Sun Safety Program Guide
Start-up Manual for Student Volunteers
Welcome to the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation GoSafe Education Program.
Thank you for your interest in educating youth in your community about skin cancer, sun safety, early detection and the risk associated with the use of tanning beds.
Skin cancer is preventable! It’s pretty simple – by the actions of each individual, skin cancer can be prevented. And yet more than 80,000 Canadians are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, 900 of whom die and thousands of others of whom are scarred for life both physically and emotionally. Canadians born in the 1990s have a one in six chance of getting skin cancer – so we need to get the message out.
This manual gives you a step-by-step guide to set up the program in your community, from forming an executive committee of passionate volunteers, to recruiting schools and classrooms in your community and volunteer presenters from a variety of faculties at your university or college.
If, after reading this manual, you have any questions, please do not hesitate to Contact Us
Once again, thank you for outstanding commitment. Together we can eliminate skin cancer in Canada – wouldn’t that be great!
WHAT IS THE GOSAFE SUN SAFETY EDUCATION PROGRAM?
The GoSafe Sun Safety Education Program offers interactive presentations given by university students who demonstrate a commitment to health promotion and prevention within the community. The program is an in-class information session, supplemented by online teaching tools, focused on promoting safe sun attitudes and behaviours in children and young adults. The program focuses on exploring scientific information about skin cancers, prevention techniques, the ABCDE’s of early detection and the dangers of artificial tanning.
Our program is targeted at elementary, junior high and high school students and aims to have a positive impact on future attitudes and behaviours related to skin cancer awareness and sun safety. Early education regarding sun safety has been studied and proven to decrease the number of sunburns in children and have a positive impact on future decisions concerning sun safety. Furthermore, the early detection of skin cancers, particularly Melanoma, provides the best opportunity for successful treatment.
While skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, it is also one of the most preventable. The goal of our GoSafe Sun Safety Education Program is to reduce the occurrence of skin cancer in Canada and to ultimately eliminate skin cancers through education, awareness and advocacy.
In order to successfully establish a new Sun Safety Education Program within a community, a number of milestones must be reached before the first volunteer is ever recruited. In our experience, the most effective method is to approach these milestones simultaneously as opposed to sequentially, and thus the easiest way to illustrate the steps involved is to break the steps into several categories, each representing an important part of the initial setup process. These categories are leadership, school recruitment, material preparation and presenter recruitment and training.
The first step in the establishment of a Sun Safety Education Program is the recruitment of an effective leadership team for the program. Ideally, this should consist of students, faculty members and other public members who are truly passionate about the program’s cause, as its administration will require a great deal of dedication and effort.
To best explain the leadership framework and the role of each team member, each position’s responsibilities will be described and the current leadership structure at the University of Alberta in Edmonton will be provided as an example.
The founder’s role is exactly as the name describes. The founder is the initiator of the Sun Safety Education Program at a specific site and will ultimately be responsible for carrying out the instructions in this document. The founder(s) will oversee and lend support to all components of the Sun Safety Education Program and will be the chair of the executive committee. He or she will hold meetings and set direction for the Program, as well as be the central liaison to the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation.
Gillian Richardson and Jennifer Rauw are the founders of the Edmonton Sun Safety Education Program. Gillian and Jennifer conceptualized and founded what they called, at the time, a Skin Cancer Awareness Program in 2005. Gillian was a pharmacy student and Jennifer, a medical student, at the University of Alberta. Determined to bring their idea to fruition, they established a partnership with the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation.
The Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation (CSCF) is a not-for-profit organization based in Edmonton, whose focus is to support skin cancer research, awareness and education. The Foundation developed a national GoSafe Sun Safety Campaign and has assisted in developing the curriculum for the school based GoSafe Sun Safety Education Program.
