Detective Shubha Bhat, a student at The Baldwin High School in Bryn Mawr, PA and Knitter of the Year for 2002 organized a sun safety and skin cancer awareness effort at her school. She submitted the photo above from the event and the following excellent report:
Baldwin Students Enjoy the Sun Safety Awareness Day Against Skin Cancer by Shubha Bhat
The hallways of The Baldwin School were quiet on the morning of Tuesday May 6th. My classmate and I were hanging up flyers saying, "Slip on a shirt, Slap on a hat, and Slop on sunscreen". We were all getting ready of the Sun Safety Awareness Day against Skin Cancer, which I had been anxiously waiting to organize ever since I got permission from the Head of the Upper School! As we were putting posters up in the Lower School, I saw a tiny figure through the corner of my eye. When I turned around I beheld a Lower School girl taking full advantage of the special "Out-of-uniform day". She was clad in jeans, a yellow T-shirt, a hat and sunglasses, which was the theme outfit for the Awareness Day that I got permission for the students to wear. Remembering that I had come to the Lower School assembly a couple days before to remind them about sun safety, the little girl approached me with utmost enthusiasm and exclaimed, "I'm even wearing sunscreen!" As the day went on I soon learned that she was not the only one who was excited about the awareness day. The Lower, Middle and Upper School students and even some of the teachers were in similar attire as well.
For the Awareness Day, Ms. Catherine Poole, the executive director of the National Melanoma Foundation, graciously accepted my invitation and gave her time and effort to come to our school. Ms. Poole brought a box full of pamphlets, posters, and flyers about skin cancer and sun safety. I set up a table in the dining room, on which we laid out the information. Ms. Poole also provided free sunscreen samples for kids of all ages to pick up.
In order to educate the Upper School students, I created a twelve-question quiz about sun safety and skin cancer. My friend and I distributed the quizzes during lunch and asked students to test their knowledge. The answers to the twelve questions were on creative posters throughout the lunchroom that my classmates and I had fun making and hanging up. To get more people enthusiastic about filling out the quiz, I gave them an incentive; if a student filled out the quiz perfectly, then her name would be entered into a raffle. The prizes included a cosmetic bag with sunscreen and sun care products, as well as sunless tanners. The sunless tanners containing SPF 25, which Ms. Poole provided, especially appealed to the teenagers and also encouraged them to find safer ways of tanning. I was so happy to see so many of my classmates and friends involved and interested in participating!
In order to be creative and educational, I provided beads that change color in the sun for the Lower and Middle School students. With the beads and string, they were able to have fun making bracelets that they could wear outside. Whenever the beads would change color, it would be a reminder for them to wear sunscreen! Some of the kids were amazed that the beads changed color even when it was cloudy. This helped convince them that they should be wearing sunscreen even on cloudy days.
It was around 3:00 PM when I started to take the posters down and clean up. Several of my teachers and classmates told me how much they enjoyed the day. As I was walking through the hallway with all the posters in hand, one of the eighth grade students came up to me and said, "Shubha, having an awareness day was a great idea!" I was so happy that both students and teachers enjoyed it and learned more about sun safety and skin cancer. I cannot wait to expand upon this next year and to turn it into an annual event!