Essex County Senior Legacies Writing Contest

Montclair resident Alfred Berutti won for his “68 Years Ago” essay in last year’s annual Essex County Senior Legacies Writing Contest. And many other local seniors have had their stories awarded. If you’re an Essex County senior, ages 60 and up, now’s the time to begin writing your own original story focusing on a special person, life-changing experience or significant period of your life for the 2015 contest, which has a March 16 deadline.

“Our senior citizens have led interesting lives and I am always impressed by the stories that are submitted. Our Legacies Contest is an opportunity for our older residents to remember their past and share their experiences with family, friends and the younger generation,” Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo said. “It’s never too early to begin collecting your thoughts and writing your drafts. I encourage all our seniors to start working on their entries now,” he added.

“This is a great way for our older residents to express themselves, stay involved in the community, and share the people and events that helped shape their lives,” Essex County Director of Citizen Services Anibal Ramos said.

Essex County Division of Senior Services Director Jaklyn DeVore said the County’s Legacies Writing Contest has many benefits for senior citizens. “Legacies enables seniors to share stories about their past, helps them express their emotions, and exercises their minds to keep them sharp,” she said. “You don’t have to be a professional writer to enter this contest. Some of our writers have never written before entering our Legacies contest. It’s a great way to remember old times and establish a written history so the past is not forgotten,” DeVore added.

The contest rules are as follows:

  • Writers must be Essex County residents who are 60 years of age or older.
  • Entries should be original stories focusing on a special person, a life-altering experience or a significant period in your life.
  • The suggested maximum length is 1,500 words.
  • Stories must be typed or legibly hand-written on 8.5-by-11 inch paper.
  • Entries must have a cover page with the story’s title, the author’s name, date of birth, address and telephone number.
  • The story title with no identifying information should appear on the first page of the story text. All identifying information about the author is
  • removed when stories are judged by the review committee.
  • Seniors may submit only one entry.
  • Previously published stories may not be submitted.
  • Seniors should keep a copy of the story. Entries will not be returned.
  • The deadline for entries is Monday, March 16, 2015. Late entries will not be accepted.

Stories should be sent to the following:

Essex County Division of Senior Services
Attn: Gloria Chambers-Benoit
900 Bloomfield Avenue
Verona, NJ 07044

Or emailed here.

All writers who submit stories will be invited to the Division of Senior Services Legacies Luncheon Celebration in May 2014. Awards will be presented to the authors of the winning and honorable mention stories. These stories will be posted on the Essex County website at

For a complete list of contest rules or for more information, please visit or call the Essex County Division of Senior Services at 973-395-8389.


(Photo: Flickr)