2012 Late Spring and Summer
Summer 2012 Brick Installation-
29 new bricks installed in Mattie’s Peace Garden!
Want to know…
—who sponsored a brick and what are the inscriptions on each brick?
Want to see…
—photos of the bricks and brick installation?
Want to support…
—Mattie’s Foundation by sponsoring a brick?
Want to check out…
—who has sponsored bricks for the NEXT installation?
Your sponsorship supports our mission of
spreading Mattie’s message of hope and peace!
Can you express “Peace is Possible” in a photo?
From 6/22 (Mattie’s anniversary) through 7/17 (Mattie’s birthday), we encouraged people around the world to “Make Peace the News.” We asked that you share ’3 words, in 3 seconds, for 3 weeks’ each day. This simple ‘to do list’ item reflects Mattie’s ‘Three Choices for Peace’ concept — make peace an attitude, and a habit, which shapes reality.
Hundreds of people posted Tweets or Facebook posts or sent emails reflecting this request. Several tv and radio personalities shared “Peace is Possible” in a public way (e.g., EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, DC FOX5 Morning News’ Tony Perkins, DC Radio Mix107.3 DJ’s Jack Diamond and Jimmy Alexander), using their media platform to “Make Peace the News.” And on Mattie’s birthday, more than 16,000 people reflected Mattie’s message of peace in some way on Facebook and Twitter.
Now, through 7/25, we are asking you to express “Peace is Possible” in a photo. Be creative! What does peace look like? Sound like? Feel like? Capture that in am image, share it on Twitter, on Facebook, on your website… and share it with us! We will add your expression to our new Peace Gallery photo album. The album will continue to grow beyond 7/25. This date reflects our ‘launch week’ with the first contributions.
You may contribute a photo in three ways:
- Post it to Mattie’s Facebook page (click here)
- Tweet it and tag #PeaceIsPossible or @JeniStepanek
- Send an embedded jpg to firstname.lastname@example.org
(NOTE: We do not open attachments via email. Please send photo as embedded image).
“Peace is possible!” — Mattie J.T. Stepanek
Make Peace the News!
And, peace is possible — if individually and collectively, we choose to make peace a priority.
Headlines lean toward sensation.
When inspiration becomes news, too often it is a closing feature, or included on a ‘slow news day.’
This summer, let’s choose to “Make Peace the News.”
From Mattie’s anniversary (6/22) through Mattie’s birthday (7/17), let’s celebrate Mattie and peace.
Let’s put PEACE in the universe, and let PEACE be what people are talking about.
You can help make this a reality.
“Peace is possible!”
3 words, 3 seconds —> shifts energy
and attitudes, and can touch
the lives of countless people.
Tweet it, post it on Facebook, say it to colleagues and friends:
Peace is possible! (#PeaceIsPossible).
Social media, our free resources, and our membership programs are three great suggestions for getting started:
1) Tap into the power of Social Media. Tweet #PeaceIsPossible each day, and invite RTs. Post and tag ”Peace Is Possible” on Facebook. “Like” Mattie’s Facebook page and ‘Share‘ our Make Peace the News inspirational photo-post. Join Mattie’s Peace Club or our Peace Network and add it to your LinkedIn profile. Let us know what you are doing and the responses you are receiving, and we will celebrate that on our website as you ”Make Peace the News.”
2) Tap into the resources available through Mattie’s Foundation and our website. Visit our For Our World Campaign page, download your free copy of Mattie’s peace poem, and post and share it — everywhere and every way! Be creative with how and where your share — within your family, at school and work, during vacations and more! Send us photos and captions of what you are doing, and we will celebrate that on our website as you ”Make Peace the News.”
3) Tap into our membership and certification programs. Register your children for our free Peace Club Kids page and encourage them to share art and poetry and peace thoughts. Talk with your teens about our Peace Journey that can earn them Community Service Hours and give depth to college application essays. Set an example for your family and coworkers by choosing to become a member of Mattie’s Peace Club, or by becoming Peace Certified by Mattie’s Foundation. Once you register, we will add your name on our website, and celebrate as you “Make Peace the News.”
