Year Round Media That Matters: Positive Picks for Kids

Nov. 26, 2012 With all the coinage and consumption swirling around Black Friday and Cyber Monday for people hunting “deals” I think it’s fitting to honor the organizations that deliver positive media and transformative vision to kids’ lives year-round. It stays with them long after the holiday hoopla and instills the notion that we all have choices in how we want to walk through the world, extending an inviting hand of participation to create a life of meaning.

Reach and Teach and New Moon Girls are media pals and content partners deserving of wild applause for changing the channel of influence and bringing quality, depth, humanity and heart into media myopia. Example?

Instead of telling girls who they ‘should’ be with ad-laden newsstand aspirations, New Moon Girls magazine (ages 8 and up) inspires girls to look within themselves and toward each other to share among peers for a much more inclusive, global, and refreshingly strong portrayal of young women.

Compare these feature articles with positive, substantive content to the cover girl mass mags and you quickly see you’re giving the gift of self-worth for a healthy, positive pick for preteens during a very impressionable stage of development. How refreshing!

  • Global Village: Girls internationally teach readers about countries and cultures
  • Go, Girl! All about girl activists, adventurers, and athletes
  • Women’s Work: Features women in careers that girls can aspire to and learn from
  • Herstory: Historical women with fascinating life stories
  • Fiction: A new story featuring girl characters in every issue
  • Body Language: Honest, accurate information about our bodies
  • The Last Word: Inspirational messages from accomplished girls and women
  • Ask a Girl, Dear Luna: book reviews, cartoons…(content by girls, for girls and more)

New Moon Girls online community and bi-monthly print magazine is like blasting a powerful snow-blower to reveal solid content buried in a media avalanche of empty-headed shallowness of glamorama appearance-based cues that end up defining children before they can even define themselves.

Ad free, age appropriate and limitless in the reach ‘toward the stars’ it’s an uplifting message for girls that at least puts a shield up to deflect the damage of some of the more toxic offerings put out there.

Likewise, ever-cool social justice company Reach and Teach is countering the vapid values of ‘buy it fast, get it cheap’ grab-n-go gifting to instead turn their holiday online community into an ongoing focus on the power of purposeful presence…

Hear an advocacy anthem playing? Check out the colorful new little board book ‘A is for Activist,’ to instill some early awareness with a wry wink and nod to parents who champion change…you won’t find this at Costco.

Reach and Teach Celebrates the Season with Humane Education

Reach and Teach is adding poignancy to an already well-curated depth of green toys and joys, a focus on diversity and humane education, by hand-selecting personal tributes to tie in media with transformation.

They’ve chosen to spotlight some of their individual vendors while giving kids ‘food for thought’ about thankfulness, compassion, adversity, and triumph of the human spirit.  Example?

This past weekend, Craig Wiesner, co-founder of Reach and Teach with Derrick Kikuchi, and former resident of Rockaway Beach which was heavily damaged by Superstorm Sandy in New York, kicked off the sharing is caring season by offering half the proceeds from the ever-popular Girls Are Not Chicks coloring book to help out Girls for Gender Equity also damaged by the storm).

Today their site spotlighted last night’s CBS 60 minutes airing of Free the Children and the inspiring efforts of like-minded crusader Craig Kielburger, focusing on his book, “The World Needs Your Kid”

Rather than just ‘sell the season’ or share their vast collection of vetted coolness, they are tying in media events that pay it forward with alignment, calling attention to positive picks while looping in some informal learning with their attitude of gratitude.

As Craig and Derrick reminded:

“We’re a social enterprise that works to transform the world through teachable moments by making products available that you won’t find under any other single real (or virtual) roof…BUT… products don’t transform the world until they get out in the world…So, if people are inspired by seeing Craig Kielburger’s story, for example, they might take a little time and check out the other stories we’re ready to tell at Reach And Teach.

Another great example is tying in their article on Educating for Freedom focusing on media literacy with the founder of Humane Education, Zoe Weil…a TEDx video which deserves a post in itself for echoing the all around ‘can somethin be done about all this consumption question. Critical thinking about what deserves your attention much less your dollar is worthy indeed. Zoe Weil also authored “Most Good, Least Harm” which was just captured in a feature post and podcast about her amazing work on Tranquility DuJour. Fun!

I love how Reach and Teach uses the power of media to market mindfulness.

“Having a brick-and-mortar shop and being at events like the Green Festival give us an opportunity to directly interact with people who are trying to make better buying decisions,” said Craig.

