The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation Board of Directors hosted a Meet & Greet event at Farmsook Happiness Thai Kitchen in Rockville, Maryland during November, 2019. The gathering was attended by dozens of community members and local leaders who responded to an open invitation to connect with purpose, and to learn more about how Mattie’s Foundation is moving peace from attitude to action with people and places around the country and around the world, and now ramping up for a banner anniversary year!
CEO & Chief Peace Officer, Jeni Stepanek, PhD, offered a review of where Mattie’s Foundation is with our peace mission after 15 years, and where we are headed as we move into 2020. She summarized highlights of our current and new materials and resources, our programs and activities, and our events and campaigns that support youth and adults around the world in making peace a choice at personal and community levels.
These highlights began with first look at the annual #MattiesPeaceDay plans at local and national levels — which will include a three-part event — Peace Walk, Peace Proclamations, and a Party with a Purpose — on July 11 in Maryland (at the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park), and a “sister community” #PeaceDayCelebration on October 3 in Americus/Sumter County, Georgia.
Stepanek, known as “Mama Peace,” also shared updates on the expansion of our #Pathways2Peace program, our #Planning4Peace community building activities, our growing number of #PeaceCertified people and places (individuals and families, schools and businesses, and organizations and communities around the country), our expanding #Toast2Peace events, and progress on the “I Am… a Mosaic of Mattie” documentary.
Interviews for this full length film have been conducted across the past year, including sessions with everyone from Mattie’s kin-family and friends and camp buddies, to his educators and medical team and organizations for which he volunteered, to celebrities and world leaders (e.g., President Jimmy Carter, Oprah Winfrey, CNN’s Chris Cuomo, musicians Christopher Cross and Billy Gilman, We Are Family Foundation’s Nile Rodgers and Nancy Hunt, and many more…). The film, which is being created under the collaborative leadership of Stepanek and filmmaker and Foundation Director Marc Birnbach, will explore Mattie’s life, lessons, and legacy, and include an exploration and call-to-action rooted in why Mattie, and peace, are relevant and essential matters in today’s world.
The Meet & Greet culminated in a “circle of hope” – with each person sharing a unique Mattie quote pulled from our #MattiesMessages treasure box, and closed with a #Toast2Peace -during which each person was encouraged to “raise a glass or grateful hands, and connect – with purpose and trust, and a clink – for peace.”
This November toast – one of a growing number of formally planned and #PopUp #Toast2Peace events that have folks gathering on “porches, pubs, and places” across the country and saying, “To peace! Huzzah!” – was extra special, as we raised glasses filled with the new #MattiesMojito. This signature drink was created by Farmsook Thai Kitchen to celebrate peace and love, and to provide financial support Mattie’s Foundation.
“It was an amazing event, and celebration of hope and peace,” said Laura Bauer, MPA, the Executive Director of Mattie’s Foundation. “How wonderful to see leaders and educators and youth and neighbors and volunteers and curious citizens and friends and more all gathered to Meet & Greet Mattie’s Board of Directors, and to chat about the exciting peace plans for local and global people and places in the coming year.”
“The mission of Mattie’s Foundation is to continue sharing Mattie’s vision of a more peaceful world, and to amplify his messages and inspire and inform children and leaders and community members in better understanding how peace begins — within us, and among us,” Stepanek said. “Person by person, place by place, peace choice by peace choice, we are creating change. We are a small team, but we have a global impact, and a mission that is essential for our world.”
In 2020, the members of Mattie’s Foundation will continue creating resources and activities that encourage people to #JustShowUp — for peace gatherings that connect local and global neighbors, for education and recreation rooted in peace, for service opportunities that tend to basic needs, and for celebratory events that remind folks to “play after every storm!” as Mattie did. And the Foundation will remain ever-committed to changing how people are empowered to view the good potential of all people and the positive strengths our world, working with communities and leaders and the media to #MakePeaceTheNews.“
#PeaceMatters #MattieMatters #MosaicOfGifts