Get Started With Media-Smart Youth

The Media-Smart Youth curriculum is designed for an after-school setting. How you get started with Media-Smart Youth depends on whether you wish to lead a Media-Smart Youth Program or train others to lead a Media-Smart Youth Program in your after-school or community youth program.

Parents also play an important role in Media-Smart Youth. If your child is taking part in a Media-Smart Youth program, visit the section Learn More: Information for Parents to find out more about the program and ways you can support your child's participation.

Lead a Media-Smart Youth Program

As an activity leader of an after-school or other youth-based program, you may wish to lead a Media-Smart Youth program.


"The great part about this program is that you don't need a background in health, in fitness, in nutrition, or in media because everything is there for you."

Media-Smart Youth Facilitator, Girl Scouts of Rolling Hills Council

The curriculum includes an Overview for
Program Managers
(PDF - 134 KB) that answers questions about Media-Smart Youth and how to complete the planning necessary to bring the program to your organization. Information ranges from determining the length of the lessons, to recruiting youth participants, to involving media partners.

The curriculum also features an Overview for
Facilitators
(PDF - 790 KB) that covers the details that facilitators will need to consider when planning and conducting Media-Smart Youth. Topics include the lesson structure, suggested preparation, and helpful tips for facilitation.

What Materials Do I Need?

The Curriculum Packet provides everything you need to plan and carry out Media-Smart Youth (except the youth!):

  • Facilitator's Guide. The guide contains step-by-step instructions on how to lead the 10 structured lessons. It also discusses some of the key issues and decisions to consider before implementing the Media-Smart Youth curriculum, and it includes a variety of helpful resources, including Tips for Facilitating
    the Media-Smart Youth Program
    (PDF - 197 KB).
  • Media-Smart Youth DVD. The DVD includes 13 video segments that supplement the lessons and provide an overview of the program for adult facilitators and youth participants.
  • 6 Media Questions Poster. (PDF - 665 KB) This poster highlights key questions young people can ask as they analyze media and draw their own conclusions about the messages they see and hear.

Order the Facilitator's Packet

Train Others To Lead a Media-Smart Youth Program


"If you have the desire to work with these kids, that's what you really need. The program stands for itself."

Media-Smart Youth Facilitator, Westfield YMCA

As a school administrator, a program manager at a youth-serving organization, or someone who works with youth in another capacity, you can prepare your staff or volunteers to implement the curriculum with young people.

What Materials Do I Need?

The Train-the-Trainer Packet provides everything you need to conduct a half-day workshop to train staff and volunteers to conduct Media-Smart Youth:

  • Guide for Training Program Facilitators.The guide contains 10 modules that offer interactive exercises to provide facilitators with an overview of the curriculum, program objectives, and content areas, and to allow facilitators to experience some of the activities that the young participants will do. The guide includes a complete set of handouts for facilitator trainees.
  • Presentation CD-ROM. This disk includes slide presentations that supplement the training and give an overview and introduction to Media-Smart Youth.

Order the Train-the-Trainer Packet

See How Others Put Media-Smart Youth into Action

Ten organizations pilot tested the upgraded Media-Smart Youth program in 2013. The following vignettes describe their accomplishments and challenges. Select a link below to learn more about each program. You can also download the entire Lessons Learned report (PDF – 804 KB).

Learn More: Information for Parents

Parents play an important role in creating and reinforcing healthy eating and physical activity behaviors. There are things you can do to support a young person who is already in a Media-Smart Youth program or to get your child involved in one.

My Child Is in a Media-Smart Youth Program: What Can I Do?

The program encourages youth to share their media smarts with their families and friends. Ask your child about Media-Smart Youth, and watch her or him show off new skills and knowledge in media, nutrition, and physical activity. You also can:

  • Learn more about what youth do in the program. Knowing the topics covered in the lessons and activities can help you reinforce what your child is learning and make healthy nutrition and physical activity choices for you and your family.
  • Ask your child about the Tips for Media-Smart Parents (PDF - 381 KB) handouts they receive at the end of each lesson. Talk with your child about the day's lesson, and try some of the suggestions in the handouts.
  • Volunteer to help the Media-Smart Youth facilitator during the lessons.
  • Check out We Can!, a national education program designed to help children stay at a healthy weight. We Can! provides parents, caregivers, and communities with resources to encourage healthy eating, increased physical activity, and reduced screen time. Media-Smart Youth is part of the We Can! program.

What Are Tips for Media-Smart Parents?

The handouts summarize what your child learned during the day's lesson and suggest ways to put what they learned into action at home.

For example, in Lesson 1, youth explore ways to add fruits and vegetables to their daily eating. The Tips for Media-Smart Parents handout for this lesson provides specific ideas for including more fruits and vegetables in meals and snacks at home, such as adding fruit to cereal or fat-free or low-fat yogurt at breakfast; having a veggie-rich salad at lunch or dinner; and snacking on vegetables and fruits, such as cherry tomatoes or grapes.

Read and print all the Tips for Media-Smart Parents (PDF - 311 KB).

How Can I Get My Child Involved in a Media-Smart Youth Program?

You can get your child involved in Media-Smart Youth in the following ways:

  • Talk with the activity leader or administrator of your child's after-school program; a youth organization, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America; or a faith-based program in your community. Bring a copy of the Media-Smart Youth Fact Sheet, and explain how valuable the program would be to the youth.