Members of the group, paintbrush in hand, were on 248th Street and Union Turnpike April 11 painting over the graffiti-strewn gates of Jerrys Artarama and the Milan Restaurant as well as...
By Adam Kramer
The 105th Precinct Law Explorers Club was at it again last week.
Members of the group, paintbrush in hand, were on 248th Street and Union Turnpike April 11 painting over the graffiti-strewn gates of Jerrys Artarama and the Milan Restaurant as well as the other neighborhood businesses.
The North Bellerose Civic Association asked the Explorers to help paint over the graffiti because it had run out of paint and had seen the Explorers cover over graffiti on the other side of Union Turnpike in Glen Oaks in August.
The 105th Precinct Law Explorers is a group of teens who spend time with the 105th Precinct to learn about the law as they document and participate in service projects for their school.
Graffiti is pretty bad in the neighborhood, said Bruno DeFranceschi, president of the North Bellerose Civic Association. The kids come straight down from Lakeville Road to 149th Street in the early morning or late at night. This graffiti was mainly local kids scribbling and the police are looking into it.
He said his civic association painted over gates three times last month, but usually they have to get rid of the scrawls every four or five months.
It is a blight in the community, said DeFranceschi, whose civic association covers the area from the Little Neck Turnpike to Commonwealth Boulevard and from Union Turnpike to Hillside Avenue.
Nathaniel Dash, 20, from Queens Village, one of the Explorers covered in silver paint, said working with the youth group got him involved with the Police Department. Dash, who has been with the Explorers for the past seven years, said the group allowed the community to see that there are kids who actually do good things, not just run around causing trouble.
We are all volunteers. We dont even get food money, said Medgine Sanon, 15, of Queens Village whose sisters Tatiana, 14, and Ashley, 11, were painting over the wall scrawls. Covering over graffiti helps people out in the community. I was kind of skeptical in the beginning, but you can have fun.
Officer Shirley Kirkland said the Explorers have been around for more then 15 years and the members work to improve their communities through neighborhood cleanups and graffiti removal. She said some of the youths also work in the precinct.
I find the program motivates the kids, she said They get to know the officers and see them as people who are part of their community, not just enforcers.
She said the group also helps its members obtain scholarships for college, study for the SATs and Regent exams, and reinforce the importance of education.
The Explorers meet every Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the 105th Precinct at 92-08 222nd St. in Queens Village. For more information call Youth Officer Shirley Kirkland at 776-9164.
Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.
©2001 Community News Group
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