OPARC Program wins Huell Howser Best in Blue Award
Rowland Heights, CA (November 30, 2017) – Rowland Water District’s (RWD) OPARC program was recognized for achieving communications excellence by the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) at its 2017 Fall Conference and Exhibition in Anaheim.
RWD received the Huell Howser Best in Blue Award on Nov. 29, 2017 at the conference for its OPARC Fire Hydrant Maintenance Program.
The first-of-its-kind community outreach effort, employing adults with disabilities to paint fire hydrants, launched in January 2016, in partnership with OPARC, a non-profit organization that facilitates meaningful employment opportunities for adults with disabilities in Southern California.
“This program inspired our District, our community and our region,” said Rowland Water District General Manager Tom Coleman. “We are humbled to be honored with this prestigious award.”
Four special needs employees were selected by the OPARC organization to be a part of Rowland’s work force. They were paid $15.00 per hour, more than twice the amount they would otherwise receive from government subsidies. In just one year, the four participants repainted more than 1,000 hydrants.
The program helped the District meet some of its key communication goals and initiatives such as broadening the definition of community through additional outreach, prioritizing opportunities that benefit all partners, and creating internal messaging that enhances staff morale and experiences.
“The District saw this as an opportunity to inspire the community and share the value of water, but also directly and positively enhance the lives of individuals with special needs,” said Rowland Water District Board President Szu Pei Lu-Yang.
The Huell Howser Best in Blue Award honors outstanding communications achievements by public water agencies from across California. Winning projects and programs have measurable impact and reflect their agency’s outreach goals while using available resources efficiently and responsibly.
More information about the award and program can be found on Rowland Water District’s website at www.rowlandwater.com.