This blog post was written by Stephanie Ridgeway, the Indego Community Coordinator.
The Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP) is an effort led by the City of Philadelphia that works to ensure that Indego bike share is accessible to all Philadelphians. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is a nonprofit advocacy and education organization working as part of the Better Bike Share Partnership to support bike share and biking education.The Better Bike Share Partnership is funded by the JPB Foundation.
Indego Community Ambassadors are vital links between the Indego program and their communities. They work to educate people on bicycle safety and how Indego works. They organize classes and rides and get people excited about biking. For their contribution to the program, each ambassador receives a stipend and six free months of Indego30!
This was the 4th season of the Indego Community Ambassador program, but it was my first working as the Indego Community Coordinator. I wanted to find ambassadors that were from all over Philadelphia, active in their community and associated with non-profit organizations. This year, we ended up partnering with High Heels High Hopes, Give and Go Athletics, Cancer Who?, Urbanstead, and the Strawberry Manson CDC.
After seven months of community outreach and group rides, we joined our ambassadors for a closing celebration at the recently opened Discovery Center in East Fairmount Park to recognize all of the contributions they made this season. It was a fitting venue because we spent the season discovering our strengths. The evening was filled with reflections, vision boards, great food, and smiles.
The closing celebration highlighted the strong bonds built by our Indego Ambassadors in their communities. Ambassadors were joined by family, friends, and community members and spoke of the impact that Indego has had in their neighborhoods.
Divold Gayle from the Strawberry Manson CDC summed up his experience, “Indego has given me a chance to really be a part of something great in my community and that has been the best part of being an ambassador.” A fun fact to know about Divold is that he loves to ride! Out of all of the Indego Ambassadors, he took the most rides on Indego this season, rounding out at 192 trips!
Nadera Oglesby founded High Heels High Hopes to help serve young people in her community. She said of her experience as an ambassador, “Indego is more than just a bike share, it’s a family share that can provide connections for all ages.”
During the evening, all of the ambassadors crafted vision boards with paper, magazines, and glue and took turns describing the messages behind them. One of the major takeaways that Give and Go Athletics focused on with their vision board was how teamwork is the key to creating a vision.
Lisa Gaidanowicz from Urbanstead reflected on the season, “The connections that were made have developed into friendships that will last a lifetime with all the ambassadors.”
Al and Marjani Harris of Cancer Who? were unfortunately not able to join us for the evening’s festivities but it was for good reason! They were busy welcoming their daughter, Tamara, into the world. This is the face of a young cyclist in the making!
An exciting note about the end of the season for Cancer Who?: they have started their own ambassador program that will help them serve more people in need. As said by Al, “Caring means taking action.”
This season would not have been possible without the help of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and Bicycle Transit Systems.
With the 2018 season at an end, we will be looking for a new team of Indego Ambassadors for 2019. If you or any organization you know could be a good fit for this opportunity, please reach out to me at email@example.com.