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David Williams: Finding His Way and Paying it Forward


GROWING BOLDERGeorge Diaz

David Williams bought a 2012 Chevy last November. It’s a comfortable ride, but his preferred method of transportation is a bicycle.

He rides with a purpose along downtown Orlando, looking for lost and lonely souls down on their luck. He knows them well. He was one of them once upon a time.

There are second chances in life that come at you unexpectedly. Williams might still be walking the streets of Orlando, homeless, without much purpose, had there not been some fortuitous connections along the way.

But those second chances also require active participation and a willingness to overcome. Williams is now a walking billboard for the power of perseverance in his role as a “Downtown Ambassador” for the City of Orlando.

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Downtown Ambassadors hit the streets in Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership launches Ambassador ProgramKALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — If you’re visiting downtown Kalamazoo, you’ll notice a new team keeping things clean and ready to help you out.

The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership launched its Downtown Ambassador program Monday.

The five ambassadors will do things like empty trash cans, sweep sidewalks and shovel snow. The full-time positions are part of a workforce development program that will provide opportunities for advancement. Their first project is a two-week push to clear leaves from streets and clean up graffiti. Moving forward, they’ll also do things like give visitors directions.

You’ll see them in blue and gray uniforms on foot, bicycles and in marked cars. They’ll be on duty as early as 7 a.m. all week and may be out until 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Andrew Haan, the president of the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership, says the ambassadors can help improve the experience of visiting the area.

“It’s brand new and fresh. We’re really excited about it and feel like the downtown community is really going to notice a big difference,” Haan said.

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Virginia Beach rolls out new Resort-Area Ambassador program

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Starting April 1, you’ll see a team of people in yellow shirts at the Oceanfront. They are part of the city of Virginia Beach’s new Resort-Area Ambassador Program, rolling out just before the summer season kicks off.

Their sole mission is to make your experience better.

The program currently has about 30 ambassadors that will patrol all 40 blocks of Atlantic Avenue, stretching from Pacific Avenue to the bike path. The crews will hyper-focus on the central resort area, from 15th to 25th.

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Here’s why we love our Downtown Ambassadors, our Daytonians of the Week

From left to right: Andrea McFarland, Muhmud Habeeb Shafeek, Janice Douds and Terry Williams are the four most senior Downtown Dayton Ambassadors.

Known to occasionally drop a quarter in a parking meter when the red light starts to blink, the Downtown Dayton Ambassadors are some of the most friendly faces in the Gem City.

The Downtown Dayton Ambassador Program, often just called “The Ambassadors,” actually traces its roots back to Brantley Security Services, an event management and private security services company that dates to 1930. Through many changes over the decades, the company, today called Block By Block Inc., began serving its first downtown district, Louisville Downtown Partnership, in 1995.

In 2005, Block By Block started its Downtown Dayton program.

“The program has gone through changes over the 15 to 16 years to grow from a main focus of cleaning and engaging with the public, to now include working with the Dayton Police and Dayton Social Service Agencies in their outreach efforts,” said Tina McKenna-Gilley, operations manager of the Ambassadors.

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