Program Description

The SunAWARE For Life Program is designed to promote our mission to teach children and the people who care for them about skin cancer prevention and sun protection. This program is based upon the SunAWARE acronym that includes five easy action steps for primary and secondary prevention. Foundation educators present an interactive, standard-based, cross-curricular program for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.  Annually, we educate tens of thousands of school children, teachers, and nurses both locally and nationally.

SunAWARE Acronym

Avoid unprotected exposure to sunlight, seek shade, and never indoor tan.

Wear sun protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses year-round.

Apply recommended amounts of broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sunburn protection factor (SPF) ≥ 30 to all exposed skin and reapply every two hours, or as needed.

Routinely examine your whole body for changes in your skin and report suspicious changes to a parent or healthcare provider.

Educate your family and community about the need to be SunAWARE.


The Children's Melanoma Prevention Foundation is a proud member of the National Council for Skin Cancer Prevention. We have partnered with the Dermatology Nurses' Association, the Montana Division of Cancer Control, the Association of Dermatology Managers/Administrators, Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome (BCNS) Life Support Network, US SAILING,  and others  to provide SunAWARE education nationally.

Participating Schools

halifax team wFoundation educators provide SunAWARE classes in over 150 schools in Massachusetts. We also provide professional development for teachers, nurses, and administrators in a system-wide and whole-school approach to raise awareness and reinforce our SunAWARE message. We promote the annual, nationwide Don't Fry Day campaign by providing educational resources for participating schools.

 Multi-level SunAWARE Curriculum

An equal distribution of students participate from  kindergarten through grade twelve. Our age and grade-level appropriate curriculum encompasses five main topics: UV intensity, sun sensitivity, proven methods of sun protection, skin cancer recognition and the SunAWARE action steps. Foundation educators work with schools to plan programs tailored to the scheduling needs of teachers. Programs have included classroom presentations, assemblies, health fairs, field days, parent programs, and professional development.

Program Levels:



Kindergarten through 2nd Grade

jefferson schoolAt this level, students are introduced to the basic concepts regarding  sun sensitivity and sun protection. UV intensity equipment includes a UV detecting Frisbee that changes color with exposure to UV rays and handheld UV meters. Foundation educators often use a felt board to illustrate our lesson. The foundation's mascot, Norbert, a 3 Lb therapy dog,  joins us for select classes. The SunAWARE K-2 Curriculum was developed according to the Massachusetts's Educational Frameworks.

Grade 3 through 5

Jefferson SchoolAt this level, lessons highlight various factors that influence UV intensity including planetary rotation and revolution, ozone depletion, surface characteristics, altitude, and weather. Building on the lessons learned earlier, students are taught about individual risk factors associated with skin sensitivity.  Either the Leverett UV Camera System or a Dermascan skin analyzer is used to highlight pigment changes in the skin and proper sunscreen application. The SunAWARE 3-5 Curriculum was developed according to the Massachusetts Educational Frameworks.

Grade 6 through 8

uv boy reflectance wAt this level,  we reinforce earlier concepts regarding the factors that effect UV intensity and skin sensitivity.   We introduce information regarding the hazards of indoor tanning, as well as the fundamentals of skin cancer recognition.  Building on the lessons learned earlier, students are taught about ocular health as it relates to UV exposure. The Leverett UV Camera System  is employed to educate students about sun damage and proper sunscreen application.   The SunAWARE Middle School Program (Grades 6-8) was developed according to the Massachusetts Educational Frameworks.

High School

melanoma wAt this level, we provide a more intense focus on UV exposure patterns and the development of different forms of skin cancer. Students are instructed on how to conduct a skin self-examination to detect melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. An in-depth analysis of societal influences on indoor tanning as well as legislative efforts to combat this problem are addressed.  Our anti-tanning video, Glenna;'s Gift, is an integral component of our 9-12 SunAWARE Curriculum.  It was featured in the American Public Health Association's International Film Festival.    Sun damage and proper sunscreen application are illustrated via the Leverett UV Video Camera System.  It is an innovative technology, proven to impact sun protection practices.  The curriculum was developed according to the Massachusett's Educational Frameworks. 

Awards and Recognition

  • CMPF named MA Nonprofit Network Advocacy Finalist (2016)
  • Krista Rubin won the Dermatology Community Service Award (2014)
  • Maryellen Maguire-Eisen won the Dermatology Nurses' Association President's Award (2009)
  • SunAWARE books won the American Academy of Dermatology Gold Triangle Award (2009) for Community Education
    • Lake Vacation. Langdon Street Press, Minneapolis: 2008.
    • Pretty Prom. Langdon Street Press, Minneapolis: 2008.
  • Maryellen Maguire-Eisen won the OrthoNeutrogena Dermatology Nurses' Association Research Award (2005)
    • A Sun Protection Community Intervention in Quincy Middle Schools: Insights from the Use of Ultraviolet Photography and its Impact on Sunburn.
  • Maryellen Maguire-Eisen won the Dermatology Nurses' Association Community Service Award (2002)


Program Support

Our SunAWARE Program is provided free-of-charge to schools. Donations from a variety of sources sustain these efforts and our ongoing growth. We are grateful to our generous supporters for helping us fulfill our mission.