People who were once homeless on the streets are now working and welcoming visitors to the city.

The Downtown Ambassador program started in Schenectady in 2009. City Mission partnered with Proctors to offer a hospitality service to visitors coming downtown to enjoy a show. The role of an Ambassador is to welcome people and provide help in crossing the street, directions, parking, and restaurant recommendations. Most importantly, they smile, laugh and make visitors feel welcome and safe coming into the city.

Over the past 7 years, the program has grown. More and more businesses in downtown Schenectady requested the presence of Ambassadors to welcome their customers! Recently, Albany started its own version of the Ambassador program to welcome visitors to their downtown area.

It’s an opportunity for men and women to enter the workforce by working as an Ambassador, gain valuable experience and begin their journey to sustainability. Not only does the program impact the lives of the Ambassadors, it also touches the lives of their families. One Ambassador shared, “Now my kids can look up to me and see their dad is working and doing the right thing, so it’s important.”

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Learn more about the Ambassador Program

Watch WTEN’s full feature story on the Ambassador program