A note from the Chairman

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A note from the Chairman

Welcome to The Josephine Foundation’s very First Quarterly Newsletter. I am very proud of our organization, and as Chairman since its inception, I have seen some wonderful things happen over the years by the people who are energized by this organization. I hope in the months and years to come, this newsletter will serve as a forum for discussion on the performing arts, which makes such a huge difference in how we live our lives. In my first article I would like to take the angle of how the arts in education changes the lives of many.

A recent study performed by The National Endowment for the Arts shows some amazing findings regarding young people who include the arts in their education studies as opposed to those who don’t. Among the key findings were as follows:

Better academic outcomes — Teenagers and young adults who have a history of in-depth arts involvement (“high arts”) show better academic outcomes than those with less arts involvement (“low arts”). They earn better grades and have higher rates of college enrollment and attainment.

Students from the inner cities who had arts-rich experiences in high school were ten percent more likely to complete a high school calculus course than inner city students with low arts exposure (33 percent versus 23 percent).

High-arts, in the eighth grade were more likely to have planned to earn a bachelor’s degree (74 percent) than all students or low-arts students (43 percent).

High-arts, inner city students were 15 percent more likely to enroll in a highly or moderately selective four-year college than low-arts, inner city students (41 percent versus 26 percent).

Students with access to the arts in high school were three times more likely than students who lacked those experiences to earn a bachelor’s degree (17 percent versus five percent).

When it comes to participating in extracurricular activities in high school, high-arts, are much more likely also to take part in intramural and interscholastic sports, as well as academic honor societies, and school yearbook or newspaper — often at nearly twice or three times the rate of low-arts students.

Higher career goals — There is a marked difference between the career aspirations of young adults with and without arts backgrounds.

High-arts, inner city College students had the highest rates of choosing a major that aligns with a professional career, such as accounting, education, nursing, or social sciences (30 percent), compared to low-arts, inner city students (14 percent) and the overall student sample (22 percent).

Half of all adults with arts-rich backgrounds expected to work in a professional career (such as law, medicine, education, or management), compared to only 21 percent of low-arts, young adults.

More civically engaged – Young adults who had intensive arts experiences in high school are more likely to show civic-minded behavior than young adults who did not, with comparatively high levels of volunteering, voting, and engagement with local or school politics.

High-arts, eighth graders were more likely to read a newspaper at least once a week (73 percent) compared to low-arts, inner city students (44 percent) and the overall student sample (66 percent).

High-arts, inner city young adults reported higher volunteer rates (47 percent) than the low-arts, overall student sample and inner city young adults (43 and 26 percent respectively).

High-arts, inner city young adults voted in the last national election at a rate of 45 percent, compared to 31 percent of low-arts, inner city young adults.

Despite these and many other studies, the Performing Arts has gotten the short end of the stick in our schools when it comes to funding, commitment and the absolute must of making it part of required curriculum. It is why we at The Josephine Foundation continue to support and promote these programs. We have seen firsthand what an education that includes “high arts” does for young people. We will continue to be a voice, fighting for the commitment to the arts to be honored. In an age where information comes pouring over the media outlets, phones, iPad, etc. etc. in what seems like seconds, our young people get an overflow of information that use to take us days to receive. Too much information without the ability or skill to process it, is extremely dangerous. Performing Arts Programs and disciplined Sports programs give our young people the skills to better handle information. These skills are essential in today’s society. The facts are there for all to see. Use your voice to stand up for
balance in education.

 

Andrew Joseph Koslosky

Chairman of the Board

The Josephine Foundation

 

Board Member Highlight

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Enzo Bifulco “A Renaissance Man”

Enzo Bifulco, from San Giuseppe Vesuviano in the province of Naples, Italy, came to America in 1967, eager to realize the American dream. Armed with exceptional skills in tailoring, a strong work ethic and a lot of enthusiasm, within fifteen days of his arrival, he was working for a prestigious american company.

Enzo is a multifaceted artist who’s abilities go well beyond his work. His remarkable talents transcend his chosen profession and his distinguished accomplishments in the Fashion Industry. His passion and innate ability to express life’s meaning through his poetry and lyrics – written in his native Neapolitan language – has given him a form of creative expression that has resonated with an appreciative audience. “Enzo sees music as medicine capable of healing and lifting people’s spirits!” say his friends.

