Peace Seeker Spotlight
Peace Seeker Spotlight Honoree
Mattie said we must ”want peace” and we must ”make peace something that matters to us in all times, and for all people.” As she prepared to turn 13 years of age last summer, Alysia Sainas decided that peace mattered to her, and it was something she wanted to embrace as a way of thinking and being.
To celebrate her birthday, she chose to join Mattie’s Peace Club Teens and begin her Teen Peace Journey through Mattie’s Three Choices for Peace. Now, as we celebrate teens who are learning more about the message Mattie shared so that they can serve as role models for peace, the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation honors Alysia Sainas as our Peace Seeker Spotlight Honoree for our February-March post.
Below are Alysia’s responses
to our interview questions.
What would you like to share about yourself?
My name is Alysia Sainas, and I am 13 years old. I live in Vancouver, Canada with my mom (Karen), my dad (Chris), my brother (Michael), and my sister (Angelina). I enjoy horseback riding, and I love dancing, especially ballet. I have been dancing since I was really little. I could dance every day 24 hours seven days a week if I could.
I am also a bookworm – you can’t find a book thick enough for me to read. I love reading and writing (especially fiction stories), and someday I’d like to publish my own book.
My favourite author is J.K. Rowling and I have read Harry Potter over and over and over… and over. I just can’t get enough of her writing. Hogwarts was the greatest creation to me since i was in grade four or five. Even enough that when I was ten and turning eleven, I half-expected, half-wished, for a letter in the mail delivered by owl an invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
I have been helping the Shanti Uganda Society for a while now, selling the product made by women in Uganda, volunteering at festivals, and of course, spreading their message of peace. I am also part of the Sweet Yoga Bliss Yoga In Action group for girls. The proceeds of that group all go to two organizations – Shanti Uganda and Off The Mat Into the World.
I am very involved in my mother’s peace work, too, including Sweet Yoga Bliss (SYB) and the Yogatta Be the Change (YBTC) Organization. Each day during the closing gratitude circle of SYB, a Mattie poem is shared.
The YBTC website will be launched in March of this year. My bio will be listed on the website as a Youth Leader under Team Of Awesomeness. We are in the midst of creating this organization and website. I am excited to be featured as a Youth Leader and to be managing many parts of the website.
Here is some information about
our new YBTC Organization:
We were born with two hands ~ one to love ourselves with the other to love all beings. We believe in the beauty & power of Yoga to inspire & empower people to connect to their unique essence within and to take Yoga off their mat and into their communities and be compassionate warrior leaders of change.
Founded in 2012 by Karen Sainas, YOGATTA BE THE CHANGE’s mission & deep-rooted belief is that Yoga can be used as a platform to provide people of all ages an opportunity to be curious & explore the mystery of life. The sweetness of Yoga brings light to ones heart and opens it up for a deep journey of self-discovery to uncover our innate gifts, which were placed in our hearts at birth. We can live fully in our essence & at our highest potential sharing our gifts from a place of wisdom, faith, love, joy & grace and be powerful leaders of change and inspire action at a local & global level.
When Mattie appeared on The Oprah Show, my mom was really inspired and remembered him for a while. When she heard of the book Messenger — written by Mattie’s mom about Mattie — she gave it to me. I was about nine then. I first read the book about a year later when I was in grade five. Immediately, I knew Mattie was very special. He inspired me to be grateful for what I had. He was a bright light and saw beauty, and that was what came across to me.
I heard about Mattie’s Foundation through my mom. She had been connected to it through Mattie’s Peace Network, and suggested I follow the website as well.
Why did you choose to join Mattie’s Peace Club Teens?
I chose to become a Peace Club Teen because I believe in Mattie’s message of seeing the beauty around me, and noticing the love and the light. I believe I can move through the Teen Peace Journey choices because I have already been working on peace activities like YBTC and SYB.
Part of the Peace Journey involves reading and reflecting on a book by or about Mattie. The first book I read for my journey was Messenger, about his life story. I found the book very inspiring, and very, very, very interesting. I read it straight through and then immediately again and then thought about it day after day after day, thinking about Mattie. The quotes and poems in that book, Messenger, I read over and over and they really touched my heart. I really loved the writing style in that book, and I believe Mattie was really an inspiring bright light and definitely changed my life after hearing about his accomplishments.
I will be starting my Teen Peace Journey this spring. It will include a peace activity that raises awareness and funds for Mattie’s Foundation.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Ever since i was 5 years old, I have wanted to be a teacher. When I was little (and sometimes even now!) I’d make up little worksheets for my brother and sister and mark and grade them. I’m not sure why it appeals to me but I have always wanted to teach kids, especially elementary school children. I love babysitting, especially my little cousins. Overall i love spending time with young children.
Any other thoughts you would like to share?
Mattie is an inspirational being with a soul bright enough to light up the whole world. He inspires me in every decision I have made since I read the book Messenger, and he has come across my thoughts many, many, many times. As soon as I heard of him and read the book Messenger, I knew I wanted to follow his message, and of course, spread it.
I feel honored to be chosen as this month’s Peace Seeker. I am grateful this offer came across me and I do choose to inspire others with my story.
Thank you, Alysia,
for being a
Learn more about the organizations
Alysia is a part of by clicking on the links below:
(coming soon — early March)