Aimed at reaching the largest potential demographic of graffiti vandals, 12 area schools participated in the poster competition, with student’s drawing pictures illustrating the blight the urban scrawling wreaks on communities.
A ceremony honoring the children took place at the Commerce Bank branch located at Randall and E. Tremont avenues on Friday, April 13. It is the second year in the row the bank has opened its doors to the children who won the competition, treating them to refreshments and snacks.
Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto were on hand to distribute certificates and Best Buy gift cards to the winners.
“You kids are getting the message that graffiti is not cool,” Senator Klein told the schoolchildren.
The idea for the poster competition came out of a TNCAP monthly meeting two years ago where graffiti was identified as a major concern the organization, and its parent, the Archdiocese of New York’s Drug Abuse Prevention Program, wanted to address.
“As a collective, we decided to work with schools and students to send a message that we want to keep Throggs Neck graffiti free because it hurts the community,” stated Janet Bliss, of TNCAP.
As part of the program, the children received a series of different lessons from their teachers about the hazards graffiti pose to neighborhoods before embarking on the process of putting crayon, marker, and pencil to paper.
“We teach the kids about graffiti and about how it hurts the community through the posters, and then we ask the businesses in the area to display them,” Bliss continued.
Assemblyman Benedetto, an educator for many years in Pelham Bay and Co-op City, said that the program run by TNCAP is helpful for the kids.
“I think this is a wonderful thing where we have an educational curriculum based project making young people more aware about how their community can be a better place to live,” Benedetto stated. “Hopefully, it will translate into young people being all around better citizens.”