International Childrens Media Center

Be the change in 21st century education

aka ICMC   |   NORTHBROOK, IL   |


The International Children\u2019s Media Center is a non-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to transforming the way ALAANA children and youth use, view and engage electronic screens. By teaching diverse, at-risk youth to use digital devices with focus and intention, and by engaging them in art-making activities that support life-changing dialogue about media-messaging, the ICMC accelerates learning and strives to make interactions with screens empowering, humanizing and aspirational. In support of these goals, the ICMC provides vital access to high quality, multi-cultural media through festivals and other cultural events, and presents professional development workshops, together with resource materials to prepare youth of diverse backgrounds for success in the 21st century.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Ms. Nicole Elena Dreiske

Main address



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NTEE code info

Kindergarten, Nursery Schools, Preschool, Early Admissions (B21)

Media, Communications Organizations (A30)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Children spend 1600+ hours a year with screens, making technology one of the most polarizing, complex and challenging issues facing modern society. This early overexposure to screens has powerful, often negative, effects on children’s development, depriving them of playtime, exposing them to traumatic material, and limiting social and cognitive development. Millions of adults admit to addictive digital behaviors and their parents’ obsession with screens catalyzes children's addictions, engendering countless developmental threats. On social media, youth fall prey to bullying, electronic peer pressure and predatory marketing practices, crippling their self esteem, stunting their compassion and catalyzing waves of suicides in children as young as ten. The near ubiquitous use of screens and technology in education makes 21st century learning increasingly sedentary, and solitary. Like life, screen engagement requires meaningful dialogue and profound human connection

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Screen Smart®

Screen Smart® is a 12-week accelerated learning program for early childhood that can be taught onsite in classrooms or remotely. It includes direct instruction, teacher training and parent workshops. In nine years of field-testing, Screen Smart has been proven to boost literacy, self-regulation and empathy in 80% of PreK-3rd grade students. Screen Smart’s dual-design curriculum uses physical techniques to turbo-charge intellectual and academic core learning in just half an hour once a week. Instead of simply handing children digital devices, the program ”primes the mind” and trains children to be self-aware before they turn on the screen. The ICMC’s unique “brain/body pedagogy" combines sensory tools with cognitive engagement to be inclusive of diverse learners and children on the autism spectrum, as well as ELL, gifted and mainstream students. Screen Smart activates “human technology” and teaches healthy tech habits to achieve high-yield learning and close the achievement gap. The program's revolutionary e -learning approach will be the subject of a TEDx Chicago Talk in September 2020. Screen Smart has been taught at NAEYC, NCEA, the Huffington Post Parent Conference, Ernst & Young’s Disruptive Technology Conference, the Novus Summit at the UN. It is the subject of an award-winning book, “The Upside of Digital Devices: How to make your child more screen smart, literate and emotionally intelligent.” (HCI Books: 2018)

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups

Four-month therapeutic arts residency programs boost prosocial behaviors, reduce aggression and serve as job training for marginalized youth in detention centers, jails and homeless shelters. During these transformative programs, the young people curate a festival and make their own films.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Men and boys

The ICMC brings curriculum-supported programs of short, award-winning international and multi-cultural films to nontraditional venues, bringing festivals “where no festival has gone before.” Themed, age-appropriate programs are curated for ages 2-5, 5-8, 8-10 and 11-14. The ICFilmFest introduces children to global culture and opens their minds to new perspectives, defusing racial, gender and religious bias.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

With its revolutionary Screen Smart program, ICMC aims to reverse COVID learning loss and close the achievement gap for 12million children by teaching healthy tech habits to accelerate learning.
The ICMC trains children to be screen smart and self-aware by teaching them “what it means and how it feels” to watch digital devices with their “minds awake." In this revolutionary, neuroscience-based pedagogy, what happens in the child's mind before using technology is as important as what happens during and after screen engagement.
Screen Smart and MediaSmart are accelerative learning and literacy programs that change brain chemistry and behavior while children, engage electronic devices. These interdisciplinary programs promote healthy tech habits and boost fundamental literacy, SEL and critical thinking skills.
The program combines:
1 Dynamic energy, concentration and self-regulation skills,
2 Extended response, intellectual rigor and close analysis of screen texts so that children use higher order thinking skills to talk and write about screen experience with high interest and engagement
3 Foundational literacy/narrative concepts and vocabulary
4 Social emotional learning and metacognition skills

Over twelve weeks, in only 30 minutes per session, children learn to focus, self-regulate and exercise emotional intelligence while processing, questioning, and deconstructing screen texts. The result: children make better viewing selections and exhibit rapid academic enhancement and self-control. By leveraging the outcomes of Screen Smart for children and families on a national and global level, we seek to revolutionize the way the world connects with screens and media content so that children grow to be intelligent, engaged citizens with a vibrant future.

Overturns situational learning
Remedies sedentary nature of 21st century learning
Brain body exercises provide an outlet for children's energy, much needed physical activity without detracting from core learning