Enzo has composed and recorded numerous songs and delighted  listeners both in the United States and Italy. He has been a frequent guest on the Italian radio program “Sabato Italiano” of Hofstra University

Christmas is a magical time for Enzo for that is when he meticulously

 and artistically arranges the Neapolitan Nativity Creche in his home for his friends and family to visit. If you are one of the many lucky ones to visit, you will enjoy his homemade desserts or maybe his culinary specialties and his home made wine, if you stay for lunch or dinner.

 

Enzo is admired and respected by many prominent organizations, and he is a Board Member of The Josephine Foundation.

A View from Backstage

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A View from BackstagePeter Carrozzo

We rarely hear the voices of those who work backstage. Before the show, we’re too busy to talk, during the show, we’re not allowed, and after the show, we’re too tired.  I’m one of those voices. I’ve been addicted to set design for years.  Except, I don’t call it set design because that would make me a set designer and that sounds pompous.  Especially since the majority of my work involves digging splinters out of my hands and sweeping the stage. But set construction is something that I love.  When I go to see a show I can’t help but focus on the scenery.  For example, when I saw Hamilton on Broadway, my favorite performance was by the blue trunk.  The blue trunk appeared in as many scenes as Jefferson—it was a box for people to stand on and give speeches, it acted as furniture, as a suitcase.  The blue trunk was the unsung hero of that show.  Of course, I don’t want to snub the two rolling lampposts which were beautiful pieces that depicted the streets scenes expertly.  I try my best to build these types of pieces.

This issue I’d like to spotlight (attempt to use theatre lingo) the all important shower from South Pacific,  specifically the one featured in the St. Mary’s High School 2018 production. When Mr. Koslosky asked me to build it, a number of thoughts cascaded (attempt to use shower lingo) through my brain.  Did it have to work?  How would the water come out if it? What would catch the water?  Can I keep it after the show and turn it into a backyard fountain?  If so, how would I get it home?  If I put it in my backyard, will animals turn it into their nest and will I need to hire an exterminator? 

 

After day dreaming for hours, I realized opening night was near so I rolled up my sleeves. The process usually begins by Googling something like “image of the shower in South Pacific” and then drawing a sketch on a napkin.  Then construction begins.  For the base, I built a box made of 2 by 6s around a hot water heater overflow pan and added a plywood bottom to hold it all together.  Two by four legs attached by 2 by 3s, some for support and some just for show, made up the body.  Luan worked well for the sides, as it does for most everything.  For the shower itself I used a solar shower for camping that works on gravity. That makes it simple to use and not dependent on a power source.  Extension cords aren’t practical on a moving piece of scenery and batteries are notorious for failing during performances leaving the actress playing Nelly singing “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta My Hair” with a head full of shampoo and burning eyes.  As for the appearance of the structure, this would be an item built by Navy engineers from excess material.  It should look as such.  But should it look poorly made or well-constructed? I figure Navy engineers would build it well—they had nothing but time on their hands and they were engineers.  If poorly done, will the audience just think I don’t know what I’m doing, which is partly true, or understand that I’m going for a “look.”  Will the audience think about it this much?  Will they care?  It doesn’t matter—I will.  Ideally, military type material (corrugated metal) looks the part, if available.  The wood should look distressed.  Funny messages such as “Billis’ Hot Showers: 25 cents” should decorate it.  How will I hide the solar shower?  An old wooden bucket last featured in Fiddler on the Roof works well.  But wouldn’t Billis use an oil drum?  Maybe I can go on eBay and find one.  But how much time do I have to wait for it to be delivered?  Am I cutting it too close to opening night?  Wait, I’m late to pick up one of the kids from soccer practice–let me finish this piece of scenery and start the next one.  Those are some of the thoughts that go through my mind when building scenery.  If you’d like to hear more, please read our next issue, or better yet, come down to build the next piece of scenery with me.

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely

Peter

Festival of the Trees

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In December 2017, Saint Mary’s High School in conjunction with The Josephine Foundation hosted its first annual Festival of the Trees, “A Christmas Carol”. The major attraction to the festival was a brilliant display of Christmas trees. Thirty beautifully decorated Christmas trees were sponsored by families, organizations and local businesses. Each tree’s decoration was uniquely themed based on the sponsor’s favorite Christmas Carol.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Claus
Our tree sponsors, along with the administration, teachers and staff of the Schools of St. Mary were invited to celebrate the season with friends and enjoyed exceptional entertainment, food and wine as they got a chance to preview the trees on Friday, December 1st at the Opening Night Gala.

The festival was officially opened to the public on December 2nd and 3rd. Guests had the opportunity to meet/greet and take pictures with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus in front of their cherished fireplace. Guests also enjoyed live entertainment by students from the SMHS Performing Arts Department and by various choirs from the surrounding area. They also had the opportunity to purchase beautifully decorated wreaths and other Christmas crafts, along with delicious holiday desserts from the Sweet Shoppe.

