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Cedar Rapids church program aims to support and uplift neighborhood

Published: Jan. 9, 2021 at 6:25 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Pastor Keeyon Carter and his wife Stephanie started the Wellington Heights Community Church in 2020. After a year full of unexpected surprises, they’re starting 2021 by launching the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Engagement program, with hopes of bringing their neighborhood together.

”We believe in building mutual, trusting relationships, which just takes the long, hard work of building those relationships. So, we’ll be doing street outreach and porch check-ins with families,” says Stephanie. The program is partnering with the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association.

They’re planning to spend the first year of the program getting families involved and gathering information. ”The best information comes from the people who live in the neighborhood. A lot of times, sometimes people from the outside try to help from the outside, but are leaving out the people in the neighborhood,” says Keeyon.

The program received a $40,000 SET grant for this year from the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation’s Safe, Equitable and Thriving Communities Fund. Those grants have a long-term goal of reducing poverty and crime, and building a safe community.

Stephanie says the funds will go towards helping families in crisis situations, community meals and events, saying ”We believe that real transformation happens at a grassroots level, getting your boots on the ground, getting to know people, doing the hard relational work of build.” And the Carter’s say they’re excited to start working to uplift and empower their neighborhood.

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