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A kind heart
by Andrea Tyrell
Dec 05, 2013 | 2211 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Katrina Stewart is a Sparks resident hoping to bring positive change to her community. She enjoys volunteer work and aspires to one day work in the medical field.
Katrina Stewart is a Sparks resident hoping to bring positive change to her community. She enjoys volunteer work and aspires to one day work in the medical field.
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In October, Katrina Stewart's Sparks home was broken into.

"Nothing was taken and nothing was damaged but it was an invasion of privacy," said Stewart.

She filed a police report and assumed it was kids who broke in.

"I wish that those kids just came up to me and asked for whatever they needed," sad Stewart. "If they needed money, I would have given them some. It's sad that some people have to live that way, breaking into other's homes. I try my best to help in any way I can."

Stewart grew up in Truckee, Calif. and moved to Sparks during her second year of college when she transferred to the University of Nevada, Reno from Sonoma State University in California.

"The science department at Sonoma wasn't that strong at the time," said Stewart. "UNR's science department was much better. The staff seemed more knowledgeable and they were always reliable. And I loved being closer to my family."

She was very involved in college, volunteering with such groups as Student Orientation Staff, Circle K, the Student Ambassadors campus tour guides and serving as a senator for the College of Health and Human Sciences in the Associated Students of the University of Nevada senate.

Stewart graduated in 2009 with a degree in nutrition and decided to move to California to see what other options were out there. She ventured around the coastline, living in San Francisco and San Diego, but moved back to Nevada this past summer.

"The economic downturn didn't help with anything," said Stewart. "I just couldn't find a place that I liked better than Nevada."

She began waitressing at two restaurants, one in Reno and the other in Incline Village, making the commute to Lake Tahoe every weekend.

"My mom needed help with bills. She supported me through college so I wanted to help her," said Stewart.

Stewart now works in the front desk at an optometrist's office in Reno. She is saving money for school and is trying to figure out her next path in life. She is exploring into masters programs in the medical field. She is interested in becoming a physical therapist or a physician's assistant.

"I was a Big in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program while I was in college," said Stewart. "I hope next year I have the time to get involved in that organization again. I had so much fun and loved making a difference in my Little's life. That's one of the reasons why I want to get in the medical field. I want to help change someone's life for the better."

Her home is located two blocks away from Sparks Middle School.

"That was so heartbreaking and devastating," said Stewart. "After that incident, you can't help but want to help, give your time to the students affected, try to help out the community in some way or another. I know that school is back in session and I'm sure the shooting is on the minds of every student there. I want to know how can people like me get involved in their healing."

She hopes that her neighborhood sees positive-change in the near future.

"Sparks has the opportunity to be great," said Stewart. "There is still some crime and rundown buildings but if people come together with good ideas, things can really turn around, especially in my neighborhood."

Stewart is a big fan of the quality shopping the Truckee Meadows has to offer, from its high-end retail chains to the smaller independent boutiques.

"I absolutely love Legends," said Stewart. "I can't choose a favorite store. I love BCBG, Adidas and the Banana Republic outlet. I love that you can run around the marina and then run right into Legends. You can jog and shop at the same location!"

Growing up in Truckee, Stewart says she was born with her skis on.

"I absolutely love skiing," said Stewart who explained that Northstar Resort is her favorite ski spot. "I'm so excited for the first snowfall of the season! I'm probably going to spend every weekend up on the slopes."

In the meanwhile, she is getting ready for her favorite holiday, Christmas. Stewart is spending her free time getting her home ready for entertaining. Her friendly spirit shines through her actions and she's full of warmth.

"I run into so many people — people from high school, from college. It's like having all these mini-reunions," said Stewart. "I love being here. I couldn't be anywhere else."

Favorites:

Movie: "Christmas Vacation"

Sparks restaurant: Peg's Glorified Ham and Eggs

Sparks event: the Best in the West Rib Cook-off

Book: "the Hunger Games"

Christmas song: "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" by Thurl Ravenscroft

Personal motto: "Try anything and everything at least once."
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