Reno Works grads taking on new role as city ambassadors

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RENO, NV (KOLO) For Nan Barta, life was once a lot different.

“I had been homeless for ten years,” she said.

We first spoke with her back in 2017 when she was taking part in Reno Works , a 12-week joint workforce development program run by the City of Reno and Volunteers of America . It was that program that enabled her to turn her life around.

“I was an addict. I had my addictions and I couldn’t play by the rules because it would take me away from that pursuit,” Barta explained.

Roderick Hamilton wasn’t homeless for as long, but long enough for him to know it wasn’t for him.

“It’s a horrible taste in your mouth. Never knowing where your next meal is coming from or where to use the restroom,” Hamilton explained.

Following their graduations from Reno Works, Barta and Hamilton were hired by the Downtown Reno Partnership as city ambassadors.

"It’s a great way for them to get reintroduced into the workforce and really change the environment in downtown,” said Downtown Reno Partnership Executive Director Alex Stettinski.

Ambassadors patrol the downtown area to help create a cleaner, safer, and friendlier environment.

“Their value on being able to approach our vulnerable population on the street is invaluable,” said City Councilwoman Neoma Jardon, who helped start the Reno Works program.

“I like handling my own life,” said Barta. “It comes late to me in life. But not too late.”

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019