Molly Murdock | Published on November 28, 2018
This past summer I worked on a project for school that related to Global Citizenship. I really wanted to make a difference and help as many people as I possibly could. So, my mom and I came up with an idea to spread awareness about Governor Larry Hogan’s new law (HB 427) which is titled “Public Schools – Student Sunscreen Use – Policy.” This law allows students to bring and use sunscreen to school without a doctor’s note so kids can protect their skin. It also states that each county must enact their own county-wide policy to allow kids to use sunscreen in schools, as well as educate students and teachers about sunscreen and sun safety.
I chose this project because last year, during a field day, my brother was sunburned. He came home and looked like a LOBSTER! While researching ideas and goals for my school project, I remembered my brother looking like a LOBSTER and the new law that was discussed in our house. One big goal I came up with was teach kids my age about the new law so they could protect themselves and NOT look like a LOBSTER!! I wanted my message to reach as many people as I could to relate to the Global Citizenship.
For my project, I came up with the name K.I.S.S.P. — Kids in School Need Sun Protection. I did a LOT of research by going to the library and reading books on skin cancer. I also got on the internet and researched skin cancer rates from the CDC. I learned so much! The most important thing I learned was that one bad sunburn in childhood can double the risk of skin cancer by the time you are an adult. I also learned that most skin cancers can be prevented by taking care of your skin while you are young. When I learned this, I knew I needed to get my message out to as many people as I could.
My project took me places I never imaged! I started by writing a speech (because I like to write) and giving a speech in front of our school board in July 2018. From there, I was interviewed with the Herald-Mail Newspaper and on TV with WDVM, where I did an interview with Aliah Williamson. On WDMV I was made a Sunday Newsmaker of the Week, which is chosen for a person who is making a difference in the community, and even threw out a first pitch at a Hagerstown Suns Baseball Game while raising money for my project. I also started a non-profit business called K.I.S.S.P. and raised over $1,200 to purchase sun protection items such as hats, sunscreens and sunglasses for those that can’t afford them!
I then had an amazing opportunity to drive down to Alexandria, VA to meet and discuss my project with the Prevent Cancer Foundation! We had a great lunch meeting where I discussed my goals of spreading my message about sun protection to kids my age and how to get that message out. The best part was having Panera for lunch. I am hoping to continue to work with the Prevent Cancer Foundation to be a spokesperson for kids my age and maybe one day be on a billboard with my message to protect your skin when you are young!
The most amazing moment of my summer was when I met Governor Larry Hogan! I could not believe that I got to actually meet the GOVERNOR! I was able to tell him about my project, how I wanted to help spread awareness about his new law, and tell kids my age to protect their skin now to help prevent cancer in the future. I was invited to the state house to visit with him, but he has been really busy with an election year so I have not been able to go. I am still looking forward to the visit with him though!
After spreading my message during the summer, I went back to school and told my friends all about my project. I explained why I chose this project, how it related to Global Citizenship, and showed off my challenge coin that Governor Hogan gave to me when I met him! And the school board enacted a policy in October, making them the first county in the state to make an actual policy and following the new law!
I plan on spreading awareness about skin cancer forever. I would love to have my project message spread more state-wide as well as nationally, continue to push for legislation for all kids to in the United States to be able to freely bring sunscreen to school I feel it is so important that kids understand that what they do now will affect them many years later.