If you’re walking around Webster Street during the evening this holiday season, don’t be surprised to see a neighborhood “Ambassador” stopping to assist pedestrians, give directions, walk someone to their car, or simply be helpful in any way they can.
The new Webster Street Ambassadors have been hired by the West Alameda Business Association (WABA) to make life a little easier for all of us, Thursdays through Sundays, 5 to 9 p.m., until December 31.
WABA contracted with the nonprofit Peralta Service Corporation (PSC) Safety Neighborhood Ambassador Program (SNAP) to provide community support to pedestrians, shoppers, businesses, and others who are out and about on Webster Street this holiday season.
PSC has more than 30 years of experience keeping neighborhoods safe and clean while providing living wage employment to community members. The Webster Street program is being funded through grants.
WABA Executive Director Linda Asbury said hiring the Ambassadors is just another way to keep the holidays safe and comfortable for everyone. “I’m not hearing people are fearful,” she emphasized. “We just thought with the holiday season, let’s give it another bump.”
Ambassadors—who wear uniforms emblazoned with the PSC logo—“serve as our eyes and ears on the street,” Asbury said. “Please welcome them, and don’t hesitate to contact them if you have a concern or see someone who needs their help.”
Most Webster Street retail shops close by around 7 p.m., Asbury noted, but many restaurants stay open until 9 p.m. to accommodate later diners. Ambassadors will still be on the street at that time, so if you’re leaving a restaurant after dinner, for example, and you’d like someone to escort you to your car, you’re in luck.
“It’s simply a courtesy that our Ambassadors offer as they walk the street,” Asbury said. “If you ask, they’ll be happy to walk you to your car.”
Asbury spoke with some of the Ambassadors and the merchants they visited on Thursday, their first day on Webster Street. “We already had sent pamphlets to each of our merchants announcing this program,” she said, “and they’re very thankful. The ambassadors told me about some of the stores they walked into and introduced themselves. They’re already getting to know our neighborhood.”