The Juniper Juniors once again contributed their skill and energy in early June when Council Member Dennis Gallagher asked for volunteers for his district-wide graffiti cleanup.

Thanks to JPCA Civic member Michael Fordunski, a Maspeth resident who supplied the paint, brushes, rollers etc., the Juniors were able to get started on the more than 20 vandalized locations in his neighborhood. We need to also thank O’Neill’s Restaurant in Maspeth on 53rd Drive for their donation of $100 to several of the young men who were painting a silver light post. The O’Neill’s gentleman jumped from his car to give the money to Anthony Zampelli, Dylan O’Hehir, and Paul Klotkowski, all three who have been Juniper Juniors from its beginning.

In August, the Juniors were cleaning up after graffiti vandals again. The Metro Deli on 71st And Metropolitan Avenue was vandalized for the fourth time. Along came the Juniper Juniors to paint over the graffiti for the fourth time. Once that cleanup was complete, the youngsters divided into two groups: one group went down to Juniper Valley Road to paint over graffiti on garage doors, mailboxes and crossing control boxes. These youngsters removed graffiti from over eleven vandalized locations. The second group traveled over to 86th Street to paint over graffiti on the newly installed security fence that stretched from Eliot Avenue up to 60th Avenue – a three-block long fence, plus the footbridge over the LIRR, starting at 60th Road.

Both groups of youngsters contributed greatly to this community. P&C Bagels on 79th and Metropolitan Avenue (also on 82nd and Eliot Avenue) rewarded the Juniors for their efforts by donating 3-dozen delicious bagels. Thank you, P&C, and also Tara Krebs for contributing the cream cheese, butter and napkins.

The Long Island Railroad office of Government and Community Affairs generously contributed many gallons of paint plus roller handles, rollers, and extension poles. Too often, we are so ready to experience “the bureaucracy,” as I was in first contacting this office. These folks were immediately responsive. They understood our request for permission to remove graffiti in exchange for the supplies to do so. Permission was promptly given and supplies were made available. Thank you, LIRR!

Our own Community Board 5 supplied the paint to use on the Metro Deli. Thank you Gary Giordano and Mike Volpe for your immediate generosity. Gary and Mike have been supporters of the Juniper Juniors in the past. We’ll be back!

Bob Monahan, President of the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council, made many gallons of paint plus supplies available to us through Police Officer Jackie Winter, the 104th Precinct’s Graffiti Officer. Thank you! Bob. We will be able to perform more cleanups, thanks to your contribution.

Finally, the Juniper Juniors want to acknowledge Officer Jackie Winter, who has joined us on three different cleanups, including twice at the Metro Deli and recently at the LIRR Fence and Footbridge cleanup. Officer Winter painted alongside the Juniors and was happy to answer their many questions as to why the vandals are so destructive and why their markings are so ugly and illiterate. The Juniors wanted to know if one cleanup would be all that’s needed to eliminate graffiti, and Officer Winter replied, sadly, that we’d be repeating these same cleanups quite often.

Officer Winter has removed graffiti from locations frequently just by herself. We informed her that she could contact us to give the Juniors an opportunity to help in additional cleanups. Officer Winter, as the precinct’s graffiti officer, has performed surveillance on a location following a cleanup. So far, the officers in the precinct have made a number of arrests. Congratulations to all officers involved in the anti-graffiti effort.

Dear reader: you can see from this column that many people are involved in our “War on Graffiti”. The youngsters in the Juniper Juniors contribute so much of their time and energy to so many cleanups, and rightfully take pride in their accomplishments. We should rightfully take pride in these youngsters. They are our future. But, as you can also see from the article, we rely heavily on the contributions of the adults in the community. So, whatever you can do to keep this organization supplied, we appreciate. If you cannot make a contribution, then please at least support those who have supported the Juniper Juniors’ civic activities.