Ingleside at King Farm: Seeking Peace Certification!

Posted on: July 24th, 2013 by jeni No Comments


Ingleside at King Farm Registered as

First Adult Community Seeking

Peace Certification by Mattie’s Foundation!


Dan Gross/The Gazette (Rockville, Maryland)
From left, Jeni Stepanek; Marilyn Leist, executive director of Ingleside; resident Bob Balkam; and Richard Thayer, chaplain of Ingleside, go over the paperwork needed for Ingleside at King Farm to be certified as a Peace Community by the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation.


Article by Peggy McEwan from Gazette.Net

Click here for link to original article.


Ingleside links with Stepanek Foundation,

moving toward becoming Peace Community

Program promotes community awareness and peace

By Peggy McEwan Staff Writer


Mattie J.T. Stepanek spent his last years living in King Farm in Rockville, writing poetry and challenging others with his message of peace.


That message was embraced Tuesday (July 22, 2013), when residents of Ingleside at King Farm, a continuing care senior living community, began the process of becoming the nation’s first large Peace Community, as certified by the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation.


In 2012, the foundation launched the Peace Certification Program to help others work toward Mattie’s message of peace and hope.


Mattie was almost 14 when he died from complications of Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy, a rare neuromuscular disease.


During his 13 years, he wrote seven books, mostly poetry. His poems were “Heartsongs,” he said — “gifts that reflect each person’s unique reason for being.”


The Peace Certification Program of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation is new, said Jeni Stepanek, Mattie’s mother and executive director of the Foundation.


“We have a handful of schools in the U.S. and Canada that are in the process of certification and a few families and businesses,” Jeni Stepanek said. “This is our first large community.”


The process awards the recipient a certification for completing a list of peace and community enhancement activities, from fundraising for local nonprofits to hosting discussions about peace in the world.


There are three components to Peace Certification according to the website

Jeni Stepanek (Mattie’s mom) with Richard Thayer (IKF Chaplain), Marilyn Leist (IKF Executive Director), and Bob Balkam (IKF resident) at the July 23 event beginning IKF’s journey to becoming a Peace Certified Community through the Mattie Stepanek Foundation


REFLECT: You choose to become a Peace Seeker. We share materials with you that support you in exploring and reflecting on Mattie’s message of Heartsongs, hope, peace, and choice.


RESPOND: You choose to become a Peace Maker. You shape that message and respond to it through your words and choices, as you create and carry out your own Peace Plan: (a Lesson, Activity, Attitude, and/or Action Plan).


REACH OUT: You choose to become a Peace Bringer. Together, we show others your commitment to peace through our Peace Certification page with your Lesson, Activity, Attitude, or Action Peace Plan, and your ‘What Next?’ statement.”


Ingleside took on the peace certification at the urging of residents Bob and Laurin Balkam. Bob was a member of the board of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation and the couple were neighbors of the Stepaneks.


“I am a World War II vet. I was in Europe, so I know about conflict. I’m interested in peace,” Bob Balkam said. “Mattie’s message was so simple: for every person to come to peace within themselves and only then could you share peace.”


Balkam said he can see the 26-acre Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park from his Ingleside apartment window and was surprised to learn that many residents did not know about the park or Mattie. He told Ingleside’s director, Marilyn Leist, about the Peace Certification and worked to get the process started.


“We described it in the [internal] weekly newsletter and there were no objections. It’s pretty hard to be against peace,” he said.


Jeni Stepanek shared her son’s life, message and legacy with about 100 of Ingleside’s 375 residents Tuesday.


“In a nutshell,” she said, “his message was,

hope is real, peace is possible, and life is worthy.”


Sharon Ringe, an Ingleside resident, sat quietly reflecting after the meeting.


“I was delighted because I was following Mattie’s final years,” Ringe said. “I want to figure out how to bring this message to my church, Rockville United Church. A lot of what (Stepanek) said dovetailed with our congregation.”


Ingleside plans to have a picnic in mid-August, so residents can discuss how to move forward with the process of certification.


Click here to view the 8/21/13 Peace is Fun picnic photos!


Click here for more updates on IKF and our Peace Certified folks!




Click here to learn more about 

Peace Certification by Mattie’s Foundation

(The program is for all people and groups)

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