Red jackets signal hospitality
Ambassadors program got its start around Proctors; now replicated near Albany and Saratoga theatres
If you spend any time in downtown Schenectady, you will come across kind folks in distinctive red jackets. They’ll be waving flashlights, helping you to cross streets safely, suggesting parking and dining options, opening doors … They are Ambassadors.
The Downtown Ambassadors, recruited, trained and managed by The City Mission of Schenectady, have been greeting visitors around the Proctors block since September 2008. The program, which was developed in collaboration with the mayor’s office, the 3rd Way Committee, Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority, Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation and Proctors, has proven successful not only in helping patrons navigate State Street and its environs, but in bolstering the confidence of its members,many of whom have gone on to full-time employment.
The Ambassadors program currently operates with generous support from MVP Health Care, and provides valuable job training and skills development to its members. The most valuable impact, however, is the exchange of warm greetings and a pleasant smile. In the words of one Ambassador: “Imagine a job where, on every shift, a couple of hundred people say ‘thank you.’ That’s what happens.”
“The Ambassadors program has helped promote revitalization in downtown Schenectady and in people’s lives,” said City Mission Executive Director/CEO Michael Saccocio at a press conference in 2015.
The program has also recently been initiated, very successfully, in both Schenectady and Saratoga Springs, focused around Capital Repertory Theatre and Universal Preservation Hall.