News / Economy

Red Shirts Help Revitalize Once Declining Downtown

Red Shirts Help Revitalize Once Declining Downtowni
X
Faiza Elmasry
June 06, 2014 1:05 PM
Silver Spring, Maryland's redevelopment efforts have transformed its declining downtown into a vibrant destination, where dozens of stores, restaurants, theaters and offices attract visitors every day for work and fun. And as Faiza Elmasry tells us, one part of that effort is a group of community workers known as the Red Shirts, keeping downtown Silver Spring clean, safe and profitable. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Faiza Elmasry
— Silver Spring, Maryland's redevelopment efforts have transformed its declining downtown into a vibrant destination, where dozens of stores, restaurants, theaters and offices attract visitors every day for work and fun.

One part of that effort is a group of community workers known as the Red Shirts, that helps keep downtown Silver Spring clean, safe and profitable.

It’s hard for visitors to miss the Red Shirts.

The ambassadors stand out in their red shirts. Their mission is to enhance the experience for visitors to what was once a declining downtown. The envoys can be seen on the streets from 6 a.m. until midnight, seven days a week.

“The Red Shirts are county employees. Some have customer service experience," said Yvette Freeman, chief of operations for the Silver Spring Urban District, who oversees the 35-member crew. "They may have landscaping or construction experience. We are on-site to assist with jump starts and lock outs, when someone is unable to get into their car because they've locked their keys [in the car]. Escorting folks from their vehicles to their offices or from their offices to their vehicles or to the Metro station, doing maintenance, cleaning or removing graffiti.”

Red shirts also answer questions and provide directions, patrol parking garages and help with landscaping.  

Donhue Elliston, 28, enjoys the variety the job offers.

“I like keeping the city clean,” he said. “We do also pothole repairs. So I like that about my job. I like to making the streets safer for pedestrians to cross. I like making the street free of litter, so the residents are welcomed in a clean and a safe environment.”

Red Shirt Anthony Myers especially likes interacting with people.

“I like to help people and I like to provide services to people in different ways, giving information," he said. "On this job, I’ve made a lot of friends, met with people of different races and sharing their culture with me and stuff like that. So I basically build friendships on this job.”

Cafe owner Lene Tsegaye feels safer when the Red Shirts are around.

“They are very helpful, really dedicated to their job," Tsegaye said. "They come and check on you. Like you feel, it’s an extended family. I wish I can afford, myself, to [provide] breakfast every day for them. That’s how much they mean a lot to our place, even the whole area.”

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.