This event was a huge success and enjoyed by all who attended! It was truly a magical and beautiful way to celebrate the Christmas season. All proceeds raised benefitted the St. Mary’s High School Performing Arts Scholarship Program

Thank you so much to all our tree sponsors

The Friends of Maple Grove and Josephine Foundation Partnership

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These two organization share a number of goals, with the main focus on encouraging everyone to learn to work together by creating family arts programs in their communities. The programs developed by the Friends of Maple Grove, center around the historical aspects of the 143 year old cemetery and honoring those buried through many diverse programs including themed Walking Tours, various family workshops including Victorian Arts and Crafts, genealogy, robotics, science, historical literary series, Memorial Services, Spirits Alive, Murder Mystery Dinner theater, Trunk or Treat, Teas, Pet Beds, musical themed concerts etc. Yearly grants provided by the Josephine Foundation have made our events possible.

SPIRITS ALIVE

Spirits Alive is an educational event that promotes sensitivity with the past. It was created as a teaching tool for students to better understand historical figures both local and national and helps bring into perspective an understanding of a past era. It engages to actively bridge the past with the present.

Scripts highlight many historical figures buried at the cemetery which focus and highlight significant points in their life. Many volunteer actors from the Josephine Foundation take on these roles and are provided with period costumes at our Spirits Alive event for the community. The actors stand by the graves of those they

represented and told their story to the public. Spirits Alive has allowed for a sense of involvement and participation with the past, a unique teaching tool that benefits the entire community both young and old.

TRUNK or TREAT

Our Maple Grove Trunk or Treat Fall event has grown incredibly over a number of years! Parents have been very grateful to find a safe secure place for their children to trick or treat and know that the candy is safe as well. Each year there is always a nonstop flow of children!

When we started four years ago we had nine decorated car trunks. In 2017 we had over thirty cars with decorated trunks, all vying for best decorated car prize. There were many individuals and groups that come with a caravan of cars include the Josephine Foundation, The Kwanis of Queens Blvd, The Woodhaven Historical Society, The Auxliary Police, The Kew and Willow Book Store, the Lion’s Club of Briarwood and Kew Gardens, The comments by parents and by the children were heartwarming and wonderful! It was overwhelming and words fail to describe how incredible it truly was!!!!

MURDER MYSTERY

Friends of Maple Grove presented their Murder Mystery Dinner Theater for many years! Scripts are written using historical figures from Maple Grove and written by members of the Friends. The Josephine Foundation has provided a group of ten to twelve actors for each of the performances dressed in period costumes. The dinner theater event is usually the highlight of the year with tickets sold out within a few days. Themes vary from A Murder at the Civil War Reunion, Murder at the Racetrack, A Victorian Egyptian Murder Mystery and the last about a Radio Murder Mystery.

MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE

Maple Grove Cemetery has many veterans going back to the War if 18121

Over the years the Memorial Day service has been enhanced by the attendance of The St. Mary’s High School Teen Choir led by Andrew Koslosky and Pat White. The young students assisted in placing flags on the graves of Veterans. They fanned out and, in a very respectful manner, located Veteran graves and placed a flag at each. It was moving to watch such reverence.

The ceremony takes place by the lake facing the flag over the 9/11 Memorial on Presidential Circle.

It has always been a very moving event!

JoFo Halloween Hoe-Down

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Nothing says autumn like crisp air, baseball playoffs, Halloween and one of my favorites, “The Josephine Foundation Halloween Hoe-Down”.

Meeting up at St. Claire’s in Rosedale in the morning, assembling a jailhouse, setting up tables, opening up a bakery shoppe and setting up a Chapel while cool air filled the gymnasium.

Yes it was a lot of hard physical work but the pay off was to come. We would all get dressed up in costume and

enjoy a fun evening. I few “Deputies” and myself would walk around, hawking over our guests, waiting for the

chance to find them break one of the many time released rules. subsequently they would be arrest (except Andrew), brought to the jail where they awaited to be bailed out by one of the Maiden who would pay a fine and agree (sometimes reluctantly), to marry this perp. Then they would proceed to Reverend Red where there was a ceremony and became husband and wife.

There were many competitions and events. Pie eating contest to relay races and oh yeah the Square dance with Caller.

This is myself with three wonderful women who always played an important role in getting these parties done right.

I miss that party but most I miss the special woman in the middle.