Safe trav­els

Mo­bile Am­bas­sador Project pro­motes safe, clean neigh­bor­hoods

The Boyertown Area Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Michilea Pat­ter­son mpat­ter­son@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @MichileaP on Twit­ter

The Hill School and the Pottstown Down­town Im­prove­ment Dis­trict Author­ity (PDIDA) are pro­vid­ing safety in num­bers while also in tran­sit with the Mo­bile Am­bas­sador Project.

The eight-week pi­lot pro­gram be­gan in Novem­ber with com­mu­nity mem­bers vol­un­teer­ing to join a 2-mile bike ride cov­er­ing the down­town area and the neigh­bor­hood sur­round­ing The Hill School. The mis­sion of the pro­gram is to cre­ate safe, clean spa­ces in Pottstown. The Mo­bile Am­bas­sador Project, M.A.P. for short, will have an of­fi­cial launch in the spring.

Twila Fisher, The Hill School’s man­ager of com­mu­nity and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, said the mo­bile safety pro­gram came about through talks she had with PDIDA Main Street Man­ager Sheila Du­gan. Fisher said Du­gan men­tioned that down­town busi­nesses were re­quest­ing some kind of pres­ence in the area for safety rea­sons.

“PDIDA has been try­ing to get an am­bas­sador pro­gram here for a cou­ple of years,” Du­gan said, adding that lim­ited re­sources made it dif­fi­cult.

She said the part­ner­ship with The Hill School al­lowed for com­bined ef­forts and there were al­ready bikes avail­able to use from the Ho­bart’s Run ini­tia­tive. The re­vi­tal­iza­tion project is through The Hill School, and like the am­bas­sador pro­gram, it in­cludes pro­mot­ing safety in the area through bike rides.

Ho­bart’s Run is about 600 parcels of land that sur­round The Hill School cam­pus and in­cludes Edge­wood Ceme­tery. Fisher was hired by The Hill School to work on the ini­tia­tive ,which in­cludes the goal to cre­ate a safe, clean and in­clu­sive com­mu­nity. Fisher said those who par­tic­i­pated in the com­mu­nity bike rides looked for qual­ity of life vi­o­la­tions and other safety con­cerns res­i­dents may have.

“Any­thing that we can work with the bor­ough on as far as re­port­ing bro­ken win­dows or if there’s a lot of loi­ter­ing in a cer­tain area,” she said.

Fisher said it re­ally helps to have a “vis­i­ble pres­ence” in neigh­bor­hoods when it comes to help­ing peo­ple feel safer. She said since Ho­bart’s Run is such a small area, ex­pand­ing the bike rides to in­clude down­town cre­ated a longer and more ex­ten­sive route. Du­gan said the hope is to have the am­bas­sador pro­gram be the “eyes and ears of the com­mu­nity.”

“We (Fisher and I) both feel very con­fi­dent that as peo­ple get to see other peo­ple out there rid­ing to­gether, then more peo­ple will join in,” Du­gan said.

In the spring, the mo­bile pro­gram will in­clude run­ners and walk­ers in ad­di­tion to bi­cy­clists. Du­gan said she re­al­ized that many high school stu­dents are al­ready run­ning through town as part of track or cross coun­try so it seemed liked a great idea to in­vite them to do the same for the Mo­bile Am­bas­sador Project.

Du­gan said in ad­di­tion to safety, the pro­gram is meant to pro­mote com­mu­nity en­gage­ment. She said PDIDA wants to pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for health and well­ness such as it did for the farm­ers mar­ket that was launched down­town this past sum­mer. She said the aim is to get peo­ple health­ier men­tally, spir­i­tu­ally and phys­i­cally.

“The Mo­bile Am­bas­sador Project cer­tainly fits into that,” Du­gan said.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the Mo­bile Am­bas­sador Project, visit the web­site bit.ly/2hZibUZ. For more about the Ho­bart’s Run ini­tia­tive, visit the Face­book page at www.face­book.com/Ho­bart­sRun or the web­site ho­bart­srun­pottstown.org.

The Mer­cury is en­gaged in a long-term ef­fort, Fit for Life, de­signed to pro­mote healthy liv­ing. In ad­di­tion to ar­ti­cles in the news­pa­per and on our web­site, Fit for Life fea­tures a blog with recipes, health tips such as get­ting fit with­out break­ing the bank and other tools all avail­able free on­line. Visit the web­site at pottsmer­c­fit4life.com, like us on Face­book at www.face­book.com/Mer­cFit4Life and fol­low our ef­forts on Twit­ter @Mer­cFit4Life.

Michilea Pat­ter­son is the Fit for Life re­porter and is funded in part by the Pottstown Area Health & Well­ness Foundation.

MICHILEA PAT­TER­SON — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Peo­ple par­tic­i­pate in a com­mu­nity bike ride along East High Street through an ini­tia­tive of The Hill School. In Novem­ber, The Hill School in col­lab­o­ra­tion with PDIDA be­gan a Mo­bile Am­bas­sador Project (M.A.P.).

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

A group of com­mu­nity mem­bers pose for a photo while wear­ing blue safety vests as part of the Mo­bile Am­bas­sador Project.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Shown is the logo for the Mo­bile Am­bas­sador Project. The pro­gram in­cludes peo­ple bik­ing, walk­ing and run­ning for the pur­pose of keep­ing Pottstown safe and clean.

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