Your participation in the GoSafe Sun Safety Education Program will be supported by the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation in a number of ways:
The executive committee is the leadership team for the Sun Safety Education Program in your community. It consists of dedicated individuals who are passionate about the cause and the future of the program. The individuals of this team consist of the founders and 5-8 other members, who together will make executive decisions for the function and the direction of program. They will also be the primary administrators for recruitment, training, school outreach, and arranging presentations. The Edmonton GoSafe Sun Safety Education Program strategically recruits members of the executive committee from several health faculties (i.e. Nursing, Medicine, Pharmacy, Public Health & Rehab Medicine) and benefits from the increased pool of potential volunteers and potential inter-professional collaboration. Though this is not a strict requirement, it is recommended that this strategy be considered when deciding on the executive members of a new Sun Safety Education Program.
For your reference, the following is a description of Edmonton’s executive committee: Our program is grateful to have the opportunity to invite presentation volunteers from various faculties on the University of Alberta campus. As such, the most effective leadership model is one which involves students from these faculties on the executive committee. This interdisciplinary team not only eases the process of volunteer recruitment, but also serves as a great forum for the facilitation of inter-professional cooperation and collegiality. Each faculty is represented by 1-3 students. The responsibilities of the faculty representatives include, but are not limited to, volunteer recruitment (within their faculty), volunteer training and management, and ensuring recognition of student involvement (where applicable).
Medical Student Leadership: In our program, there are typically 2-3 students from the faculty of medicine who serve as the primary facilitators for the promotion and administration of the program within the faculty.
In order to ensure a seamless transition and long-term sustainability this responsibility has become an inherent part of the job description of the two “community health representative” positions on the first year class council. This way each year when the incoming 1st year students read about the available council positions, the responsibility of helping to oversee the Sun Safety Education Program falls under the community health representative description.
Nursing & Public Health Student Leadership: Typically, there are 1-2 students from the faculty of nursing and public health who are on the organizing committee for the program each year.
Pharmacy Student Leadership: Typically, there are 1-2 students from the faculty of pharmacy who are on the organizing committee for the program each year. To ensure smooth transition, the representative on the executive committee is the Inter-professional Director, who is elected on council by the Pharmacy students’ association.
Dermatology Representative: Each year, the organizing committee has one representative from the department of dermatology, who serves mainly as an expert advisor during the monthly/bi-monthly meetings of the committee. The primary function of this member is to serve as a liaison between the committee and the local dermatological community. Typically, this position has been filled by a dermatology resident.
Once a leadership group has been established, the first and most important step towards establishing a tangible program is school recruitment. This task will likely be labour and time intensive when the education program is first being developed in a new location. However, once the task of school recruitment has been completed during the inaugural year of the program, a database of visited schools and relevant contact information will be created, making this step much easier in future years. It is essential that the school recruitment process is initiated as soon as possible, and remember, recruiting as few as two or three schools in the first year is considered a good start, and the program will grow each year as word gets out amongst teachers and schools.
The GoSafe Education Program website has the capacity to register schools and classrooms interested in having a student come in to conduct a presentation. If you wish to use the GoSafe online registration system, please contact the GoSafe Program at http://www.canadianskincancerfoundation.com/contact-us.html and we will help set up you up and provide instructions for teachers and students.
Whichever way you choose to register presentation requests, teachers interested in the program should be asked to register specific dates and times for their presentation requests, as well as the necessary contact information for their school (i.e. phone numbers, e-mails and school address) and what equipment is available (projector, laptop type, etc.) as to better help the presenter prepare in advance for the required presentation materials.
Several strategies can be incorporated to help with the school recruitment process:
Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation Databases
Many schools will have heard about the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation’s GoSafe Sun Safety Education program before you approach them. The Foundation will be launching a marketing campaign in some jurisdictions in January/February each year.
As such, the Foundation has access to a number of databases in a number of jurisdictions across Canada (school boards, teachers’ associations, public health nurses). Once you have established your Executive Committee, you are encouraged to contact the Foundation through the GoSafe Education Program website at http://www.canadianskincancerfoundation.com/gosafe-education.html and request assistance in accessing the appropriate databases.
