Mount Vernon was recently dubbed “The Jewel of Westchester” and we know jewels must be cleaned and polished to sparkle. Mount Vernon, like other densely populated urban cities, makes systematic and city-wide regulations to control litter and urban blight. However Mount Vernon city employee, Jeffrey “Shah” Holliday goes above and beyond to make sure the city he loves appears beautiful. I recently spoke with Mr. Holliday who was gracious with his time and told us about himself and the origins of the very popular movement in Mount Vernon “Saturdays with Shah”.
- Where did you grow up in Mount Vernon, which neighborhood?
I GREW UP ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF MOUNT VERNON
- What type of work do you do in Mount Vernon and how did it lead to you beginning your beautification?
I WORK FOR THE CITY OF MOUNT VERNON, AND ME LOVING MY CITY WAS MOVED TO APPRECIATE IT MORE, WANTING TO DO MORE.
- How did you become so well known throughout Mount Vernon that people call you about beautification projects?
WELL I BECAME WELL KNOWN FROM MY FACEBOOK VIDEOS, DOING MY BEFORE AND AFTER CLEANUPS, AND PEOPLE, RESIDENTS WOULD GIVE ME COMPLAINTS ON MY PAGE OR IN MESSENGER AND I WOULD ANSWER THE COMPLAINT IMMEDIATELY.
- Most people would not clean the street and lots. What is it about you that makes you feel good doing it?
I GET A SENSE OF WELL BEING, APPEARANCE IS EVERYTHING, I WANT PEOPLE TO APPRECIATE MY CITY LIKE I DO AND SEE THE BEAUTY OF IT, KNOW IT’S VALUE AND WORTH.
- Tell me about the awards and recognition you have received from leaders in Mount Vernon, Westchester County, and New York?
IN 2016 I RECEIVED EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR FROM FORMER MAYOR RICHARD THOMAS, IN 2017 COUNTY LEGISLATOR LYNDON D WILLIAMS AWARDED ME A CITATION FOR MY BEAUTIFICATION, AND IN 2018 I RECEIVED AGAIN EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR FROM FORMER MAYOR RICHARD THOMAS, ALONG WITH THE MARTIN LUTHER KING COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD AND A CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION FROM MOUNT VERNON CITY COUNCIL. IN 2019 I RECEIVED THE RUSSY B COMMUNITY LEADER AWARD FROM THE MONEY MAKING MOB, NEWFLEX ALSO AWARDED ME A COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD, SENATOR JAMAAL T BAILEY GAVE ME A SPECIAL CITATION ACKNOWLEDGING ME AS THE BEAUTIFICATION GURU, ALSO I WAS PRESENTED CONGRESSIONAL RECOGNITION FROM CONGRESSMAN ELLIOT ENGEL, NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLYMAN GARY PRETLOW GAVE ME AN AWARD FOR MY SATURDAY’S WITH SHAH, COUNTY LEGISLATOR DAVID TUBLIO GAVE ME A PROCLAMATION FOR SATURDAY’S WITH SHAH, COUNTY EXECUTIVE GEORGE LATIMER GAVE ME A PROCLAMATION FOR SATURDAY’S WITH SHAH, AND THE HONORABLE GOVERNOR CUOMO GAVE ME A PROCLAMATION FOR SATURDAY’S WITH SHAH
- What is Saturdays with Shah?
SATURDAY’S WITH SHAH IS JUST THAT, WE PICK A LOCATION IN THE CITY IN WHICH IT REQUIRES BEAUTIFICATION AND TACKLE IT, WE MEET AT 9:30 A.M. AND WORK ABOUT 3 TO 4 HOURS WE ACTUALLY HAVE FUN
- Who are your crew members and how do you recruit people who want to help?
MY CREW MEMBERS ARE RESIDENTS OF MOUNT VERNON WITH JOBS OF THEIR OWN, PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED NORMALLY LOOK AT MY VIDEOS AND FIND AN INTEREST TO JOIN IN. I LOVE THIS
- Are you and your Saturday’s with Shah crew all volunteers?
YES WE ARE ALL VOLUNTEERS, I FUND MYSELF, ALL TOOLS, BAGS, ETC,, I BUY, I HAVE VOLUNTEERS OF ALL ETHNIC BACKGROUNDS COMING TOGETHER AS ONE, PEOPLE WHO NEVER WOULD OF MET EACH OTHER ARE NOW CLOSE AND WE SHARE A COMMON GOAL, TAKING PRIDE IN WHERE WE RESIDE.
- What made you care about Mount Vernon in this way?
I WAS BORN HERE AND APPRECIATE WHERE I WAS BORN, I LOOK AT OTHER CITIES AND TOWNS AND NONE GREATER THAN MY MOUNT VERNON MOUNT VERNON.
- How do people get in contact with you?
JEFFREY SHAH HOLLIDAY ON FACEBOOK, FOLLOW ME INBOX ME AND JOIN ME, MOUNT VERNON MOUNT VERNON I’M HERE!