What is the Goodwill Ambassador Program?
The Goodwill Ambassador Program came into existence as a result of sitting members of our Miami-Dade Community Relations Board, and its former Executive Director, Dr. Larry D. Capp, making the observation that major metropolitan cities, such as ours, should have in its arsenal some means for utilizing the "Goodwill Concept" to deal with the challenges of large crowds that can sometimes place uniformed law enforcement officers at odds with residents of a community.
Under the direction of the Office of Community Advocacy, the concept has evolved into its current award-winning configuration. As a result, the models first found in Daytona Beach and Washington D.C., have been fine tuned to boast an effectiveness that can now only be found in Miami-Dade County and a program recognized as a national model for delivery of excellent customer service. It is important to mention that the Goodwill Ambassadors are all volunteers, from almost every County department, who have been trained in crowd control, customer service, mediation, conflict resolution and crisis management.
What characteristics distinguish GWAs from other volunteer groups?
Our volunteers are activated to service whenever the County's Executive Office receives notice that their skills are needed. Those calls for service may come from any one of the many municipalities of South Florida, and are first screened for appropriateness through Memorandum of Understanding established by the Board of County Commissioners and facilitated through protocol in the Office of the Mayor.
There are currently some 200 volunteers serving as Goodwill Ambassadors, and they reflect the rich diversity of the population of Miami-Dade County. Their willingness to make a difference, by helping guests to our area deal with the special circumstances of an event, despite the culture and personal experiences that may differ from their own, sets these volunteers apart from the traditional manner by which Miami-Dade County chooses to deliver excellent customer service.
The Goodwill Ambassador volunteers qualify for this level of service by first demonstrating themselves exceptional in the performance of their duties at their work site; they are good followers, excellent listeners, and excel far beyond the limitations placed on us by the prejudices associated with labeling, because of one's race, ethnicity, culture, or social standing. They have operated at such events as the Source Music Awards on South Beach, the Memorial Day Weekend -- Urban Beach Week -- which boasted out-of-town visitors that exceeded 450,000 tourists over a four-day weekend. They have served closer to home, Jazz in the Gardens and the FIU/Inter-American Conference of Mayors and Local authorities.
Moreover, our Goodwill Ambassadors have been called to help facilitate the process for a smooth election, during which they demonstrated their ability to entertain tough questions while maintaining their neutrality and focus throughout the experience.
The Goodwill Ambassadors of Miami-Dade have a mandate to attend seminars and participate in trainings which can help them to tactfully deal with delicate situations whenever they arise. As an unarmed force representing the goodwill of our illustrious part of the world, the Goodwill Ambassadors have earned their reputation as resourceful and effective.
We find these men and women serving their communities armed with a pleasant personality, a passion for making a difference, and endowed with social skills and insights which allow them to make eye contact, and strong relationships, with people from every walk of life.
The County's Executive Office takes great care to use these individuals in a capacity that is comfortable for them and that will help foster goodwill, build community and make peace. We invite you to join us in this important endeavor.