Jeni Stepanek Is Carrying The Legacy of Peace

14 Oct 2010 by Lewis, View Comments

Jeni Stepanek Interview Opening

Years ago, I learned about poet and peace activist, Mattie Stepanek, from the Oprah Winfrey Show. Like many Americans, I was deeply moved by the courage and vision of this 11 year old boy who wrote poetry about Global Peace. Mattie spent most of his life in a wheel chair, suffering from a rare form of muscular dystrophy. It was during this show that I also learned about the courage of his mother, Jeni Stepanek, who had lost three children in infancy or early childhood before Mattie. In Mattie’s life he worked with Maya Angelou, President Jimmy Carter, Oprah Winfrey and many, many other people in carrying his message of peace to the world. Mattie died in 2004, but his legacy continues through Jeni.

In this interview with his mother Jeni, who also suffers from the same condition as her children, I saw a women of great intelligence, vision and drive – a women who knows that her role is to carry the legacy of Mattie forward. Jeni has partnered with the We Are Family Foundation to create Three Dot Dash and the annual Just Peace Summit for global youth. For that reason, she is truly a women saving the world. Please visit Mattie’s website to learn more about the book and Jeni’s work.

I hope you enjoy these videos below and I look forward to hearing your comments. Thank you!

VIDEO 1: Jeni’s Life & Mattie’s Calling

VIDEO 2: Mattie’s work with former President Jimmy Carter

VIDEO 3: Mattie’s Calling and “Heartsongs”

VIDEO 4: The Message of Hope: Rescue, Recover, Rebuild & “For The World Poem”

VIDEO 5: Mattie’s Legacy and Jeni’s Calling & Life Work

VIDEO 6: Jeni Speaks about a Three Dot Dash Teen from The Just Peace Summit; Mosa Al Mosawy, 16, Jordan


  • Binnie Thompson

    I have read all but one book of Mattie's and have just ordered his last one with Jimmy Carter. I am in the process of reading your book, Jeni, and can't tell you in words how inspirational it has been for me. I am a 74 year old grandmother of 8 grandchildren and plan on having them read all of Mattie's books and yours in hopes that they realize how important is for all of us to work and pray for peace, each and every day. You are a very strong and beautiful soul and were blessed to have your children in your life. Mattie was truly a messenger from God and I pray that people will understand what a special young man he was and carry on his words of wisdom for a peaceful world. God Bless You.

    Love & Prayers Always,
       Grandma Binnie

  • Triciamfussell

    I loved hearing Mattie's story! And will spread the crucial message I too feel some in the West need about "Rebuilding vs. Revenge".  I also truly believe that it is most important at our time to educate people all over our world on THRUTHs of the Muslim faith (  the Islamic religion is not going away!! and I do not believe it should , Unfortunately a largest war of our time involves Islamic fundamentalists who Islamic scholars know have twisted sacred texts for their cause. Their acts are not sanctioned by true Islam ) We DO as Jeni says, now need more dialogue that reduces problems of misconceptions/ prejudice in order to make responsible progress.  I believe we need true Islam to participate as well to achieve progress in this area for our world today. 

  • Sobryon

    Jeni Stepanek was my 5th grade teacher who then became my godmother upon my decided baptism. I had the priveledge of meeting Katie (Jeni’s first born) who was an adorable little girl. Jeni and I lost touch for a few years. I was at home in Florida when I came upon a paper with an article about Mattie Stepanek. I knew they had to be connected. I subsequently followed Mattie’s story and witnessed miracles of which he was a part. Completely devastated by the news of Jeni’s diagnosis, I began to learn more about the illness that seemed to be so perplexing and devastating for this family for so many years. Through facebook, Jeni and I have reconnected. I have read all of Mattie’s books and am convinced that an angel was on this earth to bring people closer to God. Thank you for keeping Jeni and Mattie’s story alive and for the great interview.

  • Sobyron... this is a wonderful story Thank you for sharing it.

  • Isabel Maxwell

    What an extraordinary boy and what an amazing mother - BOTH
    THANK YOU FOR SHARING and I will put it out to all my network, and importantly, also to my leadership network throughout Israel and Palestine -
    Peace-Bringers - You have to want it. Live it. Share it..... Make Peace Sensational! OK!!!

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