Addressing core in 21st century education, Screen Smart has great potential to be scaled on national and global levels to accelerate early childhood learning and propel humanity towards healthy, empowering screen engagement. The ICMC's tactics for such strategic scalability starts with enhanced 3rd Party Assessment and Curriculum Review/Revision, followed by National Screen Smart Challenge campaigns and Train-The-Trainer initiatives.
The TTT will recruit, train and accredit 100 Screen Smart Accelerative Trainers who will certify 10,000 in-school instructors every year for four years. This will equip schools with the skills and resources to teach best practices in early childhood screen use and re-engineer the adult-child sphere of engagement around screen time to foster meaningful adult-child dialogue. With 40,000 trained instructors working nationally in major and mid-size cities, a resource-rich website with lesson plans, hundreds of short films and real-time coaching, as well as distance learning programs, we will begin to see a tipping point in screen engagement practices, while exponentially boosting learning outcomes in 40% of the U.S.’s 98,817 schools. Global implementation, based on the success of the U.S. program will start in the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Standardize/Professionalize Outcome Reports
5 Partner with leading 3rd party evaluation firm to vet past nine years of ICMC outcomes; create report with data useable for awareness campaigns and school buy-in (12 months, Year 1)
National Awareness & Buy-In
• Work with national marketing firm, film studios, NGO’s, DOE, and major media companies to develop and distribute an impactful and nuanced National Screen Awareness campaign, establishing the need for and defining healthy screen practices for children and adults.
• Create specialized school outreach and marketing campaign.
• Create 30-45 second “Keep Your Mind Awake” spots and partner with MPAA, movie studios, Netflix and Amazon for full distribution of spots on all commercial media and games.
• 18 months for development (Years 1-2), 2 years for ongoing implementation (Years 2-4)
Scalability Plan
• Hire major education partner to revise current ICMC curriculum design for scalability and distribution (3 months, Year 1)
• Complete first book for general public, “Please, just a few more minutes” (6 months, Year 1)
• Develop Train the Trainer workshop for ICMC early childhood, elementary, middle school and high school methodologies (6 months, Year 1)
• Certify 100 trainers (6 months, Year 1)
• 100 Trainers will certify 40,000 Instructors in four years
• Implement national school marketing/outreach
• Concurrently develop state of the art website with films, lesson plans and coaching resources (24 months, Years 2-3)
• Develop new assessment and feedback practices for the national Screen Smart Accelerative program (8 months, Year 2)
Adult Resource Development
Develop adult versions of Mindful Viewing and workshops for Mi

Field tested for ten years, the Screen Smart program has yielded remarkable results for children, parents, and educators throughout Chicago and in select California schools
Assessment instrument - highly evolved

In the 2019 proof of concept for Screen Smart, six Pre-Kindergarten, eleven Kindergarten, and thirteen First Grade classrooms participated in the program. Students received instruction (30-40 minutes) once a week for twelve weeks. Third party evaluators (interns) charted significant positive growth in crucial indicators of child development by the program’s conclusion:
1. Inferential Reasoning & Higher Order Thinking - 67% of students across all grades were able to provide reasons and support for what they thought was happening in specific audio/visual texts by utilizing complex thinking and inferential reasoning as compared to 34% at the beginning of the program.
2. Self-to-Text & Text-to-World Connections - Teachers reported that 80% of students across all grades were able to relate what they see in media texts to their own lives and talk about those connections as compared to 57% in pre-program evaluation surveys.
3. Improved Verbal Communication Skills & Elevated Participation -Evaluators observed a 61% increase in student participation in all Pre-K classrooms, a 68% increase in Kindergarten classrooms, and a 76% increase in First Grade classrooms throughout the program. 75% of teachers surveyed noticed that 90% students who were normally quiet or non-responsive became more engaged and responsive during the twelve weeks of the program.
4. Focus & Self-Regulation - 90% of students in three grades readily implemented “elevated attention” exercises when prompted by instructors, classroom teachers or other students; 45% utilized techniques independently.
Teacher conclusion: “Children who have had this program learn better than children who have not.”

Ten years of field testing
Award winning book
TEDx talk

First, ingrained societal habits are difficult to change even when population benefits and risks are clearly articulated. Furthermore, the polarization of thinking around screens has inundated the public with volatile arguments about screen use.
ICMC's strengths in overcoming this risk are that the solution does not only address screen use, it also boosts learning in early childhood— a “two-fer” that will prove irresistible to schools. Additionally, the Screen Smart Challenge campaign will not assert that screen use is “wrong”. Instead it will focus on the aspects of the solution that strengthen human capabilities, in order to optimize and safely harness the strengths inherent in technology use. The ICMC team uniting researchers, electronic marketing specialists, early childhood specialists, government agencies, entertainment industry and technology leaders around screen smart principles will work to create nuanced messaging for highly varied demographic groups responding to their self-perceived needs.
Secondly, the solution is difficult to describe in linear language since it cannot accommodate or fully describe multi-level, interdisciplinary, multi-sensory, multi-outcome techniques. With input from e-marketing experts, ICMC will refine the messaging so that each facet of the solution can be reflected separately and flexibly combined to fulfill public and private objectives, like a wish-granting jewel.
If we are to co-habit the tech spheres

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    ICMC serves early childhood students, parents, teachers and educational administrators from under-resourced neighborhoods. In the educational sphere, program participants are 95% BIPOC. ICMC also serves marginalized youth and older participants in shelters, jails, detention centers and community organizations. In the sphere of therapeutic arts programs, program participants are 90% BIPOC.

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To measure academic and developmental success from our early childhood programs. , To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    In 2022, ICMC brought its accelerative early learning program to schools where 90% of children spoke Spanish but no English. Within two weeks, we pivoted our instructor training to include key phrases in Spanish. At the request of teachers whose students were participating in the program, we developed of Spanish language resource materials for teachers so that they could do real-time translation in the classroom.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback


International Childrens Media Center

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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International Childrens Media Center

Board of directors
as of 03/17/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Christine Martin

CM Consulting

Term: 2017 - 2024

Kimberley McArthur

General Mills

Jennifer Brown

Civic Leader

John Cech

Dept. Chair UFL Gainesville

Carol Meyers

Civic Leader

Robert L. Cunningham

Gibson Crutcher Dunn

Christine K. Martin

Sunshine Preschool

Lee Peters


Nicholas Peneff

Public Health & Safety Inc

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/17/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/16/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.