Peace matters. Peace is possible. Peace begins with a choice — our choice. Together, let’s choose to Make Peace the News!
New: Peace TEEN Membership Category
A new TEEN membership level has been added to Mattie’s Peace Club — which includes the option of a “Peace Journey.” This journey may qualify for Community Service hours, and can be a great addition on college application forms.
Mattie’s Peace Club was created to support the mission and vision of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation, which is to spread a message of hope and peace for all people. For only $18 a year, teen members of Mattie’s Peace Club receive a Peace Club Teen certificate, and may submit poetry, artwork, essays, photography, and peace thoughts for our Peace Club Teens page.
Peace Club Teens also have the option of making a Peace Journey from “Peace Club Teen” to “Peace Teen Ambassador” as they move through Mattie’s ‘Three Choices for Peace’ with a project they create, put into action, and share. This journey may earn Community Service Hours for school, and can be a great entry on college application forms.
Join Mattie’s New Peace Club!
Welcome to our first VIP — Donna from IL, and welcome to our new Members — Diane from RI, Jane from PA, Devin from NY, Sharon from Ontario, Richard from the UK, Jim and Bobbie from AR, Janet from OH, and Jocelyn from NY!
Mattie’s Peace Club is a new Foundation Membership program for people of all ages around the world who choose to support Mattie’s Foundation.
Joining the Peace Club is a way to get more involved with Mattie’s Foundation, receive benefits exclusive to members in each level, and support the mission and vision of Mattie’s Foundation – which is to spread a message of hope and peace.
There are five membership levels –
——–Youth, Teen, General, VIP, and Messenger:
- Youth Members (FREE) of Mattie’s Peace Club learn to celebrate peace as a personal choice in thought, word, and action.This level is offered free for children ages 3-13 years. Youth Members receive a Peace Club Kids Certificate, and may submit poetry, art, essays, and peace thoughts for our new Peace Club Kids Page.
- Teen Members of Mattie’s Peace Club may submit photographs, artwork, poetry, and essays for our Peace Club Teens page. They also have the option of making the journey from “Peace Club Teen” to “Teen Peace Ambassador” as they move through Mattie’s ‘Three Choices for Peace’ with a project they create, put into action, and share. Peace Club Teens may be eligible to earn Community Service hours for their projects through our Foundation. Cost is $18 per year for Teen Members (only $1.50 per month!).
- Adult Members of Mattie’s Peace Club (General and VIP) support the creation and dissemination of our programs, materials, and events, and receive select benefits from Mattie’s Foundation. Benefits include a certificate, a bumper sticker, and e-Peace Updates that include exclusive Member Discounts for select items in our Peace Shop. VIP Members may also participate for free in one of our new online Peace & Book Chats. Cost is $25 per year for General Members (only $2 per month!). For only $100 per year, participants can join as a VIP Member (about $8 per month!)
- Sponsor Members of Mattie’s Peace Club (Messengers) support school and youth groups in becoming “Peace Certified.” Participants at this level receive all the benefits of the paying members level, plus additional benefits through their sponsorship of a school or youth group. For only $500, Messengers -- PTAs, community businesses, local leaders, youth organizations, or individuals — ensure that a school or youth group is funded to participate in our Pathways to Peace® Program, which includes books, peace education tools, and a presentation that reflects each school’s priorities and needs.
Mattie Inspires Global Teen Leaders
The 2012 Just Peace Summit was a huge success, and now, 30 new Global Teen Leaders (GTLs) are working on peace projects that tend to the basic human needs of people around the world. Inspired by Mattie’s final book, “Just Peace: A Message of Hope,” the We Are Family Foundation hosts this annual summit as the anchor event for their Three Dot Dash initiative.
