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NCC Pilots Shade Structure Grant Program

11 November, 2023

Sun Smart Schools has made strides throughout its more than eight years of programming and continues to do so, now with the pilot of a shade structure grant program.

This fall, Nevada Cancer Coalition piloted a Sun Smart Schools Shade Structure Grant Program to add another opportunity for Nevada schools to help students practice sun safety. Three schools have been awarded the first shade structure grants: Spring Creek elementary and middle schools and Wells Combined School.

The program provides up to $8,000 to cover the cost of a shade sail or structure for the playground or an outdoor area students frequent. Schools are responsible for the installation and maintenance of the structure.

Shade sails made with UV-protective fabric can blog 94-96% of UV rays from the sun and hard-top shade structures block 100% of UV rays, drastically reducing youth exposure during recess. Many shade sails and structures have 10 years or more of life, making the investment high impact—hundreds of students can benefit from the structure.

Increasing access to shade is just one tool in the Sun Smart Schools toolbox intended to reduce the risk of skin cancer for young Nevadans. The program also provides sunscreen dispensers and sunscreen to schools, free assemblies and classroom presentations on sun safety, and curriculum tools for K-12 classrooms to incorporate sun safety into lessons across various subject areas.

Sun Smart Schools also provides training opportunities for educators, administrators, and school nurses to help them build skills and knowledge to teach students about sun safety.

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Nevada, and early prevention is key. At least a quarter of lifetime sun exposure occurs in a person’s first 20 years of life, making school-based prevention activities vital. Sun Smart Schools is Nevada’s only sun safety program focused on this age group and in a venue where they spend many of their daylight hours—schools.

To learn how you can apply for a future Sun Smart Shade Structure Grant or donate to support the grant program, contact Lily Helzer, Prevention and Early Detection Programs Manager.

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