Jan Dapitan, one of Maui’s historic community leaders in the anti-litter movement, was presented with the 2015 Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson Award at Keep America Beautiful’s National Conference in Orlando, Florida. The award is Keep America Beautiful’s top volunteer accolade, and was created in honor of the former First Lady’s contribution to engaging the nation in recognizing that aesthetic beauty is directly related to healthier communities, a cleaner environment, and a better quality of life.
“Jan Dapitan has dedicated over 30 years to addressing conservation issues in Hawaii, the majority of which has been in partnership with Keep America Beautiful,” said Keep America Beautiful President and CEO Jennifer Jehn. “Even in retirement, Jan serves as inspiration and resource for all the local and statewide organizations she has touched.”
Dapitan has spent the majority of her life serving the public. She has taught at Kamehameha Schools, University of Hawaii at Manoa and Baldwin High School. She also has directed the Maui County Parks & Recreation Department.
During her time with the County, Dapitan developed innovative volunteer programs such as Adopt-a-Park and other environmental awareness efforts that identified her to then-Health Department Administrator Les Ihara as the person on Maui to become a founding board member of the Department of Health, Office of Litter Control’s new initiative called “Community Work Day Program” (CWD).
Dapitan became the Hawai‘i State Leader for KAB in 1997, transferring CWD’s headquarters to Maui after the Office of Litter Control closed in 1996. Dapitan continued to coordinate anti-litter projects and provide training support for the growing KAB affiliate network statewide, while also running litter prevention, recycling, and beautification projects locally.
Dapitan helped establish a culture of volunteerism in Maui County, maintaining a volunteer registry of 5,000 strong. “One of Jan’s most significant strengths lies in the way she has brought people together from all walks of life whether they are students, government employees, athletes, farmers, or businessmen and women,” said Lehn Huff of Maui School Garden Network and Malama Maui Nui Board Co-President. “Jan unites them into a common purpose that serves the soul as well as the land.”
Among Dapitan’s greatest achievements to date was spearheading the establishment of Hawaii’s Environmental Court–only the second of its kind in the U.S.
Photo courtesy of Keep America Beautiful