During the weeklong event, teens selected from nominations around the world learn more about Mattie’s message and ‘mosaic vision of peace’ through morning presentations and activities shared by Mattie’s mom, Jeni Stepanek, (aka “Mama Peace”). Throughout the day and evening, the teens learn about tools that may enhance their peace projects, such as storytelling, photography, film, media, music, networking, public speaking, fundraising, press conferences, branding, partnerships, and more. By the end of the week, the global family has grown through this life-changing event.
The teens serve in the GTL position for a year following the summit, and are supported by a one-on-one mentor. Since 2008, more than 15 million people around the world have been positively impacted by the projects of the 117 GTLs from nearly 40 countries on 6 continents who have participated in this initiative.
“Three Dot Dash” in Morse code stands for “V” — and V fingers symbolize both ‘peace’ and victory.’ Three Dot Dash is the teens’ way of moving forthward with ‘The New Peace’ — balancing basic human needs, so that peace can begin within each one of us and ripple outward and through the world.
For more information about the Global Teen Leaders,
Annual Heartsongs Gala in Top 100 BizBash DC Events for 2012 (8/2012)
In 2002, Mattie worked with DC-area MDA staff to create an annual fundraiser that would support local MDA Summer Camps, clinics, and research. The 10th Annual Heartsongs Gala, to be held October 23 at the DC Ritz Carlton, has been named #23 in the Top 100 BizBash Events for the year. This is not the first year the Gala has been recognized for its celebration of hope and fun. Across the years, the event has drawn together celebrities, politicians, and families affected by neuromuscular disease and raised millions of dollars directed to local MDA offices, clinics, and camp programs. For information about the event, please contact Nadine Pottings, Executive Director: DC/VA MDA District Office at email@example.com.
Country singer, Billy Gilman, and Mattie’s friend,
Hope Wyatt, dance during the Annual MDA Heartsongs Gala.
Global Teen Leader from Kyrgyzstan Visits Mattie’s Park
2008 Global Teen Leader, Sayid Abdullaev from Kyrgyzstan, enjoyed Mattie’s Park & Peace Garden during a recent visit with Jeni Stepanek. Sayid is a member of the inaugural class of GTLs, when We Are Family first launched their Three Dot Dash Initiative and the annual Just Peace Summit. Across the years, 117 teens from six continents have participated in the program. Many of them have visited Mattei’s Park and Peace Garden during subsequent trips to the US or the Washington, DC area.
2012 Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peace Award Recipient: Cordell Greer (6/2012)
Graduating 8th grader, Cordell Greer, was selected by the Carlstadt Public School faculty and staff as the recipient of the 2012 Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peace Award. The award is presented annually to a graduating middle school student who exemplifies Mattie’s vision of peace beginning with the choices we each make in thought, word, and deed.
Since 2001, students in the Carlstadt Public School system have been learning about the late poet and peace activist Mattie J.T. Stepanek. After seeing Mattie on the Oprah Show, sixth grade literature teacher, Michael Mangone, realized that Mattie was a kid, just like the students in his classroom. He believed that his students could relate to a peer, and be more open to learning about hope and peace, and to reading and creating poetry and essays.
In 2007, Mattie’s mom, Jeni Stepanek, began visiting the school and conversing with the students via Skype chats between visits. Also in 2007, the school’s new library was dedicated as the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peace Library, and in 2009, the Mayor and Citizens of Carlstadt dedicated a large park adjacent to the school as the Peace Park in Honor of Mattie J.T. Stepanek. The Peace Award was initiated in 2009.
Kathleen Evans, Supervisor of Educational Technology for Carlstadt Public School provided a description of the award and recipient:
Mattie was a young man who transformed his hardships into a message of hope and peace that touched millions. He was an author, speaker and encourager to all to approach life with a peaceful, loving attitude. This award is given to a student who seeks and makes peace, and who consistently works towards their best self and encourages others to do the same by making peace an attitude, and bringing peace to others. The 2012 Mattie J. T. Stepanek Peace Award was given this year to Cordell Greer. Cordell has a kind heart. He’s always willing to help his friends and teachers. He does everything with a smile and is never disrespectful. He exhibits the characteristics that this award represents and is truly deserving of this year’s Peace Award.