Direct school contact
Once you have the database, your most successful recruitment tactic will be to contact schools directly. The presentations can be offered to elementary, junior high and high school aged students. We suggest you systematically delegate the task of contacting schools amongst the executive committee. The most effective method of communication (especially in the inaugural year) is via telephone, and typically it is best to first speak with the principal/vice-principal of a given school. He or she will in turn re-direct you to the appropriate teachers, who may be interested in arranging a presentation. It is also important to develop a database of emails, as it is a very efficient mode of communication and will be your primary means for school recruitment in future years.
Teachers’ Associations Contact
Another method is contacting a teacher’s associations, who may be able to assist with the distribution of an email/notice regarding the program.
Presentation/Information Booth at Teacher Conferences
Another great way to get considerable exposure for the program among teachers in your area is to attend an annual teachers’ conference and promote the program via a presentation, information booth or simply by handing out informational pamphlets on the program. This method of school recruitment is particularly effective because you are able to get face-to-face interaction with teachers.
- Teachers’ associations contact
- Teacher conferences
In an average year, presentations are delivered to almost 100 classrooms in the Edmonton area. Your program may start out much smaller, but will grow with time.
The volume of presentations requires the recruitment of many volunteers, as well as the preparation of handout materials. For each classroom, a package of handout materials must be prepared.
The GoSafe Sun Safety Education PowerPoint presentation and speakers notes are available for download at http://www.canadianskincancerfoundation.com/gosafe-education.html.
In addition, the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation will provide, for each child in the classroom, a package of informational materials, including:
It is the responsibility of the executive committee to organize these packages before any school presentations are conducted. In the Edmonton program, the packages typically contain 30 copies of each item. With the help of all members on the executive committee, this task can be completed within a few hours.
PRESENTER RECRUITMENT AND TRAINING
For presentations to schools in the spring of each year (March to June), it is recommended that faculty representatives initiate volunteer recruitment with e-mails to students in various faculties at the beginning of the January semester. Class announcements and follow up emails should continue into February, prior to the orientation sessions. During these months volunteers may sign up for elementary (Grades 4-6), junior high (Grades 7-9), and/or high school (Grades 10-12) presentations.
A mandatory orientation meeting should be held in late February, briefing student volunteers on further details and giving them specific instructions on how to deliver the presentation. It is important to note that each presentation (elementary and junior/senior high school) is different, as they have been tailored to fit the educational level of each student population.
Materials to be handed out to the classrooms, such as sunscreen lotion and educational pamphlets, should also be given to the student presenters at the time of orientation. Presenters should be instructed to go the GoSafe Sun Safety Education Program site (http://www.canadianskincancerfoundation.com/gosafe-education.html) to download the PowerPoint presentation and the accompanying script.
Presentation Preparation and Arrangement
Each volunteer is encouraged to sign up for at least two separate one hour presentations. Each classroom presentation is delivered by a pair of volunteers.
You can set up your own sign-up mechanism or you can contact the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation at http://www.canadianskincancerfoundation.com/contact-us.html, to use our on-line scheduling software.
Once students have signed up, someone from the Executive Committee will be responsible for providing the following information to allow students to determine which presentations they would like to do:
Once each pair of volunteer presenters has chosen their preferred dates and time slots, it the responsibility of the presenters to immediately get in touch with the corresponding school via the indicated contact information. This can be done via phone or e-mail. The date and time of the presentation(s) should be confirmed, along with any other necessary details, in order to ensure that everything is on track and correctly scheduled.
Presenters should meet at least one week before the presentation to go over the PowerPoint presentation and accompanying speakers notes, in order to get a good sense of how they want to deliver their presentation to the class. Remember, practice makes perfect!
CONTACTS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation
PO Box 67178, Meadowlark RPO
Edmonton, Alberta T5R 5Y3
Authors and Contributors
University of Alberta
Danny Guo, M.Sc.
MD Class of 2014
University of Calgary
Founder & Program Coordinator 2005-2009
Program Coordinator 2009 – 2013
BScNursing After-Degree Class of 2013
University of Alberta