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Press Release

For Immediate Release
May 6, 2014

Contact:
Communications Office
(603)271-2121

Governor Hassan Announces Trainings in Program to Help Prevent Youth Violence
Strong Response Statewide as More Than 55 New Hampshire Schools and Districts Seek Involvement in Public-Private Initiative

CONCORD – Continuing her efforts to strengthen the safety of New Hampshire’s communities and schools, Governor Maggie Hassan today announced statewide trainings in the Media Power Youth program, a public-private initiative aimed at reducing and preventing youth violence that the Governor helped launch last December.

“Maintaining New Hampshire’s distinction as one of the safest states in the nation is our most important responsibility,” Governor Hassan said. “This evidenced-based approach will help parents, educators and young people understand media's role in influencing behavior, and it has already received a tremendous response in communities throughout the state, as more than 55 New Hampshire schools and districts representing approximately 150 communities are getting involved.”

Funded through a grant from the Office of the Attorney General, this statewide initiative enables Media Power Youth, a Manchester-based nonprofit and expert in media literacy, to provide free curricula and training for New Hampshire teachers and school professionals to implement in their schools.

The evidence-based curriculum, Media Literacy for Safe & Healthy Choices, is designed for fourth, fifth and sixth grades students. It promotes healthy decisions and positive use of media while students learn about the media’s role and influence on violence, aggression and bullying; tobacco and alcohol use; and food choices.

“Violence, aggression, disrespect, bullying and cyber-bullying — all behaviors which can be destructive, even if they never reach the level of criminal activity — are becoming more prevalent in children,” said Deputy Attorney General Ann Rice. “All too often, the influence of media is seen as a contributing factor. Violence, especially that perpetrated by youth, is preventable. The response from New Hampshire principals and superintendents demonstrates that media education and violence prevention are a significant need.”

The first of eight trainings for those implementing the curriculum is scheduled for Friday, May 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Local Government Center Health Trust, 25 Triangle Park Drive, Concord.  Future trainings will be held on August 13th at Frisbie Education Center in Rochester, September 19th at Whole Village Family Resource Center in Plymouth, and November 7th at Manchester Community College. Additional dates and locations, including Keene and the North Country, will be announced.

The full-day training, led by Media Power Youth Education & Training Manager Sarah Shanahan, provides educators with the skills and knowledge needed for successful implementation of the program and a free copy of the curriculum for their school. All attendees completing training will receive professional development hours. The violence prevention initiative also provides middle, high school and parent programs for a select number of communities in the 2014-2015 school year that will be announced in June.

A public-private partnership, the program brings together leaders from the fields of criminal justice, law enforcement, education, health and human services, health care, foundations, and business, as well as parents and community members. Partnering with the Governor and Office of the Attorney General are US Attorney John Kacavas, Commissioner Virginia Barry and the New Hampshire Department of Education, the New Hampshire Association of School Principals, the New Hampshire Pediatric Society, the National Education Association, and the New Hampshire School Counselors Association.

Governor Hassan included $100,000 in violence prevention grant funding in the FY 2014/2015 state budget, and the $50,000 grant for the first year was approved last year by the Executive Council.

“The overwhelming, positive response to this initiative indicates that there is a growing demand from schools and districts for violence prevention and media education,” the Governor said. The continued support of private foundations and businesses is critical to helping ensure that the initiative can reach all interested districts, schools and communities.”

For information on bringing the violence prevention program to a school district or community, please contact Media Power Youth at 603-222-1200 or sarah.shanahan@mediapoweryouth.org.

About Media Power Youth

Media Power Youth empowers youth to lead healthy, safe lives through smart use of media. Based in Manchester, NH, Media Power Youth is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) working locally and throughout the Northeast in collaboration with school districts, communities, research institutions, health and prevention programs, businesses and foundations to provide a continuum of evidence based, health-focused media literacy education for youth, parents, and professionals.