Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation
Laura J. Bauer, MPA
Laura recently retired from a 20-year career at the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) at Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW). Co-author of the RCI's signature training program, Caring for You, Caring for Me - Education and Support for Family and Professional Caregivers, 2nd Edition; Laura has co-authored numerous journal articles and contributed chapters to Voices of Caregiving (LaChance Publishing, 2008) and Re-Creating Neighborhoods for Successful Aging (Health Professions Press, 2008).
Laura continues to teach six courses in the RCI's Caregiving Issues and Management Certificate program and newly-launched Bachelor of Science in Long Term Care Management program at Georgia Southwestern State University.
Meeting the young peacemaker and poet Mattie J.T. Stepanek and his mother Jeni in 2003 was a pivotal moment for Laura. She had followed his story for years, and when he accepted the invitation to co-chair an RCI event with Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, she was tremendously moved by his aura and wisdom. After Mattie's death, she worked to establish a caregiving scholarship in his name at the RCI and was delighted when Jeni invited her to serve on the Board of Directors of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation. Laura was trained by Jeni in the foundation's Pathways to Peace program in 2016. Her goal post-retirement is to continue to spread Mattie's message of hope and peace for our world.
Laura also sits on the Board of Governors of the We Are Family Foundation in New York City and the Board of Directors for the Southwest Georgia Victim's Assistance Alliance, Inc. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Alpha Alpha, and the American Association of University Women. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Public Administration from
Columbus State University as well as a Certificate in Gerontology from GSW.
In addition to teaching peace, Laura is an advocate for social justice, the environment, and caregiving issues. She enjoys hiking, camping, photography, bird-watching, dancing, and music of all genres. She and her dog Katie are a certified Pet Partner animal therapy team; regularly
volunteering their services at local elementary schools, hospices, hospitals
and nursing homes.
Workshop Title: Choosing Peace for our World
Young poet and peacemaker Mattie Stepanek penned seven NY Times Bestselling books of "Heartsongs" poetry and "Just Peace" essays, and served as an ambassador for many peace- and disability-related organizations during his almost 14 years of life. Since his death in 2004, the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation has continued spreading Mattie's message of hope and peace by providing access to the message, promoting understanding of the message, and motivating people to action in sharing the message. This workshop will introduce you to Mattie's belief that "We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts, to nurture, to offer, to accept." You will learn why Mattie's message makes a great tool for peace education, and how each of the elements in the Pathways to Peace Program supports those who seek to share the message in their own lives and communities.