The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Kew Gardens Teacher Looks to Get Teens Involved With New Service Program

QUEENS — A new Kew Gardens initiative is seeking to get local teens more involved in their community, by funding mural-painting and park cleaning projects, program organizers said.

The teens would volunteer to do the work in order to satisfy high school community service requirements.

“I would love for teenagers to be a part of the program and to really get them involved in the community in a positive way,” said Cheril Alexander, who recently initiated the Kew Gardens Youth Empowerment Program, for teens aged 14 to 19.

"Teens are very creative, but there are not many programs that would inspire them to get involved in the community."

Alexander, a high school teacher who has lived in Kew Gardens for 30 years, said there are plenty of things in the area that teens could do.

One project would be to paint a mural on the LIRR overpass to try to prevent graffiti. “Teens will also design the mural,” said Alexander. The Home Depot already donated paints for the project, she said.

Alexander, who has organized the project with the aid of various local organizations, including the Kew Gardens Civic Association, said the teens would also help during neighborhood events.

They would help to maintain Kew Gardens Cinemas Park, which is used for community events, and entertain the elderly at a local senior citizens home.

The teens, Alexander said, would also work with the 102nd Precinct in organizing an anti-bullying campaign.

“They will also get community service hours and they need that for school,” Alexander said. The program would develop their leadership skills and would enhance their college applications or work resumes, she said.

“It will give them support, and make them feel empowered so that they know that they can make a change,” she said.

The next meeting is scheduled to take place on March 19 in the conference room at the Roger Williams Building at 83-33 Austin St. in Kew Gardens. For more information: kewgardensyouth@gmail.com.