Rosalynn Carter Institute Announces the

Four 2013 Mattie J.T. Stepanek

Caregiving Scholarship Recipients

Mattie J.T. Stepanek with Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter during the 2003 Intergenerational Caregiving Summit, sponsored by the Rosalynn Carter Institute and for which Mattie served as the honorary event co-chair.

From WALB News Story, Americus, GA:


Four win Caregiving Scholarships

from Carter Institute


 Information from

Georgia Southwestern State University


A noted poet and peacemaker before his death at age 13 in 2004, Mattie Stepanek continues to provide inspiration to people of all cultures throughout the world.

The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) has announced the winners of the 10th annual Mattie J.T. Stepanek Caregiving Scholarships:

Emelyn Lacayo of Hayward, Calif.;

Alexis Pearson of Meadville, Pa.;

Kelsey VanNostrand of Northboro, Mass.;

and Janelle Zimmerman of Stevens, Pa.

•    Emelyn Lacayo, Hayward, Calif. – Lacayo is completing her master’s degree in clinical nurse leadership at the University of San Francisco. The mother to a special needs child, she has been successful at connecting existing research and providing new leads to assist in her daughter’s development. Lacayo is a leader in her community and helps educate health professionals on how to better understand and support the Latino culture.
•    Alexis Pearson, Meadville, Pa. – Pearson has recently accepted a student nurse intern position at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, the same hospital that treated multiple congenital heart defects with which she was born. She is following in her mother’s footsteps in becoming a nurse. Pearson volunteers as a camp counselor at the Dr. Bill Neches Heart Camp for Kids.
•    Kelsey VanNostrand, Northboro, Mass. – VanNostrand works with cerebral palsy patients and their families as part of a clinical research team at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing and aims to prevent, diagnose, and implement new strategies to care for children with cerebral palsy.
•    Janelle Zimmerman, Stevens, Pa. – Zimmerman is a nurse’s aide working in a hospital setting and is working towards a degree in nursing. She desires to work with pediatric cancer patients.
The purpose of this non-traditional scholarship is to provide financial assistance to caregivers of any age who want to learn specific skills, procedures and strategies that lead to providing effective care while serving to protect the health and well-being of other caregivers.
While serving as honorary co-chair of the RCI’s Intergenerational Caregiving expert panel in 2003, Stepanek said, “If all generations of people freely and abundantly give care to others and to our world, we will have an eternal source of love and hope that fulfills the needs of all ages…for all future”.
“Mattie’s comments were very prophetic,” said Laura J. Bauer, director of national initiatives for the RCI. “The number of individuals in our society requiring care due to illness, chronic conditions and disabilities continues to grow. We need caring, compassionate, and skilled individuals of all ages to help fill the ever-widening gap between those who need care and those who provide care. These scholarship winners plan to use their scholarship funds to help further their education and training, which is the cornerstone of providing quality care.”
“It is an honor to be involved in this wonderful endeavor,” said Jeni Stepanek, Mattie’s mother and chair of the scholarship selection committee. “Mattie believed that how we want to be remembered is how we should choose to think and speak and do and live each day. I think this year’s group of recipients is amazing. And what a beautiful gift to know that more and more people understand the importance of caregiving, and that they are seeking education to improve knowledge and skills in this important matter. I am certain that these four individuals will be known and remembered for the difference they make through their compassion and caring.”
Committee member Kelly Ellison, host of “Your Adoption Coach Radio” in Kansas City, Mo., stated, “Always an amazing group of applicants, all so dedicated as caregivers. I feel privileged to honor Mattie’s legacy by promoting the work of Rosalynn Carter and RCI.”
Nancy Hunt, president of the We Are Family Foundation in New York City, is the third and final member of the Scholarship Selection Committee.
Georgia Southwestern State University’s Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving was established in 1987 in honor of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, a GSW alumna who serves as president of the institute’s Board of Directors, to enhance her longstanding commitments to family caregiving and mental health.
Through research, education and training, the RCI promotes the mental health and well-being of individuals, families and professional caregivers; encourages effective caregiving practices; builds public awareness of caregiving needs; and advances public and social policies that enhance caring communities.