For a few hours on Sunday, June 23, Covenant House/CHAI Apartment’s dining room was transformed into old Hollywood for a special “Senior Prom.” Under stars decorated with photos of screen legends like Vivien Leigh and Fred Astaire, residents of Covenant/CHAI and members of Jewish Federation of St. Louis’ Young Professional’s Division (YPD), all decked out in their finest party clothes, hit the dance floor, mingled, mugged for the photo booth and enjoyed yummy desserts. Prizes were raffled off, and two lucky seniors were awarded crowns and sashes designating them Prom Queen and King. Approximately 20 YPD members and 150 Covenant/CHAI residents attended the event.
Both the young and the young at heart enjoyed the evening. “It was a good excuse for everyone to put on their party dress and have a lot of fun,” said YPD member Nicole Korman. “In the 12 years I’ve been here, this has been the most outstanding event ever,” said resident Alicia Rosenfeld. “I’m in awe of how much hard work that went into it—from the goodies to the music. And the photo booth blew me away.”
As with most proms, the biggest draw of the night was the dance floor. Covenant/CHAI resident Quentin Worth said the music, a good cross-section of new and older styles, “got people on the floor whether they could dance or not. I was one of the first up there. Everyone was in rare form.” Residents showed the young people a thing or two on the floor, teaching them dances and doing the robot. YPD member Rafi Nemes said, “I saw one man leave his walker behind and start dancing.”
In addition to the dancing, both the YPD members and the residents enjoyed getting to know one another. YPD member Rachel Solomon, who made refreshments with residents before the event, said the event was a “great opportunity to form relationships that will last with people I might not otherwise have the privilege of knowing.” Covenant/CHAI resident Nancy Beecher agreed. “The young people were outstanding and added a lot to the event,” she said. “They went out of their way to talk and mingle with the old folks.”
Prom Queen Evelyn Kleiman couldn’t dance because of an injury, but she enjoyed watching everyone else. “It was a great time,” she says. “I got a free manicure in the afternoon, got all dressed up, came down and had a ball. I indulged in dessert, which made me very happy.”
With the last dessert eaten and the decorations put away, everyone looked forward to next year’s prom. “I want to do it again,” says Solomon. “It was a fun event.” Worth added, “It was a fabulous affair. I’ll be there again next year, the good Lord willing.”