P!N co-founder’s AFI Life Achievement Award coincides with YMP debut

Academy Award-winning actor and PLAN!T NOW co-founder Morgan Freeman has been selected by the American Film Institute’s (AFI) Board of Trustees to receive the 39th AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film.

TV Land broadcast the AFI Life Achievement Award tribute to Freeman on Sunday, June 19. For more information on the broadcast, visit http://www.tvland.com/shows/afi-life-achievement-award.

During the broadcast, TV Land featured PLAN!T NOW, which Freeman co-founded, and its new educational initiative, the Young Meteorologist Program.

Freeman co-founded the Grenada Relief Foundation in 2004 to benefit rebuilding efforts in Grenada, which was struck by the powerful Hurricane Ivan.

In 2008, the organization broadened its mission and evolved into PLAN!T NOW, which provides scholarships to college students severely impacted by severe weather, funds for students to follow careers that will focus on protecting vulnerable coastal regions, creates public education campaigns and assists in rebuilding efforts.

PLAN!T NOW advocates empowerment of people through information and connection, and creates dialogue between people and organizations preparing for and dealing with natural and human-made disasters. Operating with the understanding that no matter where you live, a natural disaster can happen at any time, PLAN!T NOW advocates the power of preparedness.

A major PLAN!T NOW program, the Young Meteorologist Program, takes players on a severe weather preparedness adventure where they will encounter lightning, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and winter storms — all while learning about severe weather science and safety.

Developed in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service, the American Meteorological Society and the National Education Association, the Young Meteorologist Program offers a safe, non-threatening learning environment that shows kids what they need to do to prepare now to protect themselves and help their families when a real storm comes.

The Young Meteorologist Program is an innovative, digital evolution of the NOAA National Weather Service’s famed Owlie Skywarn program, which educates kids on the dangers of severe storms and how to protect themselves. Since its inception, the Owlie Skywarn program has found fun ways to aid countless educators and meteorologists in communicating to students and their communities how to survive weather crises.

The Young Meteorologist Program centerpiece is an interactive online game featuring a 21st-century Owlie — joined by his new friends Professor Thomas, Professor West and Owlie’s mentor, Gird — that helps kids get prepared for dealing with real-life severe weather and natural hazards.

Players who complete the game earn a Young Meteorologist Certificate. Through the program website, Young Meteorologists will be presented with opportunities to put their new knowledge to work through hands-on activities and community service projects. Resources for educators, parents and meteorologists to guide Young Meteorologists will also be as part of the program.

To learn more about PLAN!T NOW, visit www.planitnow.org. For more information on YMP, and to play a sneak preview version of the game, visit www.youngmeteorologist.org.

The highest honor given for a career in film, the AFI Life Achievement Award was established by the AFI Board of Trustees IN 1973. It is presented to a single honoree each year based on the following criteria as mandated through a resolution passed by the AFI Board of Trustees:
“The recipient should be one whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art; whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by scholars, critics, professional peers and the general public; and whose work has stood the test of time.”

Previous recipients include Orson Welles, Henry Fonda, Alfred Hitchcock, James Stewart, Sidney Poitier, Clint Eastwood, Barbra Streisand, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Warren Beatty and Michael Douglas.