Mattie J. T. Stepanek Caregiving Scholarship recipients
By: Laura Bauer
A dear friend to both President and Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, poet and peacemaker Mattie J.T. Stepanek 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 yet extraordinary life, Mattie created seven New York Times bestselling books and served as the National Goodwill Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. His messages of hope and peace continue to bring inspiration and hope to millions worldwide.
Mattie co-chaired an Intergenerational Caregiving Panel with Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter in July of 2003. At that meeting, Mattie shared, “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”. Shortly after Mattie’s death on June 22, 2004, the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving began a scholarship in his name. The purpose of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Caregiving Scholarship is to provide financial assistance to family caregivers who are seeking training or education in specific skills, procedures and strategies that lead to more effective care while serving to protect their own health and well-being.
“This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Caregiving Scholarship, said Mattie’s mother, Jeni Stepanek. “What an amazing gift it has been to watch my son’s legacy grow across the years, and to witness that the essence and purpose of those who leave this world before us continues to touch other generations as the future unfolds. And what a privilege it is to partner for a mission that is so near and dear to Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter’s heart and that mattered so much to Mattie – caregiving.”
On February 6, the newest recipients of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Caregiving Scholarship were treated to an awards luncheon hosted by the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving and Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation. Recognized by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Jeni Stepanek, the winners were: Melida Collins of Rio Rancho, NM; Dianne Ferebee of Toano, VA; Jessica Rodriguez of Griswold, CT; Jacqui Scoggins of Larkspur, CO; and Jill Uyehara of Raeford, NC. Each recipient received $2000 to use in enhancing their skills, knowledge, and education in providing care to others. To date, 67 caregivers have received this scholarship.