Local Seniors are Invited to Contribute to the “Old Traditions, New Beginnings” Project

Local senior initiative supported by the office of Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg

Ossining, NY The office of State Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg has been collaborating with two local seniors, Cora Silvestri and Judith Shangold, on a new project called “Old Traditions, New Beginnings.” This not-for-profit project aims to encourage seniors to share their wisdom and stories, and welcomes all forms of contributions including essays, poetry, words of wisdom passed down through the generations, recipes, and memories from childhood to present day.

“Capturing stories of our seniors is so important. It’s an opportunity for us to really benefit from lived experiences and pass on the lessons to the next generation. I’m so excited to be helping get the word out to encourage many to submit their knowledge and experiences. It is my hope that through this effort, new activities, gatherings, and friendships can be cultivated, and younger generations can learn,” said Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg, describing the project. 

The project was inspired by the experiences and expressions of Ossining resident Cora Silvestri. Silvestri learned firsthand the value of writing as a means of processing emotions like grief while recovering from a catastrophic accident that took the life of her husband. She self-published her own book, Poetic Emotions, in the aftermath of that recovery period. Poetic Emotions chronicles the major milestones of her life in poetry and prose. 

Silvestri met Judith Shangold at the Ossining Senior Center, where the two began talking about the impacts of COVID isolation and other changes on area seniors. Before her retirement, Shangold was an Emmy award-winning Executive Producer at NBC Television. She produced news, three specials a year and a weekly talk show: The First Estate, Religion in Review. With her background, Judith recognized the merit and importance of Cora's work. Together, they conceived of this project as a means of helping people develop a productive channel for their energies and connect with others in the process and brought it to the attention of Assemblywoman Levenberg’s staff. 

Levenberg’s office is currently collecting contributions for sharing online and possible print publication in an anthology. The deadline for inclusion in the first volume of the project is Sunday, June 30, 2024. The recommended length is between 250-1000 words per submission. Those interested in contributing their own writing or volunteering to help others share their contributions are encouraged to email district95@nyassembly.gov.