WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — The Scovill Homes, once built to provide housing for families of employees who worked in the cities old brass factories, is now an area of decay.
One glance down Ives Street and you’ll see it — trash by the sidewalks, boarded up windows, some buildings with holes where windows used to be and rickety, rusted fences.
This isn’t the same place Janice Lovett moved into nearly 30 years ago.
“It just disgusts me,” she said.
But, teenagers with a youth social change group called, “Uplifting a Life” will be out there Monday-Thursday doing their part to try to bring her neighborhood back to its original glory. They’re repainting porches, picking up garbage and helping with repairs to some of the homes.
They said it’s their way to join the movement for social justice and change in Waterbury by taking the protests from the streets to the neighborhoods.
That fight includes paint brushes, garbage bags and big hearts.
“Because this area [which mostly consists of people of color] has been neglected for a long time,” said Erika Cooper, head of Uplifting A Life. “We’re saying to our elected officials that we need the help. But, as minorities, we’re not asking for handouts because we’re out here ourselves.”
“It warms my heart to help people,” said 14 year-old volunteer, Kiyarah Watson.
“These houses that are like this, I want to make them better for the people who live here,” said Esther, another young volunteer.
So far, they’ve helped to fix up 15 houses. They’re in the neighborhood doing their volunteer work Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, “the Art of Yum” — a black-owned restaurant in downtown Waterbury — donated free lunch to the kids.
Watson said ordinary Waterbury residents have dropped by supplies — like paintbrushes — to keep going. Cooper also said donations have come from some Waterbury aldermen and from people from some neighboring towns, as well.
Cooper said they need donations to keep coming in. They don’t get any grant money for their work — work that Janice told News 8 is priceless.
“I think it’s a beautiful thing they’re doing,” she said. “Somebody really cares about us.”