HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The City of Hartford is breathing new life into some of its neighborhoods. It’s launching the Ambassador Program, which employs formerly incarcerated people re-entering the workforce.
On Albany Avenue, there is no longer litter or trash. It has all been picked up and the street has even been swept clean all because of the new ambassador program.
“What we do is we clean up the neighborhood street by street,” said Dan Kish, Hartford Ambassador.
Armed with brooms, trash bags, and self-confidence, they’re making Hartford a better place.
“We are an organization that gives people who are incarcerated and addicted to drugs and alcohol and more recently in recovery, and also who suffer from homelessness, we basically give everybody another chance at having a job,” Kish said.
“I was homeless and I ended up getting in this program. I have been clean six months now. They’ve got me working,” said Jason Rabenold, an ambassador.
“We take second-chance hiring really seriously, so this is an opportunity to create a program that creates that second chance for some of our residents. It creates a second chance at job opportunities and it benefits our entire city,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.
The ambassadors are assigned different streets on different days and they clean thoroughly from curb to sidewalk to storefront, investing in the neighborhood and themselves.
“I feel good about myself. I’ve been in a bad place. I felt hopeless and it was not good, but it makes me feel like I’m really contributing, doing something,” Rabenold said.
Bronin says they’re going to continue to grow this program. Right now, they have 11 different neighborhoods they are cleaning. They want to add more people, more streets, and keep it clean while they’re having others get back on their feet.