Eric Yang and his mother recently volunteered for the first time at the Arirang Festival of Orange County in Buena Park to help educate the Korean-American community about electrical safety.
“It’s been really fun,” said Eric, a sophomore at Northwood High School. “I learned a lot about safety and how it makes a difference in the community to hear the information in Korean.”
The Yangs were encouraged to volunteer by the nonprofit Korean Community Services, one of several groups collaborating with Southern California Edison (SCE) to engage residents and businesses in cities with large Asian-American populations with helpful safety and emergency preparedness information in various languages.
As part of this “Powerful City” campaign, SCE sponsored the 31st Arirang Festival, the largest annual Korean cultural festival in Orange County. The event was held in Buena Park, a city that has more than 9,000 people of Korean ethnicity, or about 11 percent of the city's population, according to recent U.S. Census data.
"The City of Buena Park is committed to safety, especially around electricity, and we're very pleased to partner with Southern California Edison, Korean Community Services, the Korean Chamber and the Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance to promote safety in the city,” said Mayor Steve Berry, whose city of Buena Park was presented with a “Powerful City” certificate from SCE.
For Peter Kim, SCE senior project manager, the Arirang Festival was a day of service and a chance to bond with the family. He spent the day volunteering at the SCE electrical safety booth while enjoying the festivities with his wife and 3-year-old son afterward.
“Many people think that they can’t volunteer on the weekends because of family obligations, but events like this festival are opportunities to volunteer, eat some great food and learn about the community with your family,” said Kim.
More than 950 residents signed a pledge to be safe around electricity during the three-day Arirang Festival. Safety tips included staying away from downed power lines and calling 911, keeping electric cords in good order and ensuring trees do not grow into overhead power lines.
This year, SCE has brought its safety message to Buena Park and neighboring areas at events like Super Senior Saturday, Asian Business Expo and Little Saigon TV’s Moon Lantern Festival. Additional events this year will include outreach to seniors and children through informational sessions and library story time with SCE linemen.
“The most important message we want to share is safety around electricity,” said Eddie Marquez, SCE Local Public Affairs region manager. “If you see a downed power line, stay away and call 911. When in doubt, call SCE at 1-800-611-1911. We are available 24/7.”
Kim helped to found SCE’s Korean employee resource group KAUSE (Korean Americans United for Service & Education) with fellow colleagues five years ago. He first reached out to the Korean Community Services a couple of years ago and was happy to collaborate with the nonprofit at the recent Arirang Festival.
The Korean Community Services’ booth was next to SCE during the festival and the nonprofit helped provide free counseling and health checkups. Founded in 1975, they currently serve about 3,000 clients providing free mental health, public health, community and immigration services.
“It’s been a great collaboration with SCE to educate the Korean-American community about the importance of safety around electricity,” said Kwang Ho Kim, Korean Community Services managing director. “It provides us a chance to get to know KAUSE and its members better, and we hope to continue our relationship with SCE to reach the community.”