Students at Westside Neighborhood School (WNS) in Del Rey now have it “made in the shade,” after receiving an $8,000 shade structure grant from the American Academy of Dermatology for the school playground, says a school spokesman.

Westside Neighborhood School was one of 37 recipients nationwide to win the 2007 shade structure grant that was open to educational institutions and nonprofit organizations that serve children and teenagers 18 years old and younger.

Parents, administrators and students gathered last month at the school, 5401 Beethoven St. in Del Rey, to dedicate the new shade cover over the play structure.

“WNS is happy to receive this grant,” said Brenda A. Parker, head of school. “We believe it is vital that young people protect their skin.”

The school recently installed two other sun-safe coverings — one over the dismissal area and another shading the lunch tables.

Dr. Edward Glassberg, a Westside Neighborhood School parent and an American Academy of Dermatology member who practices in Long Beach, wrote a letter of support for the grant application, a requirement for consideration. Other parents also took part in the grant application.

According to the Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in the United States, yet also the most preventable. One of the organization’s goals is to combat the rising rate of melanoma and skin cancer deaths by teaching children about sun safety.

During the dedication ceremony, Glassberg, a specialist in skin cancer, laser surgery and dermatology, told students about the need for and proper use of sunscreen, and recommended that they cover up with appropriate clothing and seek out shade whenever possible.

Westside Neighborhood School is a private, independent pre-kindergarten to eighth grade school serving Westchester, Playa del Rey, Marina del Rey, Culver City, Ladera Heights and other Westside communities. Information, www.wnsk8.com/.

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