Although he is now retired, Mr. Mangone is always a part of the presentation of this annual award. “It gives me great pleasure to be a part of this important activity. This year, it was wonderful because I felt I was representing the Mattie’s Foundation, since I am now volunteering with the Program Committee on endeavors like the Pathways to Peace Program and the Peace Tips Pamphlet.” Mr. Mangone was recently featured as the June 2012 “Peace Maker of the Month” by the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation.
More information about the collaborative work between Carlstadt Public School and the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation can be found on “Our Collaborators” page.
Buffalo, NY 8th Graders Embrace “For Our World Campaign” (5/2012)
During their May 23, 2012 visit to the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park, 8th grade students from Ambrose Catholic Academy in Buffalo, NY met with Mattie’s mom in the Peace Garden, where she shared some of Mattie’s life and message, and they shared their Heartsongs poetry and prayers for peace. The highlight of the visit came when the students shared Mattie’s “For Our World” poem — both as a recited poem, and in song as they surrounded Mattie’s statue.
Sr. Pauline Petruzzella, a retired educator in the school’s parish, has been sharing Mattie’s life and message of hope and peace with students for several years. Working with the school principal, pastor, and 8th grade teachers, she helped plan a trip to Washington, DC which would include a visit to Mattie’s Park and Peace Garden. The students enjoyed the playground and park, visiting with Mattie’s mom and service dog, Jeni and Micah, and celebrating peace.
As a part of the “For Our World Campaign” and the “What Next? Project” initiated by Mattie’s Foundation, the students shared Mattie’s 9/11 peace poem for a YouTube video (view here).They also sang the poem using the music from “Music Through Heartsongs” — the CD Mattie and Billy Gilman created in 2003.
Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park Depicted on Local Landmark Mural (5/2012)
The iconic statue of Mattie in his namesake Rockville, MD park is depicted in a new mural recently unveiled at the Bethesda, MD Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream Shop. The 6 foot high and 30 foot long piece of art, designed by Christian Kanienberg, features prominent landmarks and citizens from the surrounding Montgomery County area.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony on May 8, Mattie’s mom, Jeni Stepanek, presented Dawn Uremovic, Haagen-Dasz President, and Francine Segal, local shop owner, a framed print of Mattie’s “On Being a Champion” poem. Also on the print were two photos of Mattie — on his first and last birthdays — enjoying chocolate ice cream. A special “Belgian Chocolate-Chocolate-Chocolate Shake” was created for the event in Mattie’s honor.
The mural was designed to commemorate the history and culture of the geographical area. Dozens of local notables and locales are depicted on the mural with Mattie, including Goldie Hawn, Connie Chung, Dominique Dawes, Julia Louis Dreyfus, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, the National Institutes of Health, and Sugarloaf Mountain.
Waweru Family from Kenya Visits Mattie’s Park (5/2012)
It was the first trip from Kenya to the United States for Mike and Terry Waweru and their son Ray. But, they knew spending time in Mattie’s Park and Peace Garden in Rockville, MD had to be on their list of ‘Places to Visit.’ More than a year ago, their younger son, Brian, was selected as a 2011 Global Teen Leader, and participated in the We Are Family Foundation’s “2011 Just Peace Summit.” When he returned to Kenya, filled with excitement about his global kin and enthusiasm for his peace project, he shared details of his trip with his family.
In addition to working on his own peace project that he shaped during the Summit, Brian also supported Mattie’s Foundation in the early stages of the “For Our World Campaign.” When he heard that translations of Mattie’s 9/11 peace poem were needed, he reached out to classmates and friends who speak different African languages and dialects. His effort resulted in a dozen translations, more than any other single person (in the world!) submitted.
Now, Brian is committed to continuing his support of Mattie’s Foundation, by participating in the “What Next? Project.” In the coming weeks and months, he will be taking Mattie’s poetry and message of peace to children in orphanages in his country. He wants all children to believe and celebrate Mattie’s vision that “Hope is real, peace is possible, and life is worthy!”