I have always loved spending time with the elders. It started with my Grandmother in Pittsburgh...I would sit with her in the kitchen, drag out all of the old photos and beg her to tell me stories about her life, family and friends. It is not by accident that I have become the keeper of my family's ancient photos and treasures.
I now spend my time with the elders in a variety of ways. Many of my closest friends are over 70... I also volunteer with a performing group called Vocal Ease, Inc. in NYC. It's a not-for-profit that provides volunteer cabaret performances for seniors in elder care facilities, nursing homes and hospitals. The best of broadway and the cabaret world are on the roster of performers. I am also Chairman of the Board of Directors. For more information on Vocal Ease and the extraordinary work they are doing Click Here.
Photo: Fred Marco Photography
On the New Earth, old age will be universally recognized and highly valued as a time for the flowering of consciousness.
~ Eckhart Tolle
In 2006 and 2007, I joined Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC) as Program Director of their newest community program, Senior Stars, a one-of-a-kind musical and theatrical training and performance program for senior citizens of Astoria, Queens. The program culminated in a performance. The show itself is designed around the seniors unique strengths, talents and stories.
The 2006 performance, Each Tomorrow Morning went onto to be aired on Queens Public Television. In 2007, Open A New Window played to full houses and we hired film maker Kim Fishman (Fat Girls) to help create a documentary that highlights both the APAC program and the "Elders story." APAC's Senior Star program received honorary mention and accolades by Mayor Bloomberg at the Mayoral Awards 2007.
I've taken the model I created here and have since worked with many senior groups. It has become the basis for my Sacred Stages counseling method.
Mayoral Awards 2007 with Mayor Bloomberg and John Leguizamo
"Hardly a day passes when I don't remember my teacher, who made me feel special and capable of making a difference in the world."
~ M.C., Senior Star
To raise awareness, and to create more funding for the documentary, Kim has created a YouTube clip.
Me, Senior Star Edna Robinson, APAC Ex. Dir. Taryn Drongowski and Kim Fishman at The Mayoral Awards 2007