Media Power Youth, a New Hampshire-based nonprofit that empowers young people to lead safe, healthy lives through smart use of media, has announced that Heather Inyart has joined the organization as executive director, succeeding Rona Zlokower who is retiring after 18 years as its leader and founder.
Inyart will be responsible for continuing to grow the organization’s national footprint of media literacy products and services while sustaining ongoing programs for NH educators, parents, and youth. Media Power Youth provides professional development training, curricula, and workshops, teaching children how to recognize media’s influences on health, behavior, and social norms and to use media positively.
Prior to joining Media Power Youth, Inyart held numerous positions in business and nonprofit organizations. She was most recently Membership and Community Relations Manager for New Hampshire Made. Inyart has also served as marketing director and global business manager for several consumer products companies including Energizer Personal Care, Novartis Consumer Health, and Procter & Gamble.
“Ms. Inyart brings a strong combination of management and marketing experience to the organization at a critical time,” said Frank Mesmer, Media Power Youth Board Chair. “Media Power Youth was created through a collaboration of pediatricians and health educators in response to the increasing influence of media on our children. Today with the explosion of social media, media literacy education is more important than ever and we are confident this next stage of our growth will help us expand our support for kids and communities as they navigate our media-driven world.”
For nearly two decades, Media Power Youth has been developing curricula and training for educators to help teach the critical thinking skills students need to resist media’s influence on bullying, violence, nutrition, and substance use. The organization’s Media Literacy for Safe & Healthy Choices curriculum was evaluated and deemed effective by the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. The Media Power Youth curriculum is listed in the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP) of the Substance Abuse Services and Mental Health Administration (SASMHA).
In addition to the many donations and grants from supportive families and organizations, the NH Department of Justice and the NH Charitable Foundation have also provided continuous support to Media Power Youth for its role in violence and substance use prevention. In 2016, Media Power Youth received the Nonprofit Impact Award from the NH Center for Nonprofits in recognition of the effectiveness of its media literacy programs.
Media Power Youth recently launched an online version of its Media Literacy for Safe and Healthy Choices Grade 4 – 6 curriculum and training to expand teacher’s access to these media literacy educational resources. It’s also working with NH schools and youth-serving organizations on programs to address screen time and the healthy use of social media.
Media Power Youth’s previous executive director Rona Zlokower will continue to support its mission, consulting on media literacy education and program development. Later this year, a celebration will be held in Zlokower’s honor in recognition of her contributions to Media Power Youth and to the field of media literacy.