Applications open for Operation Family Caregiver 2017 Caregiving Scholarship

Published 12:18 pm Wednesday, May 24, 2017


AMERICUS —The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) has opened nominations for the 2017 Mattie J.T. Stepanek Caregiving Scholarship. The Stepanek Scholarships provide financial assistance to military caregivers who have demonstrated a commitment to caring not only for their loved ones, but also for themselves.
As soldiers return from war with injuries both visible and invisible, young spouses and aging parents find themselves in a new and challenging role — as caregivers. One of the most difficult tasks for those who become caregivers is to take good care of themselves. Operation Family Caregiver (OFC) is a program designed to help military families work through the difficulties they face when a service member returns home.
OFC caregiver coaches meet with a caregiver in person, by phone or Skype, and customize a 16- to 24-week program that is tailored to each family. Together, caregivers and their coaches develop strategies that can help them get through the tough times and make plans for how to manage over the long term. The program was founded in 2012 by RCI and is now in 13 sites across 10 states and the District of Columbia.
The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Caregiving Scholarship is available to military caregivers who have completed the OFC program by the application deadline of Aug. 31, 2017. Five $2,000 scholarships will be awarded at RCI’s 30th Anniversary Summit in Americus Oct. 25-27, 2017. Caregivers still have time to sign up and complete the program in order to be eligible for the scholarship.
The scholarship is named for Mattie J.T. Stepanek, who died on June 22, 2004, just a month before his 14th birthday, due to complications of dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy, a rare and fatal neuromuscular disease. Mattie was a friend to both President and former first lady Rosalynn Carter. He believed that although we all have life storms, there is a champion within each of us, waiting to emerge and pull us through. During his brief life, Mattie became a poet and peace activist, championing the idea that “Hope is real, peace is possible, and life is worthy!” This caregiving scholarship honors his memory and his optimism.