Building relationships and ensuring that bike share is accessible and equitable throughout communities in Philadelphia is one of the goals of Indego. The Indego Community Ambassador program connects non-profit organizations, whose work engages underserved communities, with Indego bike share. Using Indego as a tool, the Ambassadors work with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia to educate their communities on bike safety, promote healthy choices, and connect with resources in their neighborhoods.
Empowerment is the theme for this year’s Ambassador Season! As the Ambassadors team assembled, we discovered that each group incorporated empowerment as part of their mission statement. Indego is excited to introduce you to the seven organizations that make up this season’s Community Ambassador program!
Lacing up their sneakers, GirlTrek wanted to expand their toolkit by working with Indego. GirlTrek is a national organization headquartered in Washington D.C. that works to inspire women to see self-care as the first step for shaping change in their lives. Nicole, Robin, and Lee, the Philadelphia chapter leaders of Girl Trek, are gearing up to have their ladies hop on Indego and explore the City on two wheels. Nicole noted, “We are excited to join forces with Indego because our goal is to make sure women understand that their health can inspire others to move.”
Mom Your Business
Tanya Morris, founder of Mom your Business, believes, much like Indego, that barriers and obstacles must be addressed for real change to take place. Tanya’s organization, “helps mompreneurs turn obstacles into opportunities by connecting them to resources that lead to success in business and in life.” A mobility option, such as Indego, will add a healthy component that is affordable and accessible to mothers in the Parkside area where Mom Your Business started.
Strawberry Mansion CDC
How can a City the size of Philadelphia, connect with so many diverse communities? Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Neighborhood Advisory Committees (NACs) are the connectors for many communities in Philadelphia. These organizations help find resources and work to ensure equity is on the table as revitalization takes place in many communities throughout Philadelphia.
Tonnetta Graham, Director of the Strawberry Mansion CDC(SMCDC) can tell you everything you might want to know about creating a CDC. Tonnetta explains “you have to have a lot of love for your community for any program to work.” Tonnetta is a lifelong resident of North Philadelphia who, along with her bike partner Divold Gayle, has been riding through Strawberry Mansion since Indego started in 2015. In a community where rapid change has left many folks feeling disconnected, Tonnetta and Divold have used Indego to rally the community. This CDC works with SEPTA, the Discovery Center, and other community organizations to ensure resources are available for Strawberry Mansion residents.
Mount Vernon CDC
Mount Vernon CDC (MVCDC) is tucked away in a small community near 39th and Mount Vernon Street in the Mantua area of the City. While the area is undergoing many changes, the seniors are able to maintain a strong presence. Working to ensure that seniors and the community at large understand the importance of health, NAC Director Ms. Lorraine Gomez and her husband Gerald, are joining the ambassador team. “Keeping seniors moving” is Ms. Lorraine’s goal. If she happens to capture some younger folks along the way, she will convince them that riding is the key to all great things that life has to offer. Ms. Lorraine has organized classes and educational sessions with Indego in the past. This season she will take to the road with hopes of making sure the community is equipped to explore Philadelphia with the help of Indego.
Real Life CDC
Karen Nichols founded Real Life CDC (RLCDC) about 4 years ago, which is located in the Brewerytown/Sharswood area. RLCDC wants to address issues of unemployment, mass incarceration, health disparities, and family connections. Karen believes, “Indego will help community members to see that they have a lot in common and real change starts with conversations. Everyone can come together around a bike ride!”
Joel Arnold, along with his bike partner Clarissa, from the Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association Coalition (SEAMAAC), are working to bring services to Philadelphia’s immigrant and refugee population living in South Philadelphia. There are so many obstacles this community faces and finding tools that can unite the community is difficult. Joel and his team believe “Partnering with Indego, will provide a familiar way for the community to connect with services and public transportation. Group rides will encourage residents to explore the City and enjoy the parks and spaces outside of their community.”
DeWayne Drummond is also an Indego Ambassador this season. Through his long-term relationship with Indego, DeWayne has hosted rides that brought fathers and sons together, promoted education, and reminded communities about the power of their vote. Working with Head Start at the Philadelphia School District, being a member of the Democratic State Committee – 7th Senatorial District, and working as the founder and president of the Mantua Civic Association, DeWayne is an integral part of the community. He wants to ensure that people understand the importance of having a “seat at the table” as development transforms neighborhoods across the city. DeWayne believes that “riding Indego is a great way to engage the community and is a good platform to provide information.”
The 2019 Indego Ambassador season promises to have some exciting rides and classes. If you are interested in joining in the fun, follow our 2019 Ambassadors on social media and follow the hashtag #IndegoAmbassador.
This blog was written by Stephanie Ridgeway, the Indego Community Coordinator for the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability.
The Better Bike Share Partnership is an effort led by the City of Philadelphia that works to ensure that Indego bike share is accessible to all Philadelphians. The Better Bike Share Partnership is funded by the JPB Foundation.