Bronx Community Solutions

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

BCS Celebrates Earth Day by Impacting Communities, Not Just Removing Graffiti




"I have been living here for 20 years, and I have never seen anyone cleaning this street” and ... “Wow! I thought I was on the wrong block.” Those were the sentiments of Bronx residents when they saw a team of community residents, court defendants, and community affairs officers painting over graffiti in their neighborhood.

BCS, along with the 46th precinct community affairs unit, cleared four blocks of graffiti today between 183 and 187 Street and Ryer Avenue. This project had a more lasting impact however than just newly painted buildings - it worked towards restoring faith in the criminal justice system, provided an opportunity for offenders who commit quality-of-life crimes to have a positive impact, and engaged community members to make long-lasting positive change.

The community service crew consisted of misdemeanor offenders assigned to do to community service. This innovative approach to court-ordered community service results in projects that are meaningful for both offenders and the communities they serve.

Members of the clean-up crew were also visibly pleased with the transformation of the street and the positive impact on the community. Some asked to be part of future clean up projects, for which we provided referrals. The desire and commitment to continue to work on community improvements is an excellent outcome of court ordered community service mandates, as it proves that some misdemeanor offenders would be willing to spend their time improving communities if given the opportunity.

There was the occasional “nay-sayer,” sure that the graffiti artists would be back, tagging by that evening. Bronx Community Solutions is committed to long-term improvements in communities and have engaged local community members from Community Board 5 to monitor the area and contact us if additional cleaning is necessary.

This on-going commitment was a delight to a local business owner who stated “The community needs it.”

1 comment:

Benjamin Smith, Intake Coordinator said...

Thanks for the great post Mandy. You really describe what I think is so valuable about the BCS approach to community service (and it show what good work you guys are doing!).