The Ambassador program is primarily a week-end gig for those wishing to act as good will go-betweens the multitude of visitors to the hood, then, directing them to the variety of attractions, museums, bars/clubs, events, businesses and the myriad of personal and social services fostered in the Castro/Upper Market Eureka Valley district.
Beyond being a living map and font of business and historic information about our wee hamlet the Ambassadors are also equipped with training, uniforms, physical maps, team leaders who guide and offer support and a grab bag of other tools to help each volunteer create a home away from home for all in the Castro.
The Ambassadors are the brain child of the Castro Community Benefit District (CBD) whose mission, according to their website; “is to provide services that improve the quality of life in the neighborhood, emphasizing clean, safe, beautiful streets. It also promotes the area’s economic vitality, fosters the Castro’s unique district identity, and honors its diverse history.”
The CBD has been around since 2005 and is directly affiliated with the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (SFOEWD). They’re one of eleven Community Benefit Districts operating within San Francisco and, it seems according info provided by the SFOEWD, anyone can form a CBD for a specific, unserved, business area, collect funds and begin to influence and participate in the day-to-day life experience and needs of that community.
What the Castro/Upper Market CBD has primarily been providing for the last 7 years according to the City’s Dept. guidelines is: sidewalk cleaning/ maintenance, public safety, building attraction to the 270 neighborhood businesses, and streetscape improvement-aka public furniture-like the controversial once installed and then removed benches at Harvey Milk MUNI Plaza.
Last year, by the CBD’s estimates, volunteering Castro Ambassadors helped over 5000 people from all corners of the planet find they’re way through out what they’ve coined ‘The Gayborhood’ discovering the treasure trove of gems tucked into every corner of one of San Francisco’s best known neighborhoods.
Interested? You can apply here on the CBD website for duty as Castro Ambassador.