (Mattie’s mom / Mama Peace)
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HeartsongBooks@gmail.com

www.MattieOnline.com 

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“Peace is possible… choose peace!”

Mattie J.T. Stepanek

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STAY CONNECTED:

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our profile on LinkedIn

www.MattieOnline.com

 

Return to main News page…. 

 

 

Election Reflection: On Hope, Beyond Hurt

Posted on: November 9th, 2016 by jeni No Comments

 

WE Are…
11/9 2016 and Forthward

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Please share… 

Copy & paste this link: http://www.mattieonline.com/?p=24328

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“We” as a country, as a nation, are clearly divided, and angry, and hurt, and scared, and making statements – this way or that way – about the need for change. That is evident.

 

But “WE” – the people of hope and peace and justice and inclusion and celebration of humanity – need not be divided, or dismayed, or disenfranchised, simply because folks so desperate for change somehow were able to turn a blind eye to the intolerance and a deaf ear to the bullying that were such an inherent part of the presidential campaign – and spoke louder on a given day – albeit a given day that will impact years to come.

 

The election is done. But WE are not – regardless of how we “feel” about the results.

 

WE must not lose clarity, and we must not allow ourselves to be guided by or empowered by or paralyzed by emotion – whether satisfied with the vote results,or terrified of what is to come, or wondering what difference any one person can make as we move into the future.

 

WE must be united, more than ever, and seek peace, and make peace, and bring peace – and simply BE the source of hope and peace while we move through the next four years.

 

WE can choose to respond, not react, to the results of this election.

 

WE must tell our children, and each other, it will be okay, somehow. And WE must choose to make it okay, by being role models and good neighbors, and by refusing to allow or be blind or deaf to intolerance or bullying – in word or action, in our homes and schools and work places and communities – in any moment or in any space and for any person.

 

WE must do all we can, as individuals and as families and as communities to ensure that it IS okay – not just for ourselves, but also for our neighbors – of all races and religions and realities.

 

WE must rise above fear, and anger, and discouragement, and disagreements, and actively tend to hope and peace, and people – one by one and many by many – so that with or despite the voices that happen to have the elected-power to lead, WE are the voices and attitudes and actions that move time and humanity forthward – with hope and with peace, and with kindness, and with indivisibility, and with justice for all.

 

WE must each somehow, even in the midst of a swirl of emotions, commit to “good” in attitude and action – and not become victims of emotion.

 

In his book, “Just Peace: A Message of Hope,” Mattie J.T Stepanek writes that we, the people, are a mosaic of gifts, but that mosaic is being shattered and the pieces scattered, because of choices that we – even as good people – are making. But he implores us to not lose hope, or let go of the endeavor for peace. He encourages us to gather every mosaic piece – bright or broken, old or new, large or small – and tend to each one, and rebuild the mosaic – with balanced choices. And he even gives us a choice-by-choice guide for journeying along pathways to peace – if we make this our choice.

 

It is okay to be sad, or in shock, or scared, or to have any other feelings as a result of this election. It is not okay to get stuck in feeling hopeless, or helpless. We cannot choose our feelings, but we can choose the shape of our attitudes, which unfold into words and actions.  We can process our feelings, and together, move forthward.

 

Hope and peace are not easy choices, but they are worthy choices – always, and for all people.

 

Despite the election results, and whichever side of the vote we identify with – this way or that way – we can each commit to creating the change we desperately need, without hurting others – in body or mind or spirit.

 

Hope is real. Believe it. 
Peace is possible. Be it. 
I Am. Together, We Are…

 

With prayers for our world,
Jeni (Mattie’s mom / Mama Peace).

 

Jeni Stepanek, PhD, is a Faculty Associate in Special Education at the University of Maryland, and serves as the Executive Director of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation. 

