The 2013 season's rollout of Time Out, Protect Your Skin (TOPS) at the Encinal Elementary School in Atherton, CA was an enormous success, thanks to the wonderful efforts of Drs. Latanya Benjamin and Ashley Wysong. This dynamic duo engaged the eager students with age-appropriate educational presentations that sparked tremendous interest, curiosity and attention. A highlight of the day was the "sunscreen rub" dance, set to the tune of "Here Comes the Sun" which brought everyone to their feet to dance along!
Here are some highlights from the outreach:
- GREAT audience participation -- 700 students, divided into two assemblies for grades K-2 and 3-5, were highly engaged and interested, offering many comments and asking a lot of questions.
- Full involvement and support by faculty, administration and parents -- 30 teachers participated in the program, including involvement in a teacher training/orientation visit by Ashley Wysong, MD on a previous day, along with the ongoing integration of educational materials furnished by the ASA, use of the WDS materials provided and distribution of sunscreen. Faculty, parents, and administration expressed great appreciation for the educational initiative and shade umbrellas for the playground.
- Program fulfills unmet needs -- This public school does not have skin education in its standard science curriculum so the students were learning important new information. Furthermore, while the main campus has shade awnings for the older students, the Kindergarten play area has been unprotected and needed the coverage badly! The school's administration and faculty were very thankful for the grant and the outreach.
- Ongoing relationship -- The Vice Principal and President of the PTA expressed strong interest in maintaining an ongoing relationship with the WDS and offering the educational program again next year, as well as suggesting TOPS to other area schools.
- Materials distributed -- 1500 samples of sunscreen, TOPS educational tools, sun safety books (written by WDS members) and UV color-changing bracelets (a huge hit!) were given to the children; American Skin Association curriculum materials were provided to all teachers. Drs. Benjamin and Wysong brought two Stanford University medical students to assist with the goodie bags so that everything was highly efficient, and much appreciated by the faculty/administration.
- Longtime WDS member Pat Engasser, MD came to support the outreach, and offered to bring TOPS to other area schools in the future.