How Grand Rapids and Detroit Ambassadors Make A Tremendous Impact Everyday
Our Grand Rapids and Detroit Ambassadors recently received a feature in Michigan blog, A Healthier Michigan, which included an interview with Grand Rapids operations manager, Melvin Eledge. Julie Bitely, of A Healthier Michigan writes:
“They don’t wear capes, but ambassadors working the downtowns of Grand Rapids and Detroit sure know how to save the day.
Whether providing directions to lost visitors or changing a flat tire, their job is to ensure a warm and hospitable encounter for everyone they meet.
‘We get to be superheroes for the day,’ said Melvin Eledge, operations manager for the Grand Rapids program, which started in Sept. 2013. ‘We get to turn people’s bad days into much better days.’
The ambassadors who work in downtown Grand Rapids and in midtown and downtown Detroit are part of Block by Block, an organization which has implemented ambassador programs in over 70 cities in the United States. The Grand Rapids and Detroit programs are the only two in Michigan so far, working closely with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and the Downtown Detroit Partnership, respectively.”
Bitely continues, “Ambassadors make their rounds during a typical shift, working to help with clean-up activities, graffiti removal and general Midwest friendliness. They guide out-of-towners to their destinations and answer questions about downtown events. They’ll help people in need of a car battery jump or tire change and even scrape car windows in the winter.
In addition to making downtowns friendlier, ambassadors also serve as an extra set of eyes and ears for police. They’ve been trained in CPR and first-aid, and can also help make connections to services for the homeless men and women they meet during their rounds.
‘There’s not much we don’t do,’ Eledge said.”
Photo courtesy of A Healthier Michigan.