London Community News
By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
It might be a hot summer ahead for Jenny Hamilton and her team, but she is committed to help making London streets a lot more graffiti free.
Hamilton, 25, is the supervisor for Neighbourhood Watch London’s Go Graffiti Go team, a group of four young people who will be scouring the city this summer with scrub brushes in hand to clean up graffiti and other tags wherever they can find them. Neighbourhood Watch kicked off this year’s program on Thursday (July 12), with a clean up on the side of A Village Tail, a business located in Wortley Village.
Hamilton, along with Aaron Galloway, 16; Ashlynn Kruppa, 16; and Marissa Finch, 17; will work five days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the graffiti removal — except for exceptionally hot summer days. But whenever they are out, Hamilton said they will be working hard to clean up London streets.
“I am looking forward to it, I am actually loving it. It’s pretty hot, but other than that I am loving it,” Hamilton said. “Why wouldn’t you want to clean up the city, make it look like a better place? For a lot of people, graffiti equals danger or tagging means gang related, so it totally makes sense to clean up the city.”
As supervisor, Hamilton will be responsible for driving the team around the city from site to site, either scrubbing off the graffiti or painting it over. “I am their supervisor; I am here to give them their jobs, lead by example, so I am working as well. Basically, I’m here to inspire them and make sure they are having a fun and have a great summer.”
The team will clean up graffiti wherever it is found, both on public and private property. If it is on private property, they team will get a signed waiver for them to continue. In the case of stop signs, any one that is tagged will be reported to the city for replacement.
The environmentally friendly cleaning product the team uses, Hamilton said, will clean up a lot of graffiti. However, if that particular tag has been in place for a long period of time, it is possible some traces will remain.
Should the team be unable to remove the graffiti, they will paint over it. But as with the scrubbing, the painting over of the offending tag is free to those who call on the team’s services.
“We will try our best to spray and scrub it. I don’t like to paint, sometimes it doesn’t look as good. But then, sometimes, it is our only option,” Hamilton said. “The paint we get for free. We go to the city landfill and they give the paint to us for free. We haven’t had to paint too many so far, but I am sure we will.”
Hope Clark, executive director Neighbourhood Watch London, said she was thrilled to have the team back in place even after the city removed funding for the program during last year’s budget deliberations. With last year’s team having cleaned up 1,200 sites, Clark said it is clear how important the work of the Go Graffiti Go team is.
For Hamilton, it is a challenge to do more.
“As soon as Hope told me about that number, I wanted to slam it. I am a very competitive person. As soon as she said that, I knew I wanted to beat that, get 1,300 or even more, 1,500,” Hamilton said. “I just want to make the city clean and beat that number. At the rate we are going, we shouldn’t have a problem with that. There is a lot of graffiti to clean up.”
Anyone interested in contracting the team can call the graffiti hotline at 519-661-2500 ext 5510 or contact Neighbourhood Watch by email at email@example.com.
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