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Wellmark Foundation grant funds statewide media literacy project

Grant, chosen from 150 requests, targets middle school students

February 15, 2011

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(Des Moines, Iowa) – Partnership for a Drug-Free Iowa will use a $25,000 grant from the Wellmark Foundation to improve health and media literacy among middle school students.

The Media Literacy Pilot Project will teach children in fifth through eighth grade to be discerning consumers of media messages. Media literacy is critical in development of effective decision-making skills in youth. It is also closely linked to choices they make about:

  • Alcohol
  • Substance abuse
  • Prescription drug abuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Bullying behavior
  • Nutrition
  • Lifestyle choices

According to Peter Komendowski, Partnership for a Drug-Free Iowa and Face It Together program, youth with improved media literacy skills will learn to make healthier choices, which will ultimately improve their overall health.

The project, to be piloted in schools throughout the state, is designed to immediately impact children’s ability to accurately interpret media messages. Activities include:

  • 45-minute visual media presentatio
  • Pre- and post-presentation classroom activities
  • Printed materials
  • Instructor-directed teaching aids
  • Survey/test modules
  • Program web site

Grant one of only 17 competitively selected
The Wellmark Foundation is a non-profit foundation that seeks to improve the health of Iowans, South Dakotans, and their communities. Through its 2010 Healthy Communities Grant Program, the Foundation received nearly 150 grant requests. This grant award to Partnership for a Drug-Free Iowa represents one of 17 competitively awarded to establish or expand health initiatives throughout Iowa and South Dakota.

Cumulatively, The Wellmark Foundation is proud to award $1,334,817 to these 17 grants to serve as catalyst funding for local health projects.

“Teaching children to accurately interpret media messages will allow them to make informed decisions and healthy choices,” says Matt McGarvey, the Foundation’s director. “And the healthy choices they make today can positively impact their health into the future.”

About Partnership for a Drug-Free Iowa/Face It Together
Partnership for a Drug-Free Iowa/Face It Together is a non-profit coalition dedicated to promoting healthy families and safe communities by preventing substance abuse in Iowa.

For more information about Partnership for a Drug-Free Iowa and the Face It Together program, contact Peter Komendowski, (319) 269-8493 / For more information regarding the Wellmark Foundation and its grant programs, visit



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