 

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Attitude to Action –

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Peace Certified IKF Hosts First Annual Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peace Lecture

Posted on: October 4th, 2016 by jeni No Comments

AU Peace Educator, Barbara Wien,
Speaks at First Annual

Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peace Lecture
Hosted by Peace Certified IKF 

 

(L-R): IKF Chaplain Richard Thayer, AU Professor & event speaker Dr. Barbara Wien, Mattie’s Foundation Executive Director Dr. Jeni Stepanek, IKF Resident Bob Balkam, and Rockville Mayor Bridget Newton gather for the inaugural Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peace Lecture hosted by Ingleside at King Farm — a Peace Certified retirement community in Maryland.

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IKF’s Peace Journey (so far…)

IKF Chaplain Richard Thayer and IKF resident Nancy Kaplan prepare for the 1st Annual Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peace Lecture, setting up a display with one of the Rockville retirement community’s “peace quilts” and other peace crafts and activities created by the residents.

 

During the summer of 2013, residents, staff and community members gathered at Ingleside at King Farm  for a peace picnic.

 

During the celebration, ideas were gathered and shared for a peace project that would move this retirement community in Rockville, Maryland towards a new goal — “Peace Certification” by the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation.

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During fall, 2013, residents took a “Peace Walk” to the nearby Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park to further explore peace — for one’s self and for one’s world.

 

And across the next year, IKF residents gathered again — to listen to Mattie’s mom, Jeni Stepanek, share information and inspiration from Mattie’s peace messages and about his namesake Foundation’s Pathways to Peace Program – and to create “Peace Quilts” for their Peace Certification project.
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But this was only the beginning of IKF’s commitment to moving from “attitude to action” with peace.

 

The peace quilt squares that make up six large wall hangings now are displayed in various areas of the IKF community, and they also travel to other communities where peace is being sought and planned.

 

In addition to the picnic, walk, quilt, and other peace gatherings, IKF residents decided to launch an annual event that would continue moving peace “forthward — with choice” as Mattie would say.

 

Barbara Wien, professor at American University’s School of International Service and global peace educator and activist, shares information and inspiration in support of Mattie’s “peace is possible” statement during the 1st Annual Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peace Lecture hosted by Ingleside at King Farm, a Peace Certified retirement community in Rockville, Maryland.

On October 2, 2016, IKF residents and members of the Rockville community (including the mayor and Mattie’s moms), gathered again in this Peace Certified Community for the inaugural Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peace Lecture.

 

The event speaker was Barbara Wien, a professor at American University in Washington, DC, and a well-respected global peace educator and activist.

 

During her presentation, Wien addressed (and agreed with) Mattie’s claim that “peace is possible” — sharing stories of peace journeys, and emphasizing the importance of infusing peace education programs in schools, of bringing peace information into mainstream media and news, and of creating more and more peace communities — parks and other planned areas that serve as buffers for bordering communities in potential or real conflict. Such peace places bring people together in shared responsibility, and enhances collaboration, and makes peace possible..

 

More information:
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Photo Album from the Inaugural IKF
Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peace Lecture

 

PHOTOS
Rows 1-4 by Jeni Stepanek
Rows 5-6 by IKF’s Kate Kavitski

IMG_5300 IMG_5302 IMG_5303 IMG_5304 IMG_5306 IMG_5308 IMG_5316 IMG_5318 IMG_5322 IMG_5324 IMG_5329 IMG_5331 IMG_5366 IMG_5367 IMG_5368 IMG_5369 IMG_5370 MJS Lecture4

 

 

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First P2P Workshop a Huge Success!

Posted on: September 7th, 2016 by jeni No Comments

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2016 Pathways to Peace
Train-the-Trainer Workshop:
A HUGE Success!

The Peace Tips Guide was one of many resources and materials provided to the 2016 Pathways to Peace Train-the-Trainer Workshop participants to support them in planning a peace journey for themselves and their local communities.

 

During August, two dozen community leaders gathered in Baltimore, Maryland to participate in the 2016 Pathways to Peace Train-the-Trainer Workshop. During the two-day weekend training opportunity, participants learned about the life and legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek, and about the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation’s “P2P” peace education program, and created specific plans for bringing the P2P program into their communities.