I’ll say. I couldn’t get out of their booth at The Green Festival, without snagging organic chocolate, a pithy notecard and thumbing through kids’ books that I keep thinking I can use in my counter-marketing capers. Pairing cause-marketing with award-winning media finds is a ‘two-fer’ when it comes to positive picks and I have a feeling they’ll be circling back to this theme regularly.

I can’t wait to see what they do with the timely tale focusing on their newly published young adult book Ivy, Homeless in SF

Maybe they’ll tie an event to a ‘one warm coat’ drive or circle back to that Glee episode of Sam Evans where the National Center for Homelessness and Poverty says Glee ‘got it right’ in its media depiction of certain families’ economic displacement.

Update 11-30-12: Reach and Teach just announced they are donating half of all sales of Ivy Homeless in S.F. this weekend to alleviate hunger to Kids Can Make A (through Dec.3)

As more and more parents are pushing back on what’s being presented en masse, the niche boutiques, fair trade fests, etsy purveyors, and unique global online catalogs are hoping to nudge the pendulum away from the story of stuff to “more meaning, less mindless” pursuits in the use of collective purchasing power.

For every blaring commercial touting cheesy “must haves” and mandates of pop culture pablum, folks like Reach and Teach offer antidotes that make you smile with, “now THAT I can support!”

Stocking stuffer? How about a ‘Self Esteem Passport’ to stamp out the messages that bombard kids with ‘not __ enough’? No matter what you’re looking for, they’ve added an interactive ‘just ask’ tool for finding something suitable for every age and stage. Also along these lines check out positive post-its from our friends at Beauty Redefined or Full of Awesome gear to celebrate boldness and free-spirited wonders of childhood…let’s make sure small enterprises thrive, not just ‘survive’ this season, ok?)

For those of us trying so hard to take back the values we’ve worked so hard to instill, Reach and Teach and New Moon Girls represent year-round media pleasures bringing choice and voice to turn up the volume on positive messages that need heeded as well as heard.

In sum: YOU have the purchasing power to direct your dollars…Now, as Nike says:

…(you know the rest).

Stay tuned for more positive picks for kids, from festive ‘maker’ style sites like Club Chica Circle for tweens (where crafting is contagious)…

And The Scrapkins (recycled innovation for kids, where storytelling meets crafting in an imaginative media mashup)…

And a fun feature on “gifts that you earn by getting kids moving” (pros/cons of rewards-based fun from chores to exercise…please leave a comment below if you have more to add in this realm!)

Meanwhile, check out the New Moon Girls holiday offer below for media you can feel good about that stays with her all year long.


November Positive Picks +A Few Previously Featured on Shaping Youth

Let’s Add to Them!

(Note: those in green denote SY ongoing affiliations)

Winter Break Ideas to Keep Kids Consumed Rather Than Consuming

Reprise: Marketing Mindfulness to Kids –Part One

Reprise: Shaping Youth Through Philanthropic Fun –Part Two

Reprise: The Big Give: Kiva, Oprah & the Reality TV Juggernaut

Toy Joy or Consumption Junction: Critical Thinking for Holiday Fun

Toward the Stars: New Online Marketplace Of Goods for Girls to Soar

Pigtail Pals: TEE party and Positive Picks in Media/Mktg: Pigtail Pals, Redefining Girly

Reach and Teach: Global Goods That Do Good and Ten Under $10

New Moon Girl Media Magazine +Community Online and Girl Caught! New Moon Girls Slams Sexualization

STEM Toys: Innovate to Educate (Roominate, Little Bits, Goldie Blox and more)

Piggies and Paws: Kids’ Keepsakes for Life (handprints/footprints)

Storybird: Kids Online Story Community (create keepsakes/books-art)

When Kids Want to Use Their Own Money to Gift ($5 finds)

My Mommy Taught Me to Surf and My Daddy Taught Me to Surf (portion goes to Surfrider Fnd)

Best Childrens’ TV You’ve Never Seen: Ameba TV

The Perfect Gift for A Man: Reinventing Manhood/Inspire Foundation

Counter-Marketing Consumption Cues: Think Geek Gifting Fun

Wrapping Up the Gift of Time in a Media Package

Shaping Youth Through Philanthropic Gifting Fun

Kite Sisters: Stickers to Billboards The Take Back Beauty Project For Respect

How Can We Use Media to Gift…Without Buying? (fun/novelty gift picks) 

(See search bar for custom terms/specific picks using upper right sidebar)



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