February 2021 Ambassador of the Month: Darlene McClain
The Downtown Raleigh Ambassadors serve to ensure a memorable and welcoming experience for those in our capital city. Our Ambassadors are awarded Ambassador of the Month for exemplary service in community engagement and/or safety assistance. For February, the award went to Darlene McClain, DRA’s Social Services Outreach Specialist Ambassador. We sat down for an interview with her to learn about her experience as an Ambassador and what she loves about DTR.
This new role is focused on connecting the homeless and other people in need with resources. From pointing people to a shelter to providing addiction resources, her goal is to provide hope and safety to people in Downtown Raleigh. Since beginning the position in September of 2020, Darlene has helped 63 people with medical/mental health assistance, 256 people get food, 242 people find shelter, and 323 people with wellness checks (incl. where to go for showers, do laundry, apply for mail service, social security benefits, and more).
DRA: How long have you been an Ambassador?
DM: I have been DRA’s Social Services Outreach Specialist Ambassador since September of 2020.
DRA: Why did you decide to pursue this line of work?
DM: I have worked in Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Family Services for 20 years. Being an Ambassador falls in the line with what I know and what I am passionate about. I know how to take care of people very well.
DRA: What do you like most about what you do?
DM: I enjoy helping people navigate through challenges and hard times. I don’t dwell on the problem or the barriers, I just focus on problem-solving and coming up with an achievable solution.
DRA: What are your favorite spots to grab a coffee and a bite to eat downtown?
DM: I am actually trying a new restaurant weekly to support all of Downtown! I believe you can’t go wrong with a sandwich though.
DRA: Do you have a favorite part of downtown you like visiting or working in?
DM: I really like being at Moore Square - in the park. Watching people enjoy themselves is such a nice break from the day. I like the peace and quiet the most around Raleigh Union Station
DRA: What have you enjoyed seeing happen downtown most recently?
DM: I like seeing the new transitions of the layout of downtown. I remember when you couldn’t drive through Fayetteville Street and it was a pedestrian mall. It’s great to see the new developments.
DRA: Anything else you'd like to add?
DM: We are here to help anyone the best way we can!
Thank you, Darlene!