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Across the coming months, these amazing participants — now newly trained peace facilitators (aka “peace agents” as the participants dubbed themselves) — will be bringing the P2P program into their communities across the United States and Canada. In doing so, inspirational and informational content and educational and recreational activities will be introduced to youth and adults in a range of diverse settings, including schools and universities, hospitals and detention centers, places of worship and online anti-bullying forums, and homes, businesses, and other communities.

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The Pathways to Peace (P2P) Program — part of the Peace Certification journey offered by Mattie’s Foundation — is an organized way of moving through information and inspiration while exploring key elements of Mattie’s message of hope and peace. Examples of these key elements include Heartsongs, purpose, hope, choice, balance, service, communication, kindness, anti-bullying, resilience, coping, motivation, spirituality, education, “mosaic of humanity,” moving “forthward,” and more.

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The program is rooted in Mattie’s “Three Choices for Peace” concept, and supports participants of diverse ages, abilities, and aspirations in learning to “reflect on, respond to, and reach out with” the  peace elements that are a part of the journey. As participants progress through each element and the program as a whole, they embrace the peace elements as attitudes and habits that in turn shape realities — so that they become “peace seekers, peace makers, and peace bringers.”

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The P2P TTT workshop was planned and facilitated by Jeni STepanek, PhD (Mattie’s mom and Executive Director of Mattie’s Foundation). The Stavros Niarchos Foundation grant to support the workshop was secured by Cynda Rushton, PhD (President of Mattie’s Foundation).

Planned and facilitated by Jeni Stepanek, PhD, (Mattie’s mom and Executive Director of the Mattie’s Foundation), the two-day workshop  consisted of presentations, hands-on activities, group discussions, networking during meals, and specific site planning sessions — and a lot of bonding and good fun.

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Three members of the Board of Directors for Mattie’s Foundation were among the participants:

  • Cynda Rushton, PhD (Foundation President & P2P Event Host),
  • Laura Bauer, MPA (Foundation Vice President & P2P Program Evaluation Tech), and
  • Max Jones, GTL (Foundation Director & P2P Grant Coordinator).

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The 2016 community leader participants include Nikki Akparewa, Nasreen Bahreman, Diana Baptiste, Kendra Cornwell, Rev. Jayne Feldman, Robert Galinsky, Reagan Leibowitz-Smith, Barry McConatha, Stacey McKinnon PhD, Christine McComas, Tilsim Newman, Barbara O’Connor, Chijioke Okeke-Ekpe, Rev. Faith Reid, Rev. Christian Savage, Terri Shannon, Rev. John Shearin, Andrea Smith, Jackie Stone, and Kim Talbot.

 

The P2P TTT participants unanimously rated the workshop as an “excellent” and “life changing” event.

 

Unanimous feedback from the workshop participants rated the two-days of training as “excellent” and “life changing” — for themselves and for their communities.

Comments from participants include:
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  • The wealth of materials already created (by Mattie’s Foundation) that I can use to plan workshops for my local community is amazing and very useful.
  • Because of this training, I am now able to take the information and resources that were shared through this workshop, and adapt the program to the needs of members in my community.
  • I have learned so much about the importance of actively practicing peace in your everyday life before you can expect others to practice it in theirs.
  • I learned that peace is the highest calling for our world right now. And for myself as well.
  • I have learned that learning through peace continues forever.

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The 2016 Pathways to Peace Train-the-Trainer Workshop was made possible by a grant to Mattie’s Foundation by the  Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The grant was secured to both disseminate and evaluate the Pathways to Peace program elements in diverse settings and with diverse populations. Some of the new facilitators will be implanting six to ten different “P2P peace element” sessions in their communities. Others will be implementing one specific P2P peace element to different individuals across time. And other facilitators will be adapting the P2P peace elements in a variety of ways and for differing time frames in their communities.

