Changing Wellington Heights one brush, book at a time - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Changing Wellington Heights one brush, book at a time

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

A neighborhood in Iowa's second largest city is using paint and literacy to bring people closer together.

Wellington Heights in southeast Cedar Rapids has a history of crime, and neighbors want to change that, one brush and one book at a time.

"It's very colorful, I love colors," said 4th grader Haven Johnson. "So other children can have books to read and learn about."

Layer by layer, Haven along with other families add a new coat of paint, hoping to refurbish Wellington Heights.

A community that's no stranger to acts crime and violence.

Artists of all ages gathered at Johnson Elementary to paint bare wooden boxes into colorful Little Free Libraries.

"Kids in the neighborhood are painting these, they're going to be stewards of these and they're going to take care of it," said Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association vice president Jennifer Karma. "So when they see somebody that might be doing something to it, they're going to say, no I did that."

It's all part of the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association's goal to bring residents in this area closer together.

25 Little Free Libraries will be placed in front yards throughout the community to promote literacy, erasing the community's history of violence.

"Kids need to read and if you can get easy access to books it makes it even easier," said 5th grader Ivy Staab.

Organizers hope neighbors meet around the little libraries to talk about stories they've read.

"I think we're bringing something really positive into the neighborhood," said Karma.

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