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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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).

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:

  • 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.

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.

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:

  • 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.


P2P TTT Workshop Photo Album

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

Laura Bauer, Robert Galinsky, and Jeni Stepanek



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