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P2P TTT participants are now “peace agent” facilitators who are creating P2P sessions to be implemented in their local communities so that more and more youth and adults learn about the “peace elements” shared by late teen poet and peace ambassador, Mattie J.T. Stepanek.

Information about changes in attitudes and beliefs, and in actions and practices related to peace and collaboration within and between individuals and communities will be gathered across time as the program unfolds in each community. Specific peace activities, events, lesson plans, and other information updates will be shared on Mattie’s website, with the hope that other community leaders may benefit and adapt the lessons for use in their own settings.


In addition to the grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the workshop was support with in-kind donations of materials, food, drink, support, and space by:
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  • Starbucks (Inner Harbor — coffee each morning),
  • Red Hot & Blue (Gaithersburg, MD — catered lunch and beverage each afternoon),
  • Hampton Inn & Suites (Inner Harbor — reduced and donated rooms for out of town participants),
  • The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (event space and technical support), and
  • Curt and Andrea Smith and family (longtime volunteers for Mattie’s Foundation who donated materials and logistic support for the weekend event).

Mattie’s Foundation is grateful to know that peace matters to so many people and businesses who were a part of this important training opportunity.

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P2P TTT Workshop Photo Album

Photos shared by
Andrea Smith, Christine McComas, Craig Lee,

Laura Bauer, Robert Galinsky, and Jeni Stepanek

2016 0820 P2P Participants b 2016 P2P TTT Mosaic B&A Andrea IMG_3190 Christine IMG_3145 Craig IMG_3331 Craig IMG_3345 1 Craig IMG_3349 Craig IMG_3349_1 Craig info board IMG_3320 Craig info board IMG_3325 Craig info board IMG_3326 Craig info board IMG_3330 Craig info board IMG_3332 Craig info board IMG_3337 Craig info board IMG_3350 Craig info table IMG_3317 Craig info table IMG_3318 Craig marker mosaic IMG_3327 Craig marker mosaic IMG_3328 Craig marker mosaic IMG_3329 Craig mosaic IMG_3311 Craig mosaic IMG_3316 Craig mosaic IMG_3329 Craig mosaic IMG_3340 Craig mosaic IMG_3343 Craig mosaic IMG_3347 Craig mosaic IMG_3348 Craig mosaic IMG_3354 Craig people IMG_3309 Craig people IMG_3312 Craig people IMG_3319 Craig people IMG_3321 Craig people IMG_3324 Craig people IMG_3342 Craig people IMG_3346 Craig people IMG_3352 The P2P TTT participants unanimously rated the workshop as an "excellent" and "life changing" event. P2P TTT participants are now "peace agent" facilitators who are creating P2P sessions to be implemented in their local communities so that more and more youth and adults learn about the "peace elements" shared by late teen poet and peace ambassador, Mattie J.T. Stepanek. The P2P TTT workshop was planned and facilitated by Jeni STepanek, PhD (Mattie's mom and Executive Director of Mattie's Foundation). The Stavros Niarchos Foundation grant to support the workshop was secured by Cynda Rushton, PhD (President of Mattie's Foundation). Jeni Robert shares IMG_3189 Jeni waffles IMG_3174 Jeni waffles IMG_3176 Jeni waffles IMG_3177 Laura Barry camera guy IMG_3200 Laura Jeni and Laura IMG_3199 Laura marker mosaic IMG_3195 Laura mosaic IMG_3191 Laura mosaic IMG_3192 Laura mosaic IMG_3193 Laura mosaic IMG_3194 Laura people IMG_3202 Laura room IMG_3198 Laura workshop IMG_3196 Laura workshop IMG_3197 Laura workshop IMG_3201 Robert info board IMG_3146 Robert info board IMG_3147 Robert info board IMG_3149 Robert info board IMG_3151 Robert info board IMG_3153 Robert people IMG_3148 Robert people IMG_3150 Robert people IMG_3152 Stacey misc IMG_3179 Stacey mosaic IMG_3180 Stacey workshop IMG_3144

 

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I Am… Mattie

Posted on: June 11th, 2016 by jeni No Comments

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Coming soon!

