NYer Of The Week: "Zena" Foster Inspires Seniors Through Song
This week's New Yorker of the Week has dedicated her life to caring for seniors – even in her spare time. John Shiumo filed the following report.
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Inez Foster leads a double life. During the day she is a health care worker for Partners in Care. But after work, she transforms into Zena – her musical alter ego.
"What I am doing at the senior centers is, I try to make the audience feel what I feel," says Foster, who entertains seniors with song and dance. "To me it's like therapy. They forget the pains; I think it takes away the feelings of pains and aches."
Singing has always been a huge part of Foster's life.
"At four I was little, but I had a big voice," she says.
Her mother and father were both singers. Growing up in Washington, D.C., Foster says she was given valuable advice.
"Pray to God and open your mouth," she says. "So that's what I did."
Soon it became clear to her that health care and singing weren’t all that different.
"The person you go there to take care of, it's all about them," says Foster.
At 104 years old, senior resident Shirley Herskowitz knows that firsthand. On this day Foster delivers Herskowitz breakfast and her favorite song. Sometimes Foster will even dance.
And the results speak for themselves.
"I'm glad I didn't stay home today," one senior says after Foster's performance, "because I would have missed a hell of a show."
"I work from my heart," Foster says. "I always put myself in their place."
And so for lifting the spirits of seniors across the city, Inez "Zena" Foster is our New Yorker of the Week.