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“A heartsong doesn’t have to be a song. It can be your message, your feeling—some people might even call it a conscience. Even though that’s not really what it is. It’s what you feel you need to do.” - Mattie J.T. Stepanek

The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Poetry Award was established by The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation and The MY HERO Project in honor of Mattie Stepanek. Mattie was a poet and peace activist who encouraged everyone to sing the song in their heart in their lifetime.

"Artsongs" - a portrait of Mattie Stepanek and Micah
Credit: by Karen Derrico

2024 Finalists

Adult

Paola

By: Trevor Barton
Today I see her as Paola, first-grade hero, with compassionate eyes, an intuitive mind and a big heart.

Student

My father.

By: Vatavu Damian

Bernardo & Nusa

By: Jeronimo Munoz

Desmond Tutu

By: Deetya Chandra

The Coach

By: John Crawford
Mattie Stepanek
By: Aayushmaan Malviya
Poem
Jennifer groat
By: kathryn clemons
Father Steven and Schmieds
By: madi walczak
Marla OBrien, My Mother
By: Marissa OBrien
my dad
By: ella ryan
The Coach
By: John Crawford
My hero, my mom
By: Ava Ford

Learn more about Mattie Stepanek

"For Our World" a poem by Mattie Stepanek

Child peace activist and poet, Mattie Stepanek, wrote this poem after the tragedy of September 11. Read the poem that has touched millions.

Mattie Stepanek

By: Jim Hawkins
Mattie Stepanek is a hero to people of all ages around the world.

Mattie Stepanek

By: Nathan Smith
A short animated tribute to poet hero Mattie Stepanek. The soundtrack features the St. Paul's Episcopal Day School choir singing a song inspired by one of Mattie's poems.

Previous Winners

The 2023 MY HERO Mattie J.T. Stepanek Poetry Award Student Winner

By: Abigail Richardson
Oliver Wilcox from Somerby, Leicestershire, UK has won the student category of the MY HERO Mattie J.T. Stepanek Poetry Contest 2023.

The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Poetry Award 2022 Winners

By: Abigail Richardson
“A heartsong doesn’t have to be a song. It can be your message, your feeling—some people might even call it a conscience. Even though that’s not really what it is. It’s what you feel you need to do.” - Mattie J.T. Stepanek

Mattie J.T. Stepanek Poetry Contest Winners Spring 2021

By: Shannon Luders-Manuel
Congratulations to the winners ofthe Spring 2021 Mattie J.T. Stepanek Poetry Contest!

Mattie J.T. Stepanek Poetry Contest Winners

By: Shannon Luders-Manuel
The MY HERO Project hosts the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Poetry Contest in honor of poet and peace activist Mattie Stepanek. Before Mattie passed away, just before his 14th birthday, he had become a New York Times Bestselling author and a celebrated guest on Oprah, Good Morning America, and the Muscular Dystrophy Associations (MDA) Telethon. His mother, Jeni Stepanek, continues his legacy with the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation and is our judge for the poetry contest.

Enter the 2025 contest NOW. Deadline June 1st 2025.

Mattie Stepanek Poetry Contest
Credit: MY HERO

Organizer created on 5/16/2024 9:36:15 AM by Abigail Richardson

Last edited 5/29/2024 10:30:36 AM by Abigail Richardson

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