Young Poet and Peacemaker Hero Mattie Stepanek passed away on the morning of June 22, 2004. Mattie’s poems of peace and hope have touched millions of lives; his heartsongs will continue to reach people of all ages around the world for decades to come.
MY HERO recommends reading the following stories, in which Mattie's mom, Jeni Stepanek, shares memories of her son.
MY HERO's Slater Jewell-Kemker interviews Dr. Jeni Stepanek in an in-depth interview.
"Before my son died, he made me promise him that I would do whatever I could not to give in to sorrow and grief and the agonizing weight of an empty lap and empty arms."
Students watch the MY HERO film of Jim Hawkins, a board member of Children's Hospice International, sharing his memories of Mattie Stepanek.
Children's Hospice Volunteer Jim Hawkins talks about his heroes, Mattie and Jeni Stepanek. (6:25 minutes)
Students read the following stories to learn more about Mattie Stepanek.
Mattie Stepanek is a hero to people of all ages around the world. [This story is also available in Spanish and French.]
After analyzing Karen Derrico's painting of Mattie and his dog Micah, students are encouraged to create a piece of art representing their hero, using the medium of their choice and including words that exemplify their hero's characteristics or accomplishments.
After learning more about Mattie Stepanek, students will be inspired and empowered to overcome obstacles in their own lives and reach for worthy goals in the present.
Click the image to learn about the winners of the Mattie Stepanek 2021 and 2020 Poetry Contests and read their poems.
Learn more about Mattie and his mother, Jeni Stepanek, by watching these films.
"Mattie was one of the most authentic, loving souls I have ever known," Oprah says. "Jeni instinctively knew how to foster and encourage this precious gift to the world." (6:49 minutes)
"Hope is real, peace is possible, life is worthy." -- Jeni Stepanek (3:46 minutes)
Teachers: Visit MY HERO for additional curated multimedia resources honoring Mattie Stepanek
The Mattie Stepanek lesson plan was created by MY HERO Educational Outreach Director Laura Nietzer.
Learn About a New Hero Every Day of the Year: Use the MY HERO Calendar in the Classroom
Students can share their Hero Essays, Films and Art through our Create Program
Organizer created on 6/27/2019 2:48:55 PM by Laura Nietzer
Last edited 6/28/2021 4:29:18 PM by Laura Nietzer