The Shade Project

Say goodbye to summer sunburn

If you’re a parent with small children, your family has likely encountered a blistering hot playground.  Wooden structures--even pools--can get terribly warm when relentlessly exposed to the blazing sun.  While heat is an issue, that sun exposure can have profound and serious effects on youngsters for years.  That's why the Lamar Middle School Fine Arts Academy, with the help of local nonprofit The Shade Project, is erecting a series of shade structures on campus to protect students from the harmful effects of the sun.

What is The Shade Project? Dr. Daniel Ladd, local board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon, noticed increases in skin cancer among the younger patients in his dermatology practice.   The idea for The Shade Project was born out of Ladd’s concern regarding skin cancers in children and young adults. The Shade Project’s goal is to provide shade at play areas located at various parks and schools around Austin and to educate people on the importance of skin protection.

The Shade Project team consists of three dedicated individuals: the founder, Dr. Daniel Ladd, who also hosts the Dr. Dan radio show where he discusses contemporary health practices; Ladd’s wife, Lurleen, co-founder, executive director, and co-host of the radio show; and Christi Hester, co-founder, managing director, and marketing professional.  An upbeat attitude and a collective goal to help the general public in all aspects of skin cancer prevention bind these three people together in a variety of exciting and worthwhile projects.

In addition to the work at Lamar Middle School,  The Shade Project has also teamed with the City of Austin Parks and Recreation and Aquatics department on several projects.  Many of the city pools have wading areas that have been converted to splash pads, shallow areas where small children soak and play, and The Shade Project is working to bring shade to those exposed areas.  The Rosewood Park pool has been targeted for coverage as well as programs to educate families about the importance of sun protection.  The Shade Project also offers information and education to the public about other methods of skin care such as effective sunscreens, peak UV-ray hours, sun-savvy apparel, and the importance of yearly skin cancer screenings.

The Shade Project’s website is a great resource for sun safety, including articles and tips from credible sources.  There is also a list of the planned projects, like the one at Lamar Middle School, and upcoming events.  On May 5, they will be at Saks Fifth Avenue in the Arboretum from noon to 4 p.m. with their "Get Your Shade on For Cinco de Mayo at Saks" event.   This fun and educational get-together will have samplings from Soleil Bar & Grill, refreshments from Z-Tequila and their special “Shade Aid,” and fantastic door prizes.  And if you shop at Saks during this time, ten percent of your purchase is donated to The Shade Project.


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