Despite the rain, the heat and the humidity, despite short notice, vacations, camping trips, family events, or ball games, the Juniper Juniors keep responding to calls for one more graffiti cleanup.

Even the 2, 3 and 4 year olds were out there painting right alongside the older kids who ranged up to 16-years old. And, many of the moms were there too, painting or getting the rollers, brushes and whatever else the kids needed.

You can see the improvements. Look at the stores at Eliot Avenue and 85th Street; or the deli at Metropolitan and 71st Street. The JJrs painted the garages along Juniper Valley Road from 78th Street down to 74th Street.

Just recently, on one of the most wretched summer days, 21 kids painted over the graffiti at the LIRR underpass on 57th Avenue and 85th Street in Elmhurst.

Since we didn’t have enough brushes or rollers for the underpass cleanup, these great kids shared that equipment so everyone had a chance to participate, and, while waiting their turn, many kids put on plastic gloves, dipped their hands into the paint, and covered the graffiti with their hands. These kids just won’t give up!

Juniper Junior families have removed graffiti from the eyesores in their own neighborhood – painting mailboxes, light posts, and other graffiti on their block. No fanfare; no fuss. They have just adopted their block and take care of it. And the kids always want to know when the next cleanup is scheduled!

You can help them on that. You be the graffiti spotters. Report any graffiti by email to JUNIPERC@AOL.COM or write a note, mailing it to Juniper Park Civic Association, Inc., PO Box 790275, Middle Village NY 11379. Give us the address of the damaged location, whether it is commercial or private, and the material that was graffitied – brick, stone, wood, etc. – plus contact information – if you have it – so we can arrange permission to perform a cleanup.

Do you have any suggestions on projects aside from graffiti cleanups that the JJrs can handle? Do you have kids who would want to be part of this? Do you know other families whose kids may want to join? Email or write to the same address as above.

Would you like to address these youngsters at one of their regular meetings? Or, do you know someone who would like to volunteer?

At the August 21 meeting, John Walter, the Middle Village Historian and Genealogist spoke to the kids about Middle Village history. The kids enjoyed the talk because it was about their own neighborhood – streets where they walk. Mr. Walter will return to the September 18th meeting at OLH to continue and see how the youngsters fared on their General Slocum disaster research. You may just want to visit to learn about this aspect of Middle Village and see how bright these kids are.

City Council Member Dennis Gallagher not only kicked off our first meeting, he joined them in several cleanups. He rolled up his sleeves and painted. Then he went out and delivered the snacks and refreshments. State Assembly Member Michael Cohen spoke to the members about the business of the legislature and law making. Police Officer Frank Vazquez, who has supplied the equipment and joined the kids with the cleaning, also visited a meeting to talk about the reasons why graffiti was so awful and taught the kids what happens to the vandals when they are caught.

We look for and welcome adults who would like to talk to the kids about the community and civic responsibility. How does a youngster open a bank account? How does a youngster get a part time job? How should a young boy or girl prepare for college or the working world? We all have a special knowledge or ability that should be passed on to youngsters. You are welcome to share with them.

Perhaps you would like to contribute material the kids need for graffiti removal. We are flat out of paint, brushes, rollers, extension sticks and much more. Again, contact us at the above addresses.

But, if you want to know for sure that there are, indeed, decent, bright, well behaved and community minded youngsters among us, drop by for any of the meetings, or, join us for an activity. You will leave with the certain knowledge that our future is in good hands.