Under the leadership of JoAnna Arnold, Dean and Advisor of World Languages and Service Learning Coordinator at Furlow Charter School in Americus, Georgia, the school completed their peace plan to earn Peace Certification this year.

Furlow Charter School’s Peace Plan

Peace Out Camp, held June 10-14, 2019, was the first step towards Peace Certification. The Camp served as an introduction to the life and poetry of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and was led by Mrs. JoAnna Arnold, Bridges Dean, Foreign Language Advisor and Service-Learning Coordinator at Furlow. Foreign Language Education begins in Kindergarten at Furlow Charter School, so the youth attending the camp explored Mattie’s messages of hope and peace in both French and Spanish.

On October 8, 2019, Jeni Stepanek, CEO and Chief Peace Officer of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation, attended the Peace Garden dedication ceremony at Furlow Charter School, along with Executive Director Laura Bauer and Board Members Marc Birnbach and Barry McConatha. Jeni then addressed the entire student body of Furlow, sharing personal reflections of Mattie and encouraging the scholars to share their Heartsongs with the world and continue their peace journeys throughout their lives. A highlight of the day was the K-5 graders singing “I Am…Shades of Life” during the assembly, as the children were accompanied by Mattie’s own words, in his own voice.