Valentine’s Day came two days early for more than 70 residents and 25 staff members of the Charles E. Smith Life Communities, who were invited on Sunday to a night of music and dancing at the Fillmore Silver Spring.
These residents were invited because they volunteer at Charles E. Smith by working at the library or putting on plays, according to Alan Freeman, who sits on the board of governors and is president of the Landow House and Ring House, two of five living facilities at Charles E. Smith in Rockville.
“It’s just a nice way to get them to a different kind of event they don’t usually get. They’ll have some fun music, some good food, and it’s just a night out on the town for them,” Freeman said.
“Tonight’s sweetheart social was a huge success,” said Fillmore General Manager Stephanie Steele. “The Fillmore is all about music and community. Not only do we want to have a wide variety of musical entertainment that appeals to the entire community, but it’s also important for us to serve as a philanthropic resource for as many important organizations as possible in this area.”
Even Councilmember Valerie Ervin (D-dist. 5) couldn’t resist stopping by what will become an annual event.
“I’m having a ball,” Ervin said as she took a break from dancing with a few residents. “This is just such a lovely way to show the appreciation The Fillmore has for Montgomery County residents.”
Shirley Klavan,84, who lives in the Revitz House, appreciated the social event.
“I enjoyed it very much,” Klavan said. “I thought it was well-planned. Everybody was nice and pleasant.”
Along with local swing band Night & Day, guests enjoyed an assortment of Valentine’s Day sweets, including cupcakes, sugar-free cookies and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Raffles were also drawn; winners won either Valentine’s Day baskets full of goodies or flowers.
More than 1,000 people live in the Charles E. Smith communities, which range from independent (Revitz House and Ring House) to assisted living (Landow House) to full-care nursing homes (Smith-Kogod and Wasserman Residences). Although Patty Hagen, director of recreational therapy, says the average age is 90, most residents are active and independent.
For instance, Klavan drives herself or takes Metro to the Olney Theatre Center, the Round House Theatre in Bethesda and the Arena Stage in Washington, where she has volunteered as an usher for more than 15 years.
Residents such as Klavan “are very busy, very independent,” Hagen said. “Still, we try very hard, especially in our nursing homes, to get the residents fresh air, go out on outings up to two times a week.”
“This is a beautiful event. The residents are having a great time,” Hagen said.