Morale-Boosting Effort Stars Seniors and Lawyers Together
Fairytales are not just for children, especially on July 18th at 10 AM when residents of Brandywine Senior Living at Huntington Terrace, whose ages ranges from ages 70 to 94, will perform “Goldilocks on Trial”, a play by Ed Monk. Family members, friends, residents and members of the community will attend the performance.
Bringing this unique production to the facility is Cona Elder Law, (Cona Elder Law), an elder law firm based in Melville, LI., as part of their ongoing effort to provide public services and, in this case, bring a special activity to groups of seniors, their friends and families. With the encouragement of Rhonda Covino, arts and entertainment director at Huntington Terrace, the play is lifting the residents’ morale, providing a creative outlet and giving the residents an opportunity for new social activities.
“Cona Elder Law does several community outreach activities to help those in need, but this is the first time we are involved with something that is not only ‘outside the box’ but is a creative outlet both for the seniors as well as our law firm’s staff,” says Jennifer Cona.
“We took on this project because we saw it as a good way to encourage seniors to flex their creative muscles, exercise their brains by learning lines and build friendships with people they may not have otherwise known. The production provides all of the same benefits to our attorneys.”
Not only are the Brandywine residents benefiting from performing the play but several Cona Elder Law staff members are volunteering their time as well. Judge Wallabee will be played by Jennifer B. Cona, elder law attorney and Cona Elder Law partner; District Attorney Muffinhead will be played by Ken Kern, Esq.; Attorney Wombat will be played by Moriah Adamo, Esq. and Melvin the Bailiff will be played by Moriah Farrell. Melissa Negrin-Wiener is directing the production along with Moriah Farrell, assistant director. Cona Elder Law is contributing their staff, time and covering all production costs, including costumes.
The residents are having the time of their lives. They talk about the play everyday and are so enthusiastic about it that they carry their scripts around during the day reciting their lines and speaking in character when they see a fellow actor. “It’s wonderful to see them so stimulated and involved in doing something they’ve never done before,” says Ms. Covino. “Many don’t remember the day of the week, but this experience is captivating them and helping them feel young again.”
Playing the role of the Big Bad Wolf is Marie Severin, a 79 year old former Oceanside resident and a pioneering woman in the field of comic book art. She was best known for her work with Marvel Comics and the 1950’s EC Comics at the age of 18 and was inducted into the Will Eisner Comics Hall of Fame in 2001. “I used to tell stories through art and now I am having fun telling a story as an actor,” says Marie.
Goldilocks will be played by Julia Froh, an 80 year old who has warmth, sparkle and captures the mischievous side of Goldilocks. Having lost her husband of 58 years just over one year ago, she tries to stay active and participates in everything. “I’ve never done anything like this before,” explains Julia. “I hope I do justice to the part.”
When he was younger, Papa Bear Patrick Riley, 85 and former Hicksville resident who has five children, performed in a church choir. He has a passion for opera, watching La Boheme repeatedly. 94 year old Sylvia Pace is a feisty Mama Bear and brings much energy and wit to her role. Married for 69 years, she is excited for her daughter and son-in-law to see the show.
Every week the assistant director, Moriah Farrell, a staff member of Cona Elder Law, comes to the facility and rehearses the play. The residents so look forward to her arrival that they sit by the front door with scripts in hand. “Moriah is so wonderful that she brings the sunshine in and even assists those who have difficulty with their lines,” notes Ms. Covino. Not only is Moriah coordinating and directing the play, but she is in charge of costumes and is a fellow performer.
This is only the first of many other performances Cona Elder Law will sponsor. In addition to other assisted living and senior facilities, the firm plans to bring the production to disabled children as well.
Cona Elder Law PLLC is recognized as one of the leading Elder Law and Estate Planning firm on Long Island, providing expertise in the areas of estate and tax planning, wealth transfer planning, asset protection planning, estate and trust administration, charitable giving, estate litigation and Elder Law. Working closely with their clients, Cona Elder Law customizes effective advance planning strategies to protect a client’s interests and preserve financial security. Cona Elder Law has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s, CPA Wealth Provider, numerous times in Newsday’s “Ask the Expert” column, The New York Law Journal, LI Business News and many others. Their attorneys have appeared as guests on WNBC-TV, CNN, News 12 LI and Act II with Newsday. For more information on the firm, please call 631.390.5000 and visit www.conaelderlaw.com.