New collaborative activities in Southwest Georgia

The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation recently met with Steve Leeper and Elizabeth Baldwin of the Peace Cultural Village in Hiroshima, Japan. Building on the long-standing love that the Japanese people have for Mattie’s friend and mentor, President Carter and the existing sister city program between Americus and Konu, Japan, we will be working together to bring Mattie’s messages of hope and peace to schoolchildren in Konu next year.

Mattie taught us that peace can only begin when a person’s basic needs are met. Learning about the immense need of area children entering foster care for basic necessities such as pajamas, stuffed animals, a toothbrush, soap, and other personal care items, the Foundation arranged for a donation of Comfort Cases to be distributed by the Southwest Georgia Children’s Alliance. The website of the Rockville, Maryland-based company states, “The gift of these simple items tells a child, you matter.”


Jimmy Carter NHS Education Program to be Peace Certified

Dr. Jeni Stepanek has been working with Marle Usry, Education Specialist with the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site Education Program and Kim Fuller, Executive Director of the Friends of Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, throughout 2020 as the Jimmy Carter NHS Education Program works to become Peace Certified. The current Education Program operates as a partnership between the Georgia Department of Education, The National Park Service, and the Friends of Jimmy Carter National Park Service. The Georgia Standards of Excellence are utilized to develop curricular and programming designed to foster opportunity for students to learn about the life and legacy of President and Mrs. Carter. The site’s Peace Plan work is nearing completion, so stay tuned for a formal announcement in the coming weeks!


Ongoing activities with our #Pathways2Peace programs

Two of our first Peace Certified schools, Morningside Elementary in California and Pangborn Elementary in Maryland, are continuing to offer students #Pathways2Peace. Click on the links in the photo captions to visit updated webpages highlighting their work.


New Georgia Field Office to open in 2021

Another exciting thing to happen this year was leasing a Georgia Field Office location for Mattie’s Foundation that will formally open to the public in 2021. Taraji (a Swahili word for hope and faith) previously served as the International Training Center for Habitat for Humanity and as home to the Koinonia Farm Homeschool Cooperative. Taraji will include spaces for gathering, museum-like displays, intern & Foundation offices, conference & meeting rooms, and a Mama Peace pad for Foundation CEO and Chief Peace Officer, Jeni Stepanek.

Peace Certified T31 Continues to Find Ways to Meet Basic Needs

T31, a woman owned and operated ladies sportswear manufacturing company in Americus, became Peace Certified by the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation in 2020. Elena Carné, Founder and CEO, is a woman of deep faith, and she has continued looking for ways to help meet the basic needs of others. Her newest endeavor was a drive to provide women, men, and children living in Petare, Caracas, Venezuela with shoes as so many were going without. Elena’s goal was to collect 100 pairs of new and slightly used shoes, but many hearts were opened to the need, and she ended up sending over 550 pairs of shoes to Venezuela!

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Elena Carné and Paige Greene of T31