Monique Francis, a single mother of four from Miramar, has been named the winner of the Broward Mega Money-Saving, Record-breaking, Wild Water Switcheroo Contest. The prize includes a new refrigerator, a washer/dryer, a dishwasher, an irrigation system and water-conserving plumbing fixtures for the kitchen and bath.
An initiative of the Broward Water Partnership, a collaboration of 18 local governments and water utilities, the program educates, engages and supports water-conservation efforts. BrandsMart USA, Outfront Media, Miami Herald Broward, Water Optimizer, CBS4, Cox Radio Easy95 and Hot105 sponsored the challenge.
Brief written essays were submitted on why the applicant’s home should be selected. The applicants were given various options to deliver their message. These ranged from poems, rap songs and posters, to social media, website construction and video presentations. More than 250 entries were reviewed. The top finalists were Jim Barber of Plantation (website: savebrowardwater.com); the deBlasio family of Davie (poster); Mercedes Eques of Pembroke Pines (PowerPoint presentation); Leckie Scott of Coral Springs (poem); Michael and Lisette Ruiz of Davie (rap song); Maria Hernandez of Sunrise (flier); and Jennifer Jhon of Fort Lauderdale (video #golowflow on YouTube).
The day she learned the good news, Francis woke up to see a puddle of water under her 18-year-old refrigerator. “Hearing that I won was a godsend. You never believe you’ll win something like this. It couldn’t have happened at a better time,” she said. “I’m thrilled; it’s like receiving two income checks in the same year — a true blessing.”
A teacher at Jan Mann Opportunity School in Miami, Francis used filling out her application as a teaching moment. “The kids saw me filling out the form, and it piqued their interest,” she said. “They started asking questions about what I did to conserve water. Their interest thrilled me.”
Next year, Francis will track her water and energy savings, so the Broward Water Partnership can document savings made possible through her specific conservation methods. “There have been so many advances in technology that I can’t wait to see my appliances,” she said. They are due to be delivered and installed on June 11.
Editor’s Note: Runner-up Jennifer Jhon is editor of South Florida Parenting magazine, which, along with The Gazette, is published by Forum Publishing Group.
Monique Francis: (From her winning poem) “Changing minds and attitudes, omitting all the waste; now-a-days we must conserve to save the human race. Valuing our water will secure our planet’s fate, ensuring that we all survive to see another day.”
Jim Barber: “We followed good conservation practices before it was fashionable. We practiced recycling, and it became a habit to run the dishwasher only when there’s was a full load. The lawn and plants aren’t watered until there’s insufficient rain.”
Leckie Scott: “My daughters have contests to see who can use the least amount of water when doing dishes, and we make a game out of being environmentally friendly at home. Their poem said: ‘Join me in making better choices. Together the world will hear our voices.'”
Mercedes Eques: “Living on a busy corner where there are potentially thousands of cars traveling the road each day, it’s a captive audience at the stop light. I would put up strategically placed signs to encourage water conservation and have ‘Conservation Starts With Me’ T-shirts, water bottles and yard signs.”
DeBlasio Family: Their poster was titled “A Shorter Flush Enables a Water Drinking Lush” and contained a collage of photos. The basic message was that taking shorter showers and turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth can add up to big savings — and conserve water.
Maria Hernandez: “I wash clothes in cold water and don’t let the water run continuously when brushing my teeth. Water is critical to ensure our present needs, and to ensure resources of generations to come.”
Ruiz Family: “Reducing water usage and not polluting our current water systems through education is vital for future generations. Stop wasting money on water you don’t use; let’s make the changes to make sure we don’t lose.”
Jennifer Jhon: “I buy organic, turn off lights, reduce and re-use and recycle. We can save by turning off the tap when brushing teeth, taking shorter showers, making sure the clothes washer and dishwasher are full before running them.”
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