Abbey Marshall | Staff Writer
Seniors laced up their dancing shoes and boogied the night away on Sunday, May 3 at Cedar Village retirement home.
Cedar Village, in collaboration with Student Government senior class officers, held the first senior citizen prom and was open to all residents, as well as high school seniors, to raise awareness and money for elder abuse support.
The idea for this event stemmed from a previous senior citizen service project held first semester, according to senior Kusha Ansari.
“(First semester), we did caroling for the senior citizens near Christmas, so we went along with the idea of seniors for seniors,” Ansari said. “ We wanted to go beyond what’s been done in the past and Sonia came up with the idea of doing a senior citizen prom, which everyone was on board for…We talked to Cedar Village and they’ve been wanting to do this for a really long time…It came together really well.”
According to Cedar Village Director of Community and Resident Engagement Diane Slovin, a committee of senior citizens and high school students began planning shortly after the proposal of the event. In the nature of collaboration, Cedar Village organized catering and the DJ while the senior class officers publicized the dance at the high school and took care of decorations, mostly donated from the After Prom committee.
“We had several committee members,” Slovin said. “The committee consisted of Cedar Village residents and some of the students from StuGo…The kids and the residents decided it should be a fifties theme and we decided what food should we served and what the decorations should look like. We had four or five meetings with the residents and the students combined.”
Slovin said that she is extremely pleased with the amount of both high school students and residents that attended the dance.
“The turnout is fabulous,” Slovin said. “I wasn’t sure about our residents when they heard about a prom; some of them weren’t too excited, but we had several of the kids walk through the dining room tonight and they got everybody fired up about it.”
Students attending were required to pay a two dollar admission fee, which went to the Shalom Center within Cedar Village to support victims of elder abuse, according to Slovin.
“The students talked about having the kids make some sort of financial commitment in addition to doing the community service they’re doing,” Slovin said. “We talked to them a little about the Shalom Center for Elder Abuse Prevention, which is a virtual shelter that’s housed within the walls of Cedar Village…We get referrals from adult protective services of people who really are in desperate situations who need to be taken to a safe place and this is that safe haven for some of the residents…We house them for 60 to 90 days at no cost to them. They get medical support, they get social services, they get physical therapy, occupational therapy, they get religious support if they want that: any service that they need is provided for free. To offset some of those charges, the students chipped in a little tonight to help with that cost.”
According to Ansari, kids his age typically don’t know about elder abuse. The senior citizen prom not only raised money to support victims but also raised awareness for the issue.
“It’s really surprising,” Ansari said. “(This event) broke the silence. No one really knows that elder abuse is really a thing, so the fact that we could have this really awesome event and raise awareness for the cause too is really incredible.”
Slovin said she is grateful for the opportunity to bring the two generations together in such a unique way.
“We are really, really appreciative that the kids came to do this,” Slovin said. “It’s really fantastic to see all this energy from the students at Mason High School. Seeing the residents dance with the high school seniors–it’s the perfect intergenerational activity. Our residents are very happy and it’s a great opportunity for (the younger) generation to see that there’s still lots of life left in our residents and for the residents here to see that there’s lots of kids who want to do good.”
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Originally published on thecspn.com on May 4.