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FGUA to launch senior water pilot program

May 1, 2019
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The Florida Governmental Utility Authority, along with Carolyn Peplow, director at Lehigh Community Services, and Melissa Berry, director of Lehigh Senior Center, will launch a pilot program called "Our Community, Our Seniors, Our Water" in the months of May and June. This event will tie into World Environment Day, which is held on June 5.

The program will serve to promote water conservation awareness as well as the benefits of art therapy for seniors via a rain barrel painting contest.

"We have secured a sponsor/donor that has provided 20 barrels to the program and are working with the Junior ROTC who has volunteered to clean and prep the barrels on May 4 at our FGUA Booster Station, located at 925 Bolivia Drive in Lehigh," Donna Lizotte, community service representative on behalf of the FGUA, explained.

According to Lizotte, ROTC students have donated their time to help prepare the barrels to be worked on prior to the event.

"The barrels need to be washed, sanded and primed before they can be painted. Since this task can be challenging for some seniors, the local ROTC students will prep the barrels in advance of the barrel being painted. They will also affix the hardware that is needed transforming the barrels into actual rain barrels," Lizotte said.

The event begins the week of May 6 and runs to the May 10. Local seniors who have signed up for the program will each be issued a barrel as well as paint supplies.

"We are currently working to secure a paint supply sponsor. This year's theme is "Harvest the Rain Reap the Gain"," Lizotte said.

Each senior participating will be asked to write a short synopsis about the artwork they have chosen to paint. This provides an opportunity for the seniors to express themselves through the artwork they create.

"As people may be aware of, art therapy has proven to help seniors improve cognitive skills, provide intellectual stimulation, improved physical and motor skills. Additionally, this program will engage local seniors in a group event that offers social connection through a creative outlet," Lizotte said.

After completion, the barrels will be displayed at various locations throughout the community such as the local library, bank lobbies and sponsor business locations. The artwork will be judged at an awards luncheon on June 5.

"We will be selecting local leaders to assist with the judging during the event. The first place winner will receive $250, second place winner will receive $150 and third place winner will receive $100, along with prepared gift baskets for all seniors participating," Lizotte said.

The painted barrels will be auctions off online and all proceeds raised will go to help seniors struggling with water utility bills through a program administered by Lehigh Community Services as well as help to support the activities at the Lehigh Acres Senior Center.

Seniors wishing to participate in the program or businesses who would like to be a sponsor can contact:

Carolyn Peplow, Executive Director at Lehigh Community Services

201 Plaza Dr., Ste. 3, Lehigh Acres, FL 33936

Office: (239) 369-5818


Or Donna Lizotte, Community Service Representative on behalf of the FGUA

Office: (239) 368-1615, Ext. 1211


Signup sheets are available at the Lehigh Acres Senior Center. Registration for the event must be completed by Friday, May 3.

"The number of barrels is limited to 20 barrels this year. The artists can work alone or they can team up (limited to 3 members per team). The barrels and art supplies will be provided. We have sponsorship opportunities available and are also seeking in-kind donations from businesses interested in participating in this amazing event," Lizotte said.



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