In our December, 2003 Berry, we told you about the Juniper Juniors who planted daffodils at Juniper Park, and who helped Councilman Dennis Gallagher perform a community-wide graffiti cleanup. And, we reported the youngsters’ most memorable accomplishment: participating in obtaining the old Elmhurst Gas Tank for conversion into a tree filled park.

For the Juniper Juniors, the life-long lesson they learned is that if you speak up for your needs – against all hope and powerful interests – you will be heard! These youngsters heard defeatist comments from so many adults, yet persisted and participated and contributed to a victory that will serve the entire community.

But the Juniper Juniors never rest! They keep contributing. They keep participating!
In January, at Architots, JoAnne Amagrande, Queens Chief of Staff, Parks and Recreation, was guest speaker at our meeting. JoAnne awarded Certificates of Appreciation to the seventeen members who planted daffodils in October and November last year. She then spent time with all members planning parks projects for the spring and summer. Soon you’ll be seeing the daffodils and the JJrs both beautifying Juniper Valley Park.

What a miserable winter this was! We had all that snow and ice on our sidewalks and walkways. Well, a number of Juniors went out to remove snow and ice for seniors. Since the snow fell on school days, we weren’t able to help all our senior neighbors who asked, but perhaps next year we’ll have the project better organized.

Now that we’re looking forward to more pleasant weather, our seniors can ask these youngsters over to help with lawn chores, some gardening and other help. I believe that this will be an opportunity for our youngsters and senior neighbors to discover that they can enjoy each other’s company.

Some of our senior neighbors may have received a Valentine’s Day card from a Juniper Junior, who created that card from scratch just to give a little cheer to some neighbors. Thank you Architots (on Dry Harbor Road) for allowing these twenty-seven youngsters to use your warm rooms on a bitter cold February evening. These Juniors hand made nearly fifty or more Valentine greeting cards. The Juniper Juniors want to continue this idea and send greetings on several occasions each year. If you would like to suggest seniors who should get a greeting write a note with their name and address to: Juniper Juniors, C/O Juniper Park Civic Association, Inc., P.O. Box 790275, Middle Village, NY 11379.

We try to teach our own kids to always say “Thank You” to those who help us. In that spirit, we must thank New York State Assembly Members Margaret (Marge) Markey and Michael Cohen who have both encouraged the Juniper Juniors and made generous contributions through grants. Thank you also to City Council Member Dennis Gallagher, who is with us so frequently, in so many of our meetings and activities, we think of him as a member! Police Officer Frank Vasquez of Borough Command, Queens North has helped us in nearly every graffiti cleanup and made sure we have the paint and supplies to keep going. Thank you, Frank!

Thank you too, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, for stepping up to the plate and rescuing Elmhurst, Middle Village and Maspeth from additional truck traffic and getting the park. Thank you all, who were actively involved in that effort.

Architots, the Creative Playspace For Children, has generously let the Juniper Juniors use its rooms without hesitation, so we have a meeting and activity place. Thank You, Architots!

There are so many people to thank. Thank you, parents of the Juniper Juniors. If you weren’t so involved, we’d be nothing. Thank you Bob Holden. Quietly, and behind the scenes, you’ve supported and encouraged this idea. Thanks also to Monsignor Nicholas Sivillo, Pastor of Our Lady of Hope Church, who has let the Juniper Juniors use the cafeteria for so many of our meetings. Thanks you Bauer’s Bake Shop for your many generous contributions of treats for the Juniors’ meetings.

So many have contributed to make the idea of the Juniper Juniors become successful. We thank you all. We appreciate all you’ve done.