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“I Am… Mattie”

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The first full-length documentary on the
life and legacy of
Mattie J.T. Stepanek.

 

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Details:

  • The vision is to release the documentary during 2017. The actual timing of release will be impacted by available funding and resources.
  • “I Am… Mattie” will offer intimate details on Mattie’s childhood and private life, and on his public life and peace mission during the final years before his death.
  • The story of the late teen ”poet, peacemaker, and philosopher who played” will be told largely through Mattie’s voice — including never before seen home video footage and and excerpts from Mattie’s speeches and media appearances.
  • Interviews with family members, friends, celebrities, and others who knew Mattie during his life, as well as with those who carry his mission forward today, will be woven into the archival footage to complete the story.
  • The documentary will include a call to action — and an opportunity for global citizens to participate in a pre-release ”Who is Mattie?” campaign, and a post-release “Who Am I?” campaign. 
    –>
    Campaign participation information to be posted soon!
  • The progress of this documentary will be updated on Mattie’s website throughout the course of this project.
  • The project is being produced by Jeni Stepanek with Gary Bencheghib and Sam Bencheghib.
  • Many other supporters are working on the development and production of this film project — including individuals who were involved in producing media segments with Mattie during his lifespan (e.g., Paula Starcher — Baltimore MDA Telethon segments, Michael Watts — Larry King Live segments, Brian O’Keefe — Good Morning America  segments, and others…)
  • To receive e-mail updates on the progress, please send a message to  MattieOnline.com@gmail.com to be added to our secure (and never shared) mailing list.

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Seeking Sponsors: 

  • Mattie’s Foundation is serving as the “fiscal sponsor” (or host) for this project. Donations received for the purpose of the “I Am… Mattie” documentary project will be used solely for that purpose. The Foundation is not involved with the production of the documentary, but serving as a fiscal sponsor.
  • Foundation friends offering gifts of $100 or more will be listed on the website and select print materials related to the documentary as “Documentary Supporters.”
  • Foundation friends offering gifts of $1000 or more will be listed on the website and select print materials related to the documentary, and also in the documentary film credits as “Documentary Sponsors.” 
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  • To become a Documentary Supporter or Documentary Sponsor CLICK HERE… 

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“Who is Mattie?” & “Who am I?” campaigns:

  • The progress of this documentary will be updated on Mattie’s website throughout the course of this project.
  • To receive e-mail updates on the progress, please send a message to MattieOnline.com@gmail.com to be added to our secure (and never shared) mailing list.
  • Information about how to participate in our pre- and post-release campaigns (free, fun, and for peace) will be posted here soon…

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Documentary Supporters
($100 or more — listed on Mattie’s website)

Chris LeBelle — Oshkosh, WI — $101

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Documentary Sponsors
($1,000 or more — listed on website
and in documentary credits)

Add YOUR NAME here… 

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November Spotlight

Peace Seeker

Our Peace Seeker Spotlights honor our Peace Club Youth members -- and the families, educators, and mentors who choose to support these Kids, Tweens, and Teens in learning and celebrating that “peace is possible.” Read more...

Peace Maker

Our Peace Maker Spotlights honor our Peace Club General & VIP members – adults who "choose peace" and offer a small membership fee that supports our activities and programs, including the free activities offered to our youth members. Read more...

Peace Bringer

Our Peace Bringer Spotlights honor our Peace Activity Certificate and Peace Certification Program participants – individuals, families, educators, schools, communities, and more who choose to move from “attitude to action” with peace. Read more...

Peace Sponsor

Our Peace Sponsor Spotlights honor our Champions, Advocates, and Program Messengers – individuals, organizations, and businesses whose financial or in-kind contributions support the mission and work of Mattie’s Foundation. Read more...

- Mattie J.T. Stepanek