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Know Your Neighbor: Wellington Heights Initiates New Program to Improve Neighborhood

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Leaders with the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association are revamping an old program to create a stronger community.

The Neighborhood Watch program has been around for years. At a brainstorming session a few months ago, the neighborhood association realized the block captains weren't being utilized very much. With that in mind, they're changing the program up a bit.

"We are calling it the 'Know Your Neighbor Program'," said Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association President Justin Wasson.

Travis Kolder is looking forward to what this new program will bring to the neighborhood. He hasn't lived at his house for very long, but he's already made it a home.

"I have literally lived here at this address for about three months, and I know just about everybody on this block already," said Wellington Heights Resident Travis Kolder.

The new initiative encourages more people to live like Travis. The neighborhood association is recruiting dozens of new block captains, one on each of the neighborhood's 84 blocks. Those captains will encourage people to get to know each other in their own way.

"We have had ideas thrown out like book clubs, basketball tournaments, neighborhood garage sales, gardening clubs, I mean you name it," Wasson said.

Four Oaks is even getting involved. Wellington Heights Initiative Program Director Dorice Ramsey said a strong community goes a long way.

"If we can make sure that the fiber and framework of the community are strong, then we are sending people, residents, children, adults who are in the community out - prepared for whatever is out there," Ramsey said.

People behind the new program want to make Wellington Heights the best neighborhood it can be. Despite an image often associated with crime, neighborhood leaders say simply getting to know your neighbor could be the key to a better future.

"You know, if we continue to have good things happen and the neighborhood pulls together, there's really a lot of hope for this neighborhood," Kolder said.

Organizers hope this eventually leads to more people looking to make Wellington Heights a home.

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