The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation is happy to announce that Fred Jakolat of Reno, Nevada has recently earned Peace Certification for his work serving the elder population in his community through his free curriculum “Our Journey to Inner Peace”. After years working in the computer industry while living in the San Jose, CA area, and also leading couples through Marriage Enrichment training with his wife, Kathy, who had recently earned a Master’s degree in Psychology, they moved to Reno, NV. Fred retired early so he and Kathy went back to college; where he earned a Master’s degree in Communication to “keep up with Kathy.” Fred’s specialty area was conflict resolution, and he developed a technique and process for solving issues creatively, titled “Creative Collaboration”. He taught this technique first as a graduate student, then as a graduate student instructor.

A lifelong learner, Fred kept finding the same positive words crop up in the books he was reading – gratitude, empathy, forgiveness, trust, unconditional love and joy, compassion, and inner peace. Fred invited his friend, a chiropractor who conducted energy work, to view all of the books he was currently reading on these subjects. After conducting an energy test on the books, his friend said, “These books are all great, when are you going to start teaching them?” The answer came in 2010, when Fred put together a 32-week class that he began teaching at night – Our Journey to Inner Peace. Always discovering new, powerful material, the class kept expanding until it reached its current 76 week-long version. Fred teaches both a beginner and an advanced class in the Community Room at Northern Nevada HOPES, a nonprofit community health center in downtown Reno that offers integrated medical care and wellness services to patients of all ages in need of care.

Our Journey to Inner Peace is designed to help participants understand how we came to be who we are, learn that we have belief and behavior options, and integrate some of these beliefs and behaviors into our very being, if we chose to do so. Using physical puzzle pieces shaped into a globe, Fred’s objective is to connect and integrate all of the puzzle pieces of gratitude, empathy, forgiveness, trust, unconditional love and joy, compassion, and inner peace into a complete picture and give participants a process by which they can achieve inner peace and improve all of their relationships.

While watching Oprah almost 20 years ago, Fred saw Mattie and was compelled to purchase and read all of his books and watch all of the videos he could find on YouTube, including Jeni Stepanek’s TEDx Teen Talk. This inspired Fred to want to become a more peaceful person, and to help others develop their own peacemaking skills. He incorporated Mattie’s philosophies into his Our Journey to Inner Peace course. Both Jeni Stepanek’s book Messenger and Mattie’s book Just Peace are suggested readings, and he shares links to several YouTube clips with his students so they can better understand Mattie’s words and beliefs and how to incorporate them into their own lives. Fred states, “Both Mattie and Jeni were born with persistence and the tenacity (traits Fred has as well) to share these messages of hope and peace. I’m working to expand visibility of the message, telling my adult learners that they all have gifts, different than mine, and that they should take their gifts and share them through service to others. I feel very lucky, and grateful for the opportunity, to help empower them to do so.”

After meeting with Fred via Zoom to discuss his work, Laura Bauer, Executive Director of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation, shared, “To earn Peace Certification, individuals, groups, or organizations reflect on Mattie’s messages, respond to them, and reach out to share the messages with others. I was thrilled to find out that Fred has been actively doing this for over 10 years! He believes, as I do, that the message still matters, and that bringing it to others motivates them to do things in their own communities that promote